Apparently, Not All Neighborhoods Are Equal in Metro’s Eyes

Metro arbitrarily lists neighborhoods on their station maps

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of existing Metro station names, there should be no argument on the need for accuracy in the station maps that are supposed to assist riders when they are unfamiliar with a station they don’t use frequently.

Being a frequent rider at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station, and knowing the neighborhoods around the station well, I’ve passed by the maps for years without ever looking at them. That changed recently when I was using one of the illuminated station maps to give a fellow rider directions.

Imagine my surprise when I was looking at the map and saw that it listed some neighborhoods but not others. There is either 1) no rhyme or reason to which neighborhoods are included on the maps, or, 2) Metro considers some neighborhoods as being more important than others.

Regardless of how Metro creates its station maps, it seems clear to me that all neighborhoods surrounding a station should be listed if the map is to maximize its usefulness. In the case of the maps at the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station, the neighborhoods to the north and south of the station are Petworth (included on the map) and Park View (not included). Due to its proximity to the station, the inclusion of Columbia Heights on the maps is reasonable. However, I fail to see how Mt. Pleasant is helpful to anyone using the station as a terminus, though I will acknowledge that a rider can transfer to Metrobus and continue their commute there that way.

The bottom line is that Metro needs to do better with its signage. If they are going to include neighborhood names at all on their station maps they need to include all the neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity, not just the ones Metro deems significant.

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6 Comments on “Apparently, Not All Neighborhoods Are Equal in Metro’s Eyes”


  1. This is a game that will never end.

    Only the major areas should be included on their maps. However all major buildings such as schools should be included and of course all streets.

    What if I think my area is East Park View South, a valid area, or West Childrens Hosptial, or Howard U.

    I have heard other refer to it as ECO – East Columbia Heights.

    Park View is an old name of an old farm or something that is long gone. We are part of Columbia Heights in Washington DC. That is all that matters today.

    Give it up.

  2. j Says:

    “park view” 4 life

  3. ~~~mh Says:

    A local map should accurately show its surrounding neighborhoods. I’m OK if a larger map of DC doesn’t indicate ‘Park View”. METRO should be open to this (corrected) update & acknowledge Park View.

  4. Lanisa Says:

    Maps are political instruments with economic ramifications not accurate geographic markers. They are commonly manipulated to distinguish cartographies of struggle from others of privilege.

    Besides, what is accurate to one is quite possibly grossly inaccurate to another. Our Park View is somebody else’s Columbia Heights East, and somebody else’s Petworth South… somebody else’s headache and somebody else’s God send.

    This is, indeed, a game that will never end.

  5. Jamie Says:

    “all neighborhoods surrounding a station should be listed if the map is to maximize its usefulness”

    Why does listing all the neighborhoods on a map maximize its usefulness? Quite the opposite, filling a map with seldom-used neighborhood names with nondistinct boundaries creates clutter and confusion.

    Even Columbia Heights, which has a metro named for it, has its boundaries often debated – some people feel the neighborhood extends well past Spring Road, while others think this area is Petworth, and longtime residents think this area is 16th Street Heights. What do you think Metro should call this area on their maps? Whatever you think, others will disagree.

    There is no point in Metro being involved in this game. Finally, it serves no purpose. Would anyone be unable to find their way to a destination because some enclave was not noted by name on a metro station map?


  6. [...] Station updated to include information I consider to be clear omissions. I began this process in October 2010 and thought I’d made some progress when WMATA committed to include Park View on future maps [...]


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