Montgomery County, Maryland, Executive Marc Elrich has asked for the White Flint Metro Station to be renamed the North Bethesda Metro Station.
In a letter to WMATA on May 20, Elrich said the name change will help better tie the Metro stop to the nearby community.
“A key goal for the community — both residential and business — is identity, and White Flint is no longer a relevant name or term used,” Elrich wrote to Paul Smedberg, chair of the Metro Board of Directors.
When the White Flint Metro Station opened, there was a thriving mall in the area. White Flint Mall closed in 2015 and has since been demolished.
About $300,000 has been secured for the project, Elrich said, with $250,000 coming from the state and $50,000 from Montgomery County.
Elrich added that “key property owners in the immediate White Flint Station vicinity” have committed to paying any additional costs.
The proposal has received support from community groups and council members.
“The Metro station is crucial to the viability of this area and our community’s vision for it,” Montgomery County Council member Andrew Friedson said in a statement Monday.
“We need a Metro station that reflects that vision and helps our economic development, regional competitiveness, and placemaking efforts so the Pike District and North Bethesda becomes an even more vibrant, walkable, and livable destination.”
Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the Friends of White Flint, said the name change would honor “the history of this remarkable neighborhood and heralds a spectacular future as a walkable, transit-oriented, vibrant community.”
The letter comes nearly two months after a virtual community meeting was held and a consensus on the name North Bethesda Metro Station was reached.
WMATA spokesperson Sherri Ly told WTOP they received the request from Montgomery County late Monday.
Ly said in an email that Metro’s next steps will be to “conduct customer research to gather public input on the name.” Those findings will then be passed to the board for consideration.
Specific guidelines must be adhered to when changing the name of a Metro station. WMATA requires the jurisdiction bear the full cost of the name change, and the name must follow these requirements:
- Names should identify the station locations by geographic features such as landmarks or centers of activity.
- Names should be distinctive and evoke imagery in the mind of the patron.
- Names should be no longer than 19 characters, except for transfer station names, which should be no longer than 13 characters.
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