Better MBTA Station Names

Smuttynose

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I realize in the great expanse of challenges facing the MBTA that its station names probably does not rank particularly high, but some of the names have always bugged me. For example, 'Community College' on the Orange Line. Yes, there's a community college near the station. But there's a bunch of community colleges in the metro. What information does 'Community College' convey besides that there's a random college nearby? Wouldn't 'Bunker Hill' work better, which would apply to both the community college and the greater neighborhood around it? The same is true for 'Courthouse' -- wouldn't Fort Point or Fan Pier or some variation work better? The Silver Line station names are especially terrible -- Silver Line Way!? It's weird that we have a station named for the small convention center we want to sell but not the BCEC. Is the World Trade Center still even in existence? Does it make sense to have an Airport station on the Blue Line when the SL serves it much more directly?

Courthouse (SL) = Fort Point/Fan Pier

Community College (OL) = Bunker Hill

Aquarium (BL) = Long Wharf

World Trade Center (SL) = Commonwealth Pier/Convention Center

Silver Line Way (!) (SL) = Liberty Wharf, Fish Pier, Marine Center, literally anything besides Silver Line Way

Hynes (GL) = Maybe Prudential and rename Prudential the Christian Science Center or something like Newbury/Esplanade or Newbury/Berklee

This thread is for bad MBTA station names and suggestions for better ones.
 
I agree with everything you suggested except Aquarium. I think Aquarium is a good name and probably helps tourists quite a bit.
Hynes used to be Auditorium. I would vote for "Upper Newbury." Mass Ave. is already taken.
Maybe in the future, JFK U/Mass will become "Dorchester Bay City" Although, I'm not wild about that name. Again, UMass and JFK are probably good for tourists.
 
There are also a few that may be confusing to visitors or casual users:

Fenway - not the best stop for Fenway Park (which is Kenmore), or even much of the neighborhood itself. Perhaps rename Kenmore "Fenway/Kenmore" per the common neighborhood name, but I'm not sure about Fenway station itself. "Landmark"?

Similarly, the nearby Longwood vs. Longwood Medical Center. Maybe Longwood should be "Riverway"?
 
For Hynes: I vote for "Conservatory", as a parallel to "Symphony".

Both Fenway and Longwood on the D Line are difficult -- not a lot of nearby landmarks. Maybe Fenway -> "North Riverway", Longwood -> "Riverway" and the current Riverway stop to "South Riverway" or "South Huntington"?
 
Fenway - not the best stop for Fenway Park (which is Kenmore), or even much of the neighborhood itself. Perhaps rename Kenmore "Fenway/Kenmore" per the common neighborhood name, but I'm not sure about Fenway station itself. "Landmark"?
Both Fenway and Longwood on the D Line are difficult -- not a lot of nearby landmarks. Maybe Fenway -> "North Riverway", Longwood -> "Riverway" and the current Riverway stop to "South Riverway" or "South Huntington"?

I may be alone in this, but I kind of like Fenway having that name. The confusion about proximity to the ballpark isn't good, exactly, but I've known it to have at least a little benefit in terms of diverting some traffic from Kenmore after games (and, uh, post-game Kenmore doesn't need more passengers). One wonders if the T might think that confusion is useful for some load-spreading.
 
I don't think Community College should be called Bunker Hill. Why?

The train station is completely surrounded by entirely auto oriented car centric infrastructure in a 1/3 mile radius around the entire station. Bunker Hill Monument is a 13 minute walk, uphill, at least, and the walk there requires crossing an intersection with a 10 lane surface level freeway; complete with slip lanes, U-turn lanes, an unsheltered pedestrian island. To the north of the station is a auto oriented strip mall with no protection from the elements, no trees (there's some bushes though), and a giant large parking lot that is longer and wider than the distance between Park St. and Downtown Crossing stations. To the east of the station is 2 giant parking lots and a double decker freeway. To the south of the station is a 8 minute walk on an unsheltered sidewalk alongside high speed moter traffic to reach a state owned highway in Cambridge, although urban development does resume there and there's new development closer to Charlestown now.

The only thing near Community College station, is well, Community College, at least for the few handful of people that actually go there.

There are no bus connections at Community College station to reach the core of Charlestown, such as the area near Edwards Playground on Main St, along Bunker Hill St., or the Charlestown Navy Yard. Walking is the only option, but it's not exactly a fun or enjoyable walk, but it is doable, but it's quite a hostile one.

The 92 and 93 buses, which serve the core of Charlestown, do not serve the station.

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Arlington Station on the Green Line.

Could be confused with the town of Arlington, which is a streetcar suburb served by a dozen of local bus routes (not to be confused with suburban commuter feeder bus routes). It's ambigous. Also, it's not alphabetical between Copley and Boylston. Maybe "Public Garden" might be better? There's 3 Green Line stations on the Boston Common, so....

There's also the case that the "Arlington" station name would need to be reused as a name for an Arlington Center station for a Red Line extension to Arlington Heights.
 
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There are also a few that may be confusing to visitors or casual users:

Fenway - not the best stop for Fenway Park (which is Kenmore), or even much of the neighborhood itself. Perhaps rename Kenmore "Fenway/Kenmore" per the common neighborhood name, but I'm not sure about Fenway station itself. "Landmark"?

Similarly, the nearby Longwood vs. Longwood Medical Center. Maybe Longwood should be "Riverway"?
For Hynes: I vote for "Conservatory", as a parallel to "Symphony".

Both Fenway and Longwood on the D Line are difficult -- not a lot of nearby landmarks. Maybe Fenway -> "North Riverway", Longwood -> "Riverway" and the current Riverway stop to "South Riverway" or "South Huntington"?

Rail lines which have their own right of way, should get priority of naming rights over street running services. Therefore, Riverway might be a suitable name for the D branch's current Longwood stop. Or it could also be named West Longwood, since it's immediately west to the main center of the Longwood Medical Area. The E branch's Riverway stop is a street level service like the rest bus routes. The E, alongside the B and C, are the only lines to not be busituted. Therefore, I think it is okay to use a standard bus stop address to refer to the E branch's Riverway stop. Perhaps Colburn St or Leverett Pond might be suit the E's street level stop better than Riverway, as that street is adjacent to that stop.
 
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I’ll start with the Orange Line:

Green or Green Street changed to Central JP, Central Jamaica Plain, or Woolsey Square, as there are Green Streets in Cambridge and Brookline, being signed as “Green” as a stop on the Orange Line is fun, but silly, and it isn’t an ideal place marker for the neighborhood.

Massachusetts Avenue or Massachusetts Ave changed to Matthews Arena as there is already a station with the same name on the Silver Line (egregious way finding practice), and there are multiple Red Line stops further up Mass Ave, meaning this name is really poor for way finding purposes. Matthews Arena isn’t a perfect name, but it’s a big improvement.

Tufts Medical Center changed to South Cove to avoid confusion with Tufts’ main campus and now the newly opened Medford/Tufts station. I used to hear people refer to the Orange Line Station as “Tufts” and I don’t know if that practice has stopped now that the Medford/Tufts Green Line station is opened. Either way, having this called Tufts (even if it is an accurate name for the adjacent medical center), is poor for way finding purposes.
 
Tufts Medical Center changed to South Cove to avoid confusion with Tufts’ main campus and now the newly opened Medford/Tufts station. I used to hear people refer to the Orange Line Station as “Tufts” and I don’t know if that practice has stopped now that the Medford/Tufts Green Line station is opened. Either way, having this called Tufts (even if it is an accurate name for the adjacent medical center), is poor for way finding purposes.
I would keep Tufts Medical Center as is, it's useful to note where the major hospitals are on the system. I would advocate a change from Medford/Tufts to Medford Hillside, since that's the neighborhood it serves.
 
I would keep Tufts Medical Center as is, it's useful to note where the major hospitals are on the system. I would advocate a change from Medford/Tufts to Medford Hillside, since that's the neighborhood it serves.

Could also rename it to like New England Medical Center or South Cove Medical Center.
 
“Back Bay Fens” or “The Fens” might be good names for Fenway.

The Fens I could go with. We already have a Back Bay.

The only thing near Community College station, is well, Community College, at least for the few handful of people that actually go there.

There are no bus connections at Community College station to reach the core of Charlestown, such as the area near Edwards Playground on Main St, along Bunker Hill St., or the Charlestown Navy Yard. Walking is the only option, but it's not exactly a fun or enjoyable walk, but it is doable, but it's quite a hostile one.

BHCC's paid the T for ads before, right? (Or am I misremembering which of the eighty thousand ads for colleges I've seen?) Sell them a naming rights deal, call it Bunker Hill Community College station. (Otherwise, yes, absolutely keep the name as-is.)

Could be confused with the town of Arlington, which is a streetcar suburb served by a dozen of local bus routes (not to be confused with suburban commuter feeder bus routes). It's ambigous. Also, it's not alphabetical between Copley and Boylston. Maybe "Public Garden" might be better? There's 3 Green Line stations on the Boston Common, so....

There's also the case that the "Arlington" station name would need to be reused as a name for an Arlington Center station for a Red Line extension to Arlington Heights.

I'd disagree with this. It's the name of the cross-street, which is common in stop naming conventions, and has been the name of the station for over a century. I think other forms could be used to properly indicate town-of-Arlington HRT stops in the event Red is extended there.

Tufts Medical Center changed to South Cove to avoid confusion with Tufts’ main campus and now the newly opened Medford/Tufts station. I used to hear people refer to the Orange Line Station as “Tufts” and I don’t know if that practice has stopped now that the Medford/Tufts Green Line station is opened. Either way, having this called Tufts (even if it is an accurate name for the adjacent medical center), is poor for way finding purposes.

South Cove would lose the connection the landmark and basic purpose that station exists to serve. I don't think there's too great a confusion between Tufts Medical Center and Medford/Tufts, even if they're colloquially called "Tufts", it's likely apparent which station is correct based on the context.
 
For Hynes: I vote for "Conservatory", as a parallel to "Symphony".

Both Fenway and Longwood on the D Line are difficult -- not a lot of nearby landmarks. Maybe Fenway -> "North Riverway", Longwood -> "Riverway" and the current Riverway stop to "South Riverway" or "South Huntington"?

Not sure that makes sense, since Roger H. Brown bought Boston Conservatory’s buildings on The Fenway in 2016. They’re now just a series of department under the Berklee School brand. In public meetings, the Berklee people actually entertained the idea of sponsoring renaming Hynes when the ICA moved, but the mayor couldn’t get all the city/state pols on the same page.

The BAC is not really prominent enough an institution, Boston Conservatory is no more (if it ever even really was that prominent), so if it’s not Berklee’s to claim the name, I suggest that leaving it Hynes makes the most sense—at least until MCCA sells it—but given the Peebles reopening of the Boylston entrance in Parcel 13 development, that would be clearest to tourists/convention attendees. In 20+ years of living in spitting distance, I can’t say how many times I’ve been on Mass Ave/Boylston and directed people east on Boylston to the Hynes after they came upstairs from the Transportation Building.
 
Yes. Medford/Tufts should stay Medford/Tufts. The real fix is removing the Tufts announcement from the Red Line trains when they get to Davis.

So for the record I find myself still using NEMC all the time just because it got so ingrained into my head from high school onward. But, I don't think it makes much sense to name the stop after something that essentially hasn't existed for over a decade at this point. NEMC is no more and it has been Tufts Medical Center since 2008, and I think that's fine and it's a fine name for the T Stop as that is where it is. Maybe instead of Tufts New England Medical Center something like Tufts Medical Center/Theatre District makes sense, or just the shortened name that happened in 2008.
 
My pet peeve is that some lines include “Sq.” in station names (Jackson Sq, Gilman Sq) but others don’t (Porter, Maverick). I’d prefer to purge all the Sq’s (so, “Jackson”, “Gilman”) but adding Sq to the ones without would also work. I just want consistency.
 
I don't think Community College should be called Bunker Hill. Why?

The train station is completely surrounded by entirely auto oriented car centric infrastructure in a 1/3 mile radius around the entire station. Bunker Hill Monument is a 13 minute walk, uphill, at least, and the walk there requires crossing an intersection with a 10 lane surface level freeway; complete with slip lanes, U-turn lanes, an unsheltered pedestrian island. To the north of the station is a auto oriented strip mall with no protection from the elements, no trees (there's some bushes though), and a giant large parking lot that is longer and wider than the distance between Park St. and Downtown Crossing stations. To the east of the station is 2 giant parking lots and a double decker freeway. To the south of the station is a 8 minute walk on an unsheltered sidewalk alongside high speed moter traffic to reach a state owned highway in Cambridge, although urban development does resume there and there's new development closer to Charlestown now.

The only thing near Community College station, is well, Community College, at least for the few handful of people that actually go there.

I understand. The real issue is how crappy the locations of the Community College and Sullivan Square stations are. The station locations, in the shadow of the highway, are just dark, depressing and unwelcoming. Can't we just partially reroute the OL up Rutherford Avenue for this section? God knows it's wide enough.
 
The argument for keeping it Community College based on the current conditions of the nearby surroundings is too shortsighted, or at least not worth tabling entirely; that strip between Rutherford and 93 will be unrecognizable in 5yrs, whether it's changed to Bunker Hill or something more modern/trendy the new neighbors/developers will be looking to do all they can to distance themselves from the area's industrial/prison/poor people's schooling past
 
My pet peeve is that some lines include “Sq.” in station names (Jackson Sq, Gilman Sq) but others don’t (Porter, Maverick). I’d prefer to purge all the Sq’s (so, “Jackson”, “Gilman”) but adding Sq to the ones without would also work. I just want consistency.
Yeah, I find this inelegant as well. I personally like the idea of "stations" dropping both St and Sq, and reserve the presence of the St/Sq/Road descriptor for surface stops (e.g. B/C/E, SL4/5). Provides consistency, but also expands the scope of the station to incorporate not just the Square itself but the neighborhood centered on the square -- compare "I live in Kendall" to "I live in Kendall Square". And in some cases, that would allow the station itself to become the thing that a neighborhood becomes centered on, if there isn't already a square to be named after.

Also in general, I think subway station names should be as succinct as possible. So, my vote to replace Green Street would go to Woolsey rather than "Central Jamaica Plain."

I like The Fens for Fenway! I think Matthews Arena is an interesting suggestion, though my first thought would be to keep the (more prominent) Orange Line station name the same and instead rename the Silver Line stop to Northampton Street.

On a broader note, here is a hot take: if there isn't a good name for a subway station, just straight up make one up and roll with it. (Ideally, you know, in consultation with community and community leaders.) If there isn't a good name, it often means that there isn't a good nearby landmark or otherwise placemaking thing -- in which case, the station itself becomes the landmark, around which a specific regional/neighborhood identity will develop. So, look around at the community and its history, and find something or someone good to name it!

@bbfen to your point about Conservatory, AFAIK there still is an institution known as "Boston Conservatory at Berklee" located in that general area. One thing that's notable about a number of MBTA station names -- Symphony, Aquarium, Airport, Community College, Science Park, and previously Auditorium and Museum -- is that they are named after nearby institutions, but in an indirect, almost vague, style. I think in some cases it's too vague (e.g. Community College), but otherwise I think it's generally a pleasant style. To me, Conservatory continues that approach, and likewise pairs nicely with Symphony station down the street; the ads practically write themselves: "Boston -- where going from the Conservatory to the Symphony is just a bus ride away".

I have a longer post on a related topic, but I need to get some other stuff done today, so may not get to it.
 

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