Board to consider changing names of six Metro stations

One of the items that the Metro Board of Directors will consider at their meeting on Thursday involves changing the names of six rail/bus stations to better reflect the geography of the area.

The changes, most of which came at the request of various people:

A. (Blue Line and Green Line) “Imperial/Wilmington/Rosa Parks” to “Willowbrook/Rosa Parks.”

B. (Blue Line) “103rd Street/Kenneth Hahn” to “103rd St/Watts Towers/Kenneth Hahn.”

C. (Green Line) “Vermont Av/I-105” to “Vermont Av/Athens.”

D. (Green Line) “Hawthorne Bl/I-105” to “Hawthorne Bl/Lennox.”

E. (Expo Line) “Venice/Robertson” to “Culver City.”

F. (Silver Line) “Artesia Transit Center” to “Harbor/Gateway Transit Center.”

G. (Blue Line) “Transit Mall” to “Long Beach Civic Center.”

Here’s a staff report on the issue. The idea is to try to accommodate the requests for changes from the community and public officials that have been made over the years.

As for expense, the cost for changing each station could range from $115,000 to $582,000 depending on the size of the station and the work involved, staff say.

30 replies

  1. “the cost for changing each station could range from $115,000 to $582,000 depending on the size of the station and the work involved”

    What a waste of another tax dollars!

    At six stations, that could be anywhere between $690,000 to close to $3.5 MILLION dollars that could be used to fix something else so that Metro could start making money.

    $690,000 to $3.5 million could be used to fix TAP right, move to a distance based model, or to upgrade some of our train stations to handle business and retail activity so that it brings in more revenue.

    The income from those activities could be put to do station name changes in the future. But now is not the time to be wasting money on something that doesn’t earn a cent.

    Seriously, do the people at Metro think that they’re free to blow money like there’s no tomorrow? They’re just like stupid lottery winners who win big and blow all their fortune in three years and end up in worse shape before they won the lottery.

    Metro seriously needs someone from outside of the US who has experience running public transit with a more business-oriented to run this agency.

  2. How about…
    Vermont/Santa monica to LA City College Station
    Vermont/Sunset to Children’s Hospital Station
    Hollywood/Highland to Hollywood Bowl Station
    Woodley Station to Japanese Garden Station
    Pico Station to Staples Center Station
    7th/Metro to Financial District Station

    Some of the names in my opinion that could be changed.

  3. @Angry Middle Class
    It is with attitudes such as yours did we lose our rail system in the very beginning, as in
    “Why should we spend HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS to upgrade our rail when we could build some freeways for half that much?”

    Changing these helps bring in new riders and make existing riders happier. 3.5 million is not a lot, especially for metro. The TAP conversion has cost somewhere in the hundreds of millions so far.

  4. I like the idea of neighborhood names for metro stations, it helps to orient the city in a way that is not based strictly on the street grid. I have visited friends near the Highland Park Station and have taken the Red/Gold Lines to Chinatown, Little Tokyo Several times all without looking at a geographically accurate map.

  5. “the cost for changing each station could range from $115,000 to $582,000 depending on the size of the station and the work involved”

    And how much was spent studying this issue for the Board? And the Board wonders why thinking citizens question their judgment.

    Didn’t anyone tell the Metro Board it is expensive running a transit agency? This whole thing is silly and irresponsible at a time when money is tight and service is being cut. If the agency wants to change the station names then Metro should sell naming rights to pay for the signage and related changes. If Metro can’t raise the money needed then the names will just have stay as they are till we win the lottery.

  6. Changing the names of stations to reflect their neighborhoods is sensible, but 115 to 582 thousand collars does seem quite expensive. I mean, what drives it up that much, it just involves changing some maps, station signs, and automated announcements basically. I really do not see how these aren’t somehow inflated cost figures. Then again it does seem like whenever a government agency, local, state, or federal does anything, its always astronomically more expensive then it normally cost in the private sector.

  7. While I do like the idea of changing station names to those that reflect the neighborhood, I also agree that it’s something that should not be placed as a priority in tough economic times.

    I wish Metro would make things more clear where their funds are coming from for the money needed to do station name changes. If it’s coming from their own revenue stream, then I’m perfectly fine with that. But if it’s coming from taxpayer funds, then I can understand the growing sentiment of taxpayers seeing this as wasteful spending.

    Being said that, if I had the ability to choose how $3.5 million were to be spent for Metro, I’d use it to convert more of our free park-and-ride lots to paid lots with parking meters. Then I’d use the revenue from that to do station name changes. This will accomplish two things: bring in more revenue from parking fees and encourage transit riders to bike to the station instead of driving there.

    • Hi Frank;

      Just to be clear — Metro is entirely funded by taxpayers. Yes, Metro gets some revenues that are pumped back into the agency, but bottom line is that the agency is funded with either local, state or federal monies.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. Why does it cost so much to change some names? Is the signage and new maps that expensive?

    If not for the money, I like this idea, since neighborhood names are better than just street corners.

    The last thing we should do is give away naming rights to corporations.

  9. I agree, it sounds better Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station than the long one. Willowbrook, an unincoprated area of LA County is often confused with Watts/LA or Compton, with this it will be better recognize.

  10. I agree with the charging of parking. Imagine how much more revenue Metro could generate if everyone who decided to drive their car to a metro station payed a dollar a day especially at the more congested park and ride lots like North Hollywood, Universal City, and Norwalk Station. Metro should really explore this option once Caltrans transfers ownership of all the parking lots that are not currently under Metro’s control.

  11. The cost of these changes is high, while ridership is not nearly what metro supporters had claimed it would be. So the riders do not generate enough fare income to pay for the operation, let alone name changes. Let those who insist on these changes go into their communities and obtain funding from those individuals who want to implement these name changes.
    How dare they even consider hosing down the public for these mostly superficial tweaks? Enough is enough. People are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!!

  12. Adding Watts Towers to the name of the 103rd St. Blue Line station would really help that facility. It’s a special place but people don’t know how to find it because it’s not on the usual tourist paths. That name change would bolster a unique cultural asset. It would also help if someone–Metro? The City? The Towers? put up pedestrian-oriented wayfinding signage between the station and the Towers.

  13. Z.Y. needs to relax.If these changes are implemented, the cost will be mere pennies on the dollar. Z.Y. obviously needs to be educated on LA Metro transit issues.If Z.Y. isn’t currently riding Metro, please start tomorrow.

  14. I’m 100% in support of Frank M’s idea to convert more of our free park-and-ride lots to paid parking.

    Take for example, the Orange Line station in Canoga has 612 free parking spaces that’s could be earning $612 a day just for charging a parking fee of $1/day alone.

    Times that by 365 days a year, that amounts to potentially $223,380 EVERY YEAR which would well be enough to cover station name changes from the revenue earned from parking lot fees. And that’s just ONE STATION! Imagine how much revenue Metro could be earning without resorting to higher taxes if they just stop giving away parking for free?

    Metro should stop wasting taxpayer money and start using their money wisely.

  15. Metro should sell the rights to naming stations to the highest corporate bidder. Staples should pay to name the PICO stop.

  16. […] If you are into place naming, the Thursday hearing of the Metro Board of Directors should be fun. According to the Source, the board will consider changing the names of six rail stops, at the request of “various people.” The proposals include changing the Blue and Green Lines’ Imperial/Wilmington/ Rosa Parks to Willowbrook/Rosa Parks and the Blue Line’s 103rd Street/Kenneth Hahn to 103rd St/Watts Towers/Kenneth Hahn. Even the Expo Line’s as-yet-unopened Venice/Robertson station could become the Culver City station. The cost of changing station names could run between $115,000 and $582,000.Image via Yelp[The Source] […]

  17. I’m gonna start sounding like a beating drum, rent out some of the “park and ride” spaces to Car Sharing programs like Zipcar, especially in the valley and the westside. More paid parking would be better and help the costs of renaming the stations, ultimately though a master plan of how the Metro System is going to look after the regional connector and how people are going to navigate the system within the stations is going to have to be laid out. This is only step one. I do feel like C-G aren’t necessary changes. Though A. Willowbrook/Rosa Parks is good for the fact that it is a transfer station and needs the simpler name.

  18. And, given the potential for future extensions along Venice, should LA Metro really be naming one station in Culver City, “Culver City” when there may well be more stations in Culver City in the future?

  19. @Erik G

    That can be done quite easily. North Culver City, South Culver City, East Culver City, West Culver City, Downtown Culver City, Westfield Mall Culver City, etc. etc.

    It’s just like renaming Wilshire/Western as West Koreatown, Wilshire/Normandie to Koreatown, and Wilshire/Vermont as East Koreatown.

  20. Conner G: The inflated costs aren’t always the fault of the government; it is often the fault of the private companies who inflate the prices for a tax payer funded government agency, or pull the old “change ordure” trick by bidding really low, then in the middle of work, claim the true cost has risen and will need more money to finish the project. The agency either pays or the private company leaves the project a half-done mess with the media and people like you blaming the agency for the half-finished job. Of course the agency pays up.

  21. There is nothing wrong with private companies, that’s how capitalism works.

    If you don’t like it, feel free to move to Cuba or North Korea and see how well off they run public transit under totalitarian Communism.

  22. Angry Middle Class

    There is also nothing wrong with some socialism. Did you know the U.S. just like other major countries has a mixed economy with elements of both capitalism and socialism. We have public police, fire departments, in some cases public utilities, public school systems, parks, etc. There is no crime with having a transit agency that is run by the goverment. Tokyo’s metro system was run by the local government up until very recently (the early 2000’s) when it was finally given to private hands. But even still it is highly regulated by the government to keep the need for making profit from getting out of control.

  23. While “community” names might sound nice, it will be confusing to occasional riders. When For example, if I’m a tourist taking metro downtown from LAX, and I know that the green line intersects with the silver line at the 110 freeway, I want the station at the 110 freeway to have the 110 name in it. Not the name of the neighborhood, which I don’t really care about because I’m just connecting there. Same with Venice/Robertson… I may not care if its in Culver City or not, I want to know what the cross streets are so I can catch the CulverCity Bus that runs down Venice Blvd. Station names MUST be descriptive of their navigational location, not named after people or unincorporated neighborhoods that have little meaning to the outsider.

  24. @Bobby

    Then metro should come up with a better way of making sure that the bid matches the scope of the project and its expenses. Its metros job to make sure the process is legit and fair as an agency funded by the tax payers. If a bid is too low, don’t accept it. I don’t think what the companies are doing is right, as they are essentially scamming the taxpayers, but that’s all the more reason for metro to come up with a better way of handling these types of problems.