UPDATED JULY 29 | The Metro Board of Directors last week approved a motion to change the name of southernmost terminus of the Blue Line from "Transit Mall Station" to "Downtown Long Beach Station," effective immediately.
"The City of Long Beach has requested, and has received community support for the MTA to rename the Metro Rail station and facilities at this location in downtown Long Beach to 'Downtown Long Beach Station,'" the motion notes said. Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who sits on the board, authored the motion and pushed it up to the July meeting instead of September when it was previously scheduled to be voted upon.
Dave Hershenson said that the process of switching over the name will not take nearly as long nor will be as costly as originally thought. Decals will soon be placed over the existing Metro rail maps, eliminating re-printing costs until scheduled re-printings take place.
ORIGINAL JULY 12 | The renaming process of the Blue Line’s Transit Mall Station is one step closer after a regular meeting of the Los Angeles County MTA Gateway Cities Service Council yesterday where members agreed to add the name change request to the Board of Directors' agenda next month.
MTA’s guidelines for naming a station require the name to be based on a geographic location, nearby street or freeway, well-known landmark or include a community, district or city name all while remaining under 24 characters for rider readability. The Transit Mall Station, which satisfies most of those criteria, will become the Downtown Long Beach Station before the end of the year if two-thirds of the Metro Board votes in favor of the new name.
According to Metro officials, the Metro Board of Directors will be voting on the issue at their July 25 meeting.
Changing the name of the station has financial implications because existing signage, maps, on-board recordings and websites which reflect the current station name would need to be updated.
Dave Hershenson, a community relations manager for Metro who spoke before the council about the name change, said that if approved, the route’s facelift would come in two stages. First, decals would be used to reflect the possible new name change, however, an emergency reprinting of maps would not take place, with those being corrected when the system’s new maps are originally scheduled to be printed.
Hershenson went on to say that although he didn’t want to speculate on the exact dollar figure, these measures made the estimated costs fall short from what was originally expected.
“The budget wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Hershenson said. “By using decals and making these changes as we would make ordinary changes. It was well below $100,000.”
The name change campaign originated earlier this year when 2nd District Councilmember Suja Lowenthal invited the community to rename the station because she discovered that the current station name wasn’t consistent with MTA policy.
In a public vote, the current “Transit Mall” name lost overwhelmingly (61 votes) to “Downtown Long Beach Station” (169 votes). Lowenthal then presented the recommendation to Metro for adoption.
Eds. note: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Thursday's meeting as a meeting of the Metro Board of Directors when it was actually a meeting of the Gateway Cities Service Council. The Board will vote on the issue at its September meeting.