Last week I came across an anagram system map of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), in which station names were reassembled into new words. Alewife becomes "Eel Waif", for example, and Prudential becomes "Tidal Prune". While I found it highly amusing, I didn't see much use for it on the blog immediately and filed it away for later use. Lo and behold the Boston Globe reports today that the Boston Public Library has been angling to get the Copley Station name changed to add "BPL" or "Boston Public Library". The anagram map indicates that the name should really be "Ye Clop" but I suppose the other two names would work in a pinch.
I understand the Boston Public Library's position on adding their name to Copley Station: improved wayfinding has always been an issue in Boston, but I am going to side with the MBTA, which is worried about the cost and logistics of implementing a name change. The business of naming a T station should be a regularly scheduled process, not an ad hoc legislative solution (although in fairness, I do already have a station named after me). With new stations coming online along the Fairmount (or Indigo Line) commuter rail line and stations being refitted for handicapped access, there would appear to be a number of changes coming to the MBTA system map. Rather than approaching this piecemeal by creating a name change for a single station, the T should be allowed to conduct a regular schedule of system map updates, with the opening of the new commuter rail stations a perfect opportunity to fold in a name change to add "Boston Public Library" to the Copley Station name. In addition, there should be a public comment period for other name changes: Emerson probably should be added to Boylston Station, for example.
I've included a 1934 Boston Elevated Railway system map which shows how durable some station names have been. The only change along the Red Line, except for the addition of new stations, was Summer/Winter Station becoming Downtown Crossing. Other parts of the system have disappeared: the elevated Orange Line along Washington Street (you can read about Dudley Station here) was removed in the 1980s, with Silver Line replacement service now running (a subway to Roxbury never came to fruition). The Atlantic Avenue elevated is gone as well but to my mind a light rail replacement would be a welcome addition to the Rose Kennedy Greenway.