On Monday morning, a new brown sign on the outside of the Metro station at 5500 Marinelli Road read “North Bethesda Station” in white letters. Above it was a white sign in black letters that said “North Bethesda formerly White Flint.”
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced in a Thursday press release that the change in the station’s name from White Flint to North Bethesda was one of five station name changes that would take effect over the weekend.
Yet on Monday, signs on the station platform still said “White Flint.” A bus map inside the station said “White Flint.” And paper maps of the transit system available inside the station also contained the station’s former name that has lasted for nearly 38 years.
Ian Jannetta, a WMATA spokesman, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat on Monday that physical signage such as pylons will be changed as new signs are fabricated, and static maps will be updated gradually after other stations in the system, such as the new Silver Line stations and the Potomac Yard station in Virginia, open for service.
According to the press release, customers will see immediate changes on digital maps in rail stations, on bus displays and on WMATA’s website. Static maps will gradually be updated, it said. It also notes that physical station signage has undergone “some changes” and that completing the process requires fabrication and installation.
The “North Bethesda” nomenclature has slowly come into more common usage to describe the geographic region that encompasses the portion of Rockville Pike near the mixed-use development Pike & Rose, and the former White Flint mall site. So much so that in the spring of 2021, a group of residents and business owners in the community asked that the station be renamed “North Bethesda,” and County Executive Marc Elrich wrote to WMATA formally requesting the change.
In December 2021, the WMATA board formally approved the station name change.
So it seems the new name is gradually making its way into the station at Rockville Pike and Marinelli. But for now, riders disembarking there will still be reminded of its past.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org