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Wanna see the treasures of Timbaktu? Just hop on the Blue Line.

Over the past few weeks, readers of Mount Pleasant’s neighborhood e-mail forum have watched a lively set-to over a familiar D.C. topic: what to name a Metrorail station. It seems some Mount Pleasanters want to get their adjacent neighborhood’s name added to the newly opened Columbia Heights Green Line station. Meanwhile, others worry that Columbia Heights’ lower-rent reputation will spoil Mount Pleasant’s increasingly tony new image.

Lost in the debate, though, is a simpler point: The Green Line station—located on 14th Street NW—is quite a hike from many parts of Mount Pleasant, which spreads west from 16th Street.

Of course, that’s spittin’ distance compared with some of the other treks you’d face if you took Metro’s station names at face value. The Shaw-Howard University station, for instance, isn’t far from Howard’s hospital, but if you’re late for class up at the university’s main campus off Georgia Avenue near Euclid Street NW, the station—located at 7th and S—isn’t going to help you make it on time. The Tenleytown-AU Station, meanwhile, requires a shuttle to American University, because its doors are a good mile from the heart of campus.

But neither of those dubiously named stations involves the Maoist long march that separates Adams Morgan from the newly renamed Woodley Park-National Zoo-Adams Morgan station. If Metro’s nomenclatural experts weren’t put off by the actual distance between neighborhood and subway line, you’d think the natural barrier—the major chasm of Rock Creek valley, spanned by the Duke Ellington Bridge—might have dissuaded them.

No such luck. Load up the route map with extra names, the argument goes, and increased ridership is sure to follow.

So why stop with Adams Morgan? After all, the Rosslyn station is just a bridge away from Georgetown. Renaming it would prove a painless—

for everyone except the poor schlubs trying to trudge from the Blue Line to M Street—way to solve the upscale neighborhood’s age-old subway dilemma.

It doesn’t stop there. With a little clever marketing and a few new station-name placards, D.C.’s subway system could soon ferry riders to the four corners of the world. Some primary applications of Metro Geography, with explanations for all you ignoramuses who don’t understand the transit system’s creative cartographic logic:

Rockville-University of Minnesota (Red Line). Metro makes this an easy jaunt. After a short Red Line journey, all you need to do is walk the handful of blocks to where westbound railroad tracks cross Randolph Road. A quick leap onto a passing freighter, a change of boxcars in Chicago, and there you are—at the downtown Minneapolis home of the Golden Gophers.

Waterfront-Copacabana Beach (Green Line). The Waterfront station already serves Southwest D.C.’s marinas and fish markets. But did you know it also serves the most famous strip of sand in Rio? That’s right: The Green Line’s rails are a mere boat ride to Annapolis, a quick enlistment in the Navy, and a South American cruise away from the beach to end all beaches.

Vienna-Vienna (Orange Line). The D.C. suburb of Vienna, of course, shares a name with the beautiful Austrian capital. But because Vienna, Va., is located just a few minutes from Dulles Airport—which Austrian Airlines services daily, via Zurich—it also shares something else: a spot on the Orange Line.

Huntington-Everglades (Yellow Line). South Florida is among the nation’s hottest tourist markets. But did you know that you don’t even need to go to National Airport to see one of its most impressive sites? Metro’s crack planning team already has a station just 1,082 miles from the famous Everglades swamp and its natural wonders.

Woodley Park-Zoo-Adams Morgan-Tienanmen Square (Red Line). Commuters already know that the National Zoo is a mere 5-minute walk from this Connecticut Avenue stop. But

did you know the station is now a convenient departure point for a trip to the middle kingdom? With the impending death of Hsing-Hsing, zoo officials will be negotiating with China for a replacement panda. A quick Red Line trip, a stroll to the zoo, a revolver-butt to the head of one of those zoo officials, and a quick “borrowing” of said unconscious official’s clothes, plane ticket, and passport, and you’ll be a short tram ride from the Forbidden City. CP