One of the more curious aspects of the Metropolitan Transit Authority is that it will preserve archaic street names for no apparent reason. There was a rationale for preserving older Queens street names, as the Astoria line, the Liberty Avenue line, the Flushing Line and the Rockaway line do, because when these els were built, the old names were still fresh in the minds of oldtimers; Queens streets were renumbered beginning in 1915, a process that took about 15 years to finish.
But the persistence of the Woodlawn Road signs on the Jerome Avenue line, or the #4 train, is something of a headscratcher. Woodlawn Road is simply the old name of Bainbridge Avenue between East 205th and Jerome Avenue at the Woodlawn Cemetery entrance. The name was changed decades ago to a northern extension of Bainbridge (creating a very odd intersection, but I’ll get to that on a future page). But I’ve seen station and roll signs (in the old cars) saying “Woodlawn Road” as long as I’ve been riding the trains.
Well, as in Queens, the MTA has always done it this way. Why stop now?
Photo: Tim R.