Metro's Yellow Line bridge across the Potomac River will be named for the late Virginia state senator Charles R. Fenwick (D-Arlington), the closest to a "father" Metro had, and also a leader in regionalism in the Washington area.

The Metro board made the bridge-naming official yesterday, voting preliminary adoption of a resolution introduced by John Milliken of Arlington and seconded by Joseph Alexander of Fairfax County. Final adoption awaits a polishing of the resolution's language to spell out all the credit due to Fenwick, who died in 1968 at age 68.

MetroScene sowed the seed that led to the action. On May 1, after the first day of Yellow Line operation, this column opined that "the transit authority's board would do itself proud" by naming the bridge for Fenwick.

My admiration for Charley Fenwick is nearly unbounded. On first meeting him, I sized him up to be a typical old-line Virginia pol, which would be no compliment. A bland patent lawyer with a pronounced Dixie drawl, he was ahead of his day in viewing Northern Virginia as a part of the Washington region--and, despite negative pressures from downstate, he knew that the health of our metropolis depended upon both governmental and transportation linkages.

So, in Richmond, he sponsored ratification of the compact that created Metro and he was a founder and early member of what evolved into the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Fenwick wanted to be lieutenant governor of Virginia and--who knows?--the state's first modern-day governor from the Washington suburbs. In his lifetime, the Byrdland kingmakers in Richmond said his time hadn't come. Sadly, he died before it did.

Few train riders might know the Fenwick Bridge's name. But in a real sense, he provided its foundation. graphics/photo: SEN. CHARLES R. FENWICK ..."father" of Metro