AT ONE TIME or another, just about every rider of the Metro subway has felt reassured that the names of the stations are actually an indication of what's above ground. Gallery Place is exactly where it ought to be - right under two major art galleries. The Dupont Circle stop, thankfully, is next to that circle; Rosslyn station is in Rosslyn. But just what offices are near the Federal Center station? And who but the very experienced know they should get off at Pentagon City and not at the Pentagon stop?

Some members of Metro's board of directors, recognizing this confusion, are considering renaming some of the stations. If they have their way, the Nicholson Lane station may be renamed White Flint - even though the White Flint shopping mall is a healthy trek down the road. They're also thinking of calling the Georgia Avenue station "Petworth," the name of the surroung community, despite the fact that the name of the street is better known. But Chilum, a neighborhood name that is well-known, would be re-named West Hyattsville (a sure case of unpoetic injustice). Worst of all, the name of the Stadium-Armory station would be erased, replaced by something called the Starplex-Hosp stop, in honor of the "stadium armory complex," as the bureaucrats call it, as well as D.C. General Hospital.

There's no doubt that some stations should be renamed, among them Federal City College, since FCC doesn't exist anymore; calling the station Mt. Vernon Square-UDC makes perfect sense, so long as Congress approves UDC's Mt. Vernon campus. But Starplex-Hosp? No chance. For one thing, it overlooks one of the area's most distinctive landmarks - D.C. Jail. Maybe the Metro Board should consider "Ho-ja-plex" or "Jail-Hos." Better still, the current name of Stadium-Armory could be retained. It may be the clearest name in the entire system.