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ertley

Re-naming Charlotte Streets

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I think a topic that needs to be addressed by Charlotte's leaders is re-naming--i.e. providing more uniformity--to Charlotte's city streets. Mind you, I'm not proposing changing historic names, but primarily reducing the number of name changes that (now) continuous routes undergo over the course of the city. I absolutely understand that many, or almost all, of these name changes represent Charlotte's past, but the city is trying to be a 21st century world class entity while preserving its past, which necessarily means adjustments, and I think that should include street naming.

A perfect example of what should happen during new development projects, in the South End Strawn Cottages redevelopment, the two blocks of Caldwell at its northeast end should be re-named to Cleveland, when they're joined. 277 and the routing of South Boulevard cut those two blocks of Caldwell off from the Uptown and north end primary segment of the street--so what's the purpose of keeping those remnants, especially when they're now going to join an entirely differently named street? And please don't tell me it makes more sense to re-name them all Caldwell, when most people in that area identify with Cleveland, and they'll forever be separated from Caldwell because of South Boulevard.   

To be a little bolder and more controversial, I also think Elizabeth Avenue should be renamed East Trade Street (before you protest, I have a *replacement Elizabeth Avenue in mind!). Trade--arguably Charlotte's second most important street--shouldn't be a mere 20-odd blocks long (discounting the northbound portion in Biddleville), and more importantly, the name shouldn't arbitrarily change right at the edge of Uptown. Major cities have major, identifiable streets that continue for long stretches, and Trade should be one, terminating logically--at its end--at the east and west. *The new Elizabeth Avenue should replace the horribly named Charlottetowne Avenue. I know, I know it harkens back to the original mall built in the '50s, but the street was actually originally Independence Blvd., and can people in America learn that ending things with a faux-English "e" is just that, faux English? Nowhere in England will you find things (with seriousness) with superfluous e's on them. So, the main north/south drag, with major signage coming off Independence, would then be (appropriately, and more attractively) named Elizabeth Avenue.  

In the theme of continuing Uptown/downtown street names for greater distances, I think Fourth Street Extended (or Extension) is obviously now the real west Fourth Street, so it should be re-named as such. Let the remnant two-block Fourth in Wesley Heights either be re-named Fourth Street Place, or let the neighborhood re-name it altogether if they choose. And because Fourth Extended then merges in Tuckaseegee--yes, rename that east/west portion of Tuckaseegee as West Fourth Street, where it can then end, logically, at the planned plaza/radial intersection. 

Also, in Biddleville, the remnant of Trade that was created when the Five Points intersection was re-done, should be re-named. I propose simply taking the street names and switching them, based on the routes they continue. West Fifth Street should continue through the Five Points intersection, and the eastern portion of Rozzelles Ferry Road should be re-named West Fifth, along with that weird Idaho Avenue segment. Driving into town via Brookshire, you would simply encounter a sign that says, "West Fifth Street / To Uptown"--and that could even be signed as Biddleville / JCSU too, if the community wanted it. That would make perfect sense to drivers. I would then continue the name Trade--because it is, or should be, Charlotte's second most important street, up past Five Points, and re-name Beatties Ford Road Trade up to 85. (I think having I 85, and definitely I 485 for the outer areas of town, and likely W.T. Harris and maybe 51 and I 77,  as clear, consistent demarcation lines of street name changes would be logical and help a lot: If you're driving on 85, you'd simply have a sign that read, for example, "West Trade Street  SOUTH / Beatties Ford Road NORTH"--like you do for the Tryon Exit on 77--for where name changes occur.) For the old (current) West Trade remnant, I would suggest re-naming IT to be Rozzelles Ferry, but if the neighborhood instead wanted to take the opportunity to choose a new name, Fine, because ideally Rozzelles Ferry would then end on the other side of 85.

Please take note that I'm not suggesting doing away with any historic road names, but simply pushing the more rural-oriented names (Beatties, Rozelles) to more peri-urban areas, and they'll still continue out to their places of origin.   

I could go on and on, but there's a way to (I believe, as shown above) both maintain Charlotte's history and the legacy of its former place relationships while creating a logical flow of streets and thoroughfares that are more easily navigable and not simply by rote memorization and familiarity.  I think it's ridiculous to somehow think that steadfastly preserving every meter of original road names is somehow respectful of the past, when NCDOT and the city routinely re-route and cannibalize any street they choose (and often I understand why), which is the real un-doing of the past.  

 

   

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I think the biggest reason streets are not re-named more often to make sense is due to the costs involved (including to businesses and residents on the street). It takes full time employees time to manage re-naming streets (opportunity cost versus them on other projects), you have to upgrade the streets signs, socialize the changes with everybody impacted by a street re-naming, phase in the change with a timeline (people need to update business cards, websites, advertisements, physical signs on buildings, return addresses, etc...), coordinate with the USPS, etc...

I totally agree our street names are often confusing. The city is aware situations like Moorehead/Queens/Providence are NOT a best practice, but property owners don't want their specific street name changed and have pushed back on any change. 

If you have specific streets you are very passionate about re-naming, the city takes petitions if 75% of property owners on the street agree to a name change: https://charlottenc.gov/Transportation/CDOTServices/Pages/StreetNameChange.aspx

You could also see if the city is looking for unpaid interns or volunteers to manage a name change program from start to finish and you could put your passion for organizing the road names into implementation. 

Edited by CLT2014
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Yep--I know everything costs money. I probably should've stipulated that this would be a long-term issue for the city planning authorities to tackle. But if Charlotte continues its growth a-pace, for the next few decades, I think it would pay off in the end, even if it took another decade or two to materialize.

I totally recognize that getting property owners/neighborhood denizens to agree is probably the largest impediment, though. Still, what is Urban Planet for than to at least start a conversation, and maybe... one day... 

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I'd like to see the Rea Road/Colony Road mess straightend out.  When roads get extended, as both of these have been, you often get confusion.  Rea Road now intersects Providence Road twice (north of NC 51, and  again in Weddington, well south of I-485), which I'm sure causes confusion.

If it were up to me, I'd continue the Colony Road name all the way from Myers Park, through Piper Glen, across I-485, through Blakeney,  to Weddington, where it ends (for now; it will soon be extended across Providence to NC 84).  Rea Road would be much shorter, extending from Providence to Colony.

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I'm sure its quite confusing to the out of towner or new to town person, but I love how our streets change names. Each name change usually comes with a change in neighborhood or feel. Just part of Charlotte's character.

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Honestly it is a lot better than in years past now at least they have signs announcing end of one street and start of another street.  My favorite is Idlewild to Rama to Fairview to Tyvola and never making a turn!

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12 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Honestly it is a lot better than in years past now at least they have signs announcing end of one street and start of another street.  My favorite is Idlewild to Rama to Fairview to Tyvola and never making a turn!

Isn't is Sardis for a bit in between Rama and Fairview?

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I forgot there are relics of Sisky out there until I saw the Qdoba by the Matthews YMCA fail its health test (on Sisky Pkwy).  Would be good to change the name of that street.  

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On 2/12/2019 at 3:04 PM, ertley said:

 *The new Elizabeth Avenue should replace the horribly named Charlottetowne Avenue. I know, I know it harkens back to the original mall built in the '50s, but the street was actually originally Independence Blvd., and can people in America learn that ending things with a faux-English "e" is just that, faux English? Nowhere in England will you find things (with seriousness) with superfluous e's on them. So, the main north/south drag, with major signage coming off Independence, would then be (appropriately, and more attractively) named Elizabeth Avenue.     

Actually when they renamed the street Charlottetowne Avenue, it was meant to be named after the mall and Charlotte's first name, but they only realized after the signs went up and residents commented, that the 'superfluous e' never existed on the name of the city, or the mall, someone just screwed up.

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