There’s a raging debate going on in our town concerning street names. Some folks like things the way they are and others think we need more streets named after local luminaries, past and present. Some even want to change the name of existing streets.
Let’s start right off by saying that renaming streets is a bad idea. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. Renaming a street makes absolutely no one happy, except maybe the guy it gets renamed for.
Others have their eye on The Cannery project as a gold mine of potential new street names and wish to make sure the names of all those new streets have a local flavor.
Another point of contention concerns whether you can name a street after a living person of it it’s better to wait until they’re six feet under, as is the city’s current custom.
The thinking here is that as long as someone is alive, he or she still has a chance to do something truly awful and put the city in the embarrassing position of having to live with an awkward street name or go through the painful process of renaming the street.
Witness Pete Rose Way, Barry Bonds Boulevard, Richard Nixon Expressway and Mayor of Toronto Manor. Proof positive of the benefits of waiting until a person’s body of work on this Earth is over and done.
Which means Dunning Drive, Wolk Way and Krovoza Court are out of the question at this point, unless they want to name something after my mom.
Then again, some folks believe they are bestowing an honor by naming a street after an individual and better to do it while that person is still alive and able to enjoy it.
For my money, most of the people who would be candidates to have a street named after themselves don’t need any more honors. Denise Curry is already an All-American, Carol Greider is already a Nobel Prize winner, Dave Scott is already an Ironman champion, Jim Sochor is already in the College Football Hall of Fame.
So far, there is no rhyme nor reason to how we name streets in this town. We’re all over the map, as any map of Davis will tell you.
We have the Girl Streets (Adeline, Adrian, Alice, Angela, Erma, Iris, Louise, Sharon, Penny, Victoria and Clara).
And we have the Boy Streets (Craig, Barry, Arnold, Diego, Douglas, Henri, Homer, Kent, Leon, Lyle, Raphael, Regis and Russell.)
We have Nut Streets, Fruit Streets, Bird Streets, Tree Streets, Wild Animal Streets, Nautical Streets, Large Mountain Streets, National Park Streets, Saint Streets, Religious Streets (Bishop and Diablo), North Coast Streets (Fortuna, Eureka and Humboldt) and the Telescope Street (Hubble).
We have Harvard and Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton, Stanford but no Cal, Auburn but no Alabama, Tulane but no LSU, Pepperdine but no Loyola Marymount, Notre Dame but no USC.
Maybe we should name a street after the person in town who worked the longest at minimum wage. Or the person who paid the most property taxes to support our schools. Or the person who employed the most people. Or the person who owns the most rental homes. Or the person who has been homeless the longest. Or the bicyclist who has run the most stop signs without getting caught.
The best plan I’ve heard is to simply pull names out of the phone book and give the person so chosen the option to accept or decline.
The possibilities are endless. The number of streets isn’t.
— Reach Bob Dunning at firstname.lastname@example.org