I wanna rock down to inappropriate name avenue.
September 3, 2010 2:59 AM   Subscribe

How does one go about changing the name of the street their house is on? (United States)

We are one 5 houses on our cul-de-sac, and all 5 households believe the name should be changed.

All we want to do is change the first letter of our current street name to make a totally different word. Our current street name is a short word that, although not vulgar or obscene, is just a weird word to name a street.

It’s not hyperbole when I say we live on “Suck Avenue”. We want to change it to “Duck Avenue” That is the size and extent to which we want to change it.

We live in a small (less than 500), rural township so small that we don’t have our own post office. We use the post office of our slightly-bigger (about 3000) town a couple miles down the road on our mail and as our “official” address.

What first steps should we take in getting the ball rolling? Who do we call or contact first? The post office? The county? The State? Garmin? Mapquest?


P.S. There is only 1 street sign, and we are totally willing to pay for its replacement ourselves.
posted by sandra_s to Law & Government (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about you do it like they used to? Go ahead and get a new sign, wait 15years, there you are.
posted by oxit at 3:11 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Quick google search threw up this on ehow

And then another google search using "Street Name Change Request" gave this for Encinitas, California. There is a link to a pdf application form there too.

So I guess you can do the same but append your city/towm name, you may have some luck
posted by MarvinJ at 3:13 AM on September 3, 2010

It really depends on your state. In mine, rural area street names are under the control of the county engineer's office (at least, that's who sends out notices when your address has to be changed.) You need to call someone in your local government and ask.
posted by SMPA at 3:58 AM on September 3, 2010

I used the location info in your profile.

I note you live in Lackawanna County. I can't find info for your township specifically, but here is the ordinance for street naming for another township in your county.

On the other hand, in Lawrence County the street naming ordinance is apparently countywide, and handled by the Department of public safety, so maybe each county does things a little differently. (In PA that wouldn't surprise me at all.)

It appears that your town does have a zoning board and a town council. I'd start with them. If they aren't helpful, you could move on to the Lackawanna county commissioners.

Good luck!
posted by anastasiav at 4:52 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Inform the town politely that if you and your neighbors aren't granted permission to change the name of Suck Avenue, your fallback is to turn it into a red light district.

Honestly, this is done differently by each jurisdiction, so this is probably easier for you to determine than it would be for anyone here. Personally, never changed my street name, but from what I've observed: (a) it's harder to change the name of a street if it has local historical relevance (others may get a chance to note this during notice and comment periods); (b) easiest if you are changing it to something that pays tribute to someone or reconciles it to a local pattern (e.g., Tillman Street, or another allusion to trees). There may be a bias against allowing residents to just decide this democratically without a stronger warrant.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:44 AM on September 3, 2010

The city I live in changed the name of two streets close to my house. They were renamed to honor football players who went to the local high school, and went on to achieve fame.

The city sent us letters that they were considering changing the names, and said were holding open forums for people to come and speak. They also said unless they received objections, they were going ahead with the plan.

I didn't care at all, but I sort of appreciated the notice. Of course, now we have streets named "Oosterbaan," and "Morrall," and yes, they are both on Wikipedia.
posted by chocolatetiara at 6:45 AM on September 3, 2010

In my part of Pennsylvania, street names are set by resolution by the municipal government, which would be your township supervisors. However, your County Emergency Management agency is also involved, and the change must be submitted to an engoineering firm that is in charge of the database and publshed maps of road, street and private lane names, so that police and ambulances and fire trucks don't's get lost trying to find your place in an emergency.

Call your township office and/or attend (with all you neighbors or with letters from all your neighbors) the next supervisor's meeting.
posted by tommyD at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2010

I, for one, strongly encourage you to go through the town due process. Even though the name change is likely a slam dunk, in a small town it can be worth the price to watch the gears of government turning. I went through with a request to get a zoning variance on a piece of property and got to listen to 45 minutes of discussion about racing pigeons from the throng in front of me. That was totally worth it.
posted by plinth at 10:34 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

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