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Downtown Residents Threaten to Sue City Over Street Names

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The Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association (ADNA) is raising money to sue the City of Atlanta for changing street names without following protocol. Citizens took to the internet after city council sidestepped three steps in order change part of Spring Street to Ted Turner Drive. Their crowdfunding campaign has already raised 102 percent of the $5,000 goal with 20 days left and a "Stop Renaming Atlanta Streets" Facebook page has 618 members as of this writing.

Because the city was "inundated with requests to change the names of its streets," some rules were put into place via a 2003 ordinance. According to law, 75 percent of residents and businesses located on a street have to approve any street name change, name changes must apply to the entire street rather than just a few blocks and street renamings have to be reviewed by the urban design commission. According to ADNA, none of these things happened when the Spring Street/Ted Turner Drive change was approved.

City council itself acknowledged, in the 2003 ordinance, that changing street names is "confusing, potentially dangerous, causes great inconvenience to those whose residence or business is located on that street, imposes a substantial cost on the City to change street signs, and creates various other difficulties" and that "street names have significant historical value and renaming them would leave a historical void." Why go through all that when there are plenty of other ways to honor important Atlantans? Naming parks, plazas or Chick-fil-a shake flavors after them is just as impressive and not nearly as annoying. Atlanta's layout is confusing enough without streets that change name every three blocks and maps with inaccurate labels.

Let's be clear, this is not a new problem. The Wikipedia page on Atlanta street name changes features a fascinating article from the October 17, 1903 Atlanta Constitution that lists all of the street name changes that had happened up to that point. It says, "The fact that more than 225 streets of Atlanta have had from two to eight names, resulting in confusion and trouble to the real estate agents and the attorneys, was brought to the attention of the street committee of council..." Some things never change.

· Stop Renaming Atlanta Streets: Sue the City! [FundRazr]