Editorial: Let’s fix the street names, addresses

Published 9:20 am Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is it time for a task force on streets?

Tribune reporter Ed Shannon’s story on Monday about the streets named after presidents pointed out that Euclid Street used to be named for James Monroe.

If naming a street for a person is honorable, then it seems slightly dishonorable that Albert Lea would remove Monroe from a street name all those years ago.

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Monroe did create the Monroe Doctrine, a foreign diplomacy policy that lasted more than two centuries and embraced by presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy.

Furthermore, Albert Lea has two Marshall Streets because long ago they were connected. Having two streets of the same name surely confuses motorists and first responders alike. There’s the Marshall Street in front of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and the Marshall Street that runs behind old Movie Gallery video store and eventually beneath Interstate 35.

So here’s an idea: Take a Marshall Street and rename it Monroe Street.

America’s fifth president again will get recognition again, and the Marshall Street conundrum will be resolved.

In fact, some cities commission street-name task forces from time to time to study names and see where name changes might be helpful for 911 emergency responses.

For instance, the task force could recommend the city to adopt a policy of changing the names of county roads when they are annexed into the city. It is said children have a hard time knowing streets with big numbers. They can remember named streets more easily.

As another example, the task force might recommend single titles where streets mysteriously change their names, such as Fifth Avenue becoming Maurice Street, Pearl Street becoming Madison Avenue or Quisley Street becoming Eastgate Road. Perhaps it could resolve having two Lakewood Avenues and unravel the places where the property addresses are out of order, such as on Second Avenue.