Along the Road to Nowhere

I’ve already gone on record regarding “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” To my amazement, Brian Winkeler thinks even less of the notion than I do:

Do you ever get tired of hearing fabulous tales of the star-studded goings-on that take place on the west coast on world-renowned Los Angeles Blvd? Or the five-star dining and über-exclusive retail experiences to be had up north on New York Boulevard?

Of course not. Because streets with those names don’t exist in those cities. New York and Los Angeles and Chicago and (fill in your favorite major market city here) have major thoroughfares of culture and commerce with names that are unique, distinctive and memorable. Sunset Boulevard. Lake Shore Drive. Broadway (luckily, we’ve already got one of those).

Mayor Mick Cornett is inexplicably desperate for the boulevard at the epicenter of Oklahoma City’s Core to Shore development to be named … Oklahoma City Boulevard.

There is a Los Angeles Street in Los Angeles, a block east of Main Street downtown, though it peters out around 23rd Street. A boulevard, it is not.

There’s Las Vegas Boulevard, at the heart of the famous Strip — though the Strip is not actually in the city of Las Vegas, but runs through a couple of unincorporated areas of Clark County.

Winkeler continues:

Do you know where you’ll find major streets named after cities? In other cities. Miami Boulevard can be found in Dayton, OH. Our frenemies up in Tulsa have Boston Avenue. We’ve even got Portland Avenue here in town (though it’s thankfully free of suicidal, caffeinated hipster douchebags).

We have a Tulsa Avenue, in fact, though Tulsa doesn’t have an Oklahoma City Avenue. For that matter, Tulsa doesn’t even have a Tulsa Avenue. What can we learn from this?

The only remotely-creative names concocted in the last 15 years in this town were these: two sports teams — Thunder (NBA) and Barons (AHL) — and one Web site. I think we can safely say that you’re not going to see anyone driving along Dustbury Boulevard West.







13 comments

  1. Dan B »

    30 May 2011 · 8:03 pm

    “We’ve even got Portland Avenue here in town (though it’s thankfully free of suicidal, caffeinated hipster douchebags).”

    Bob Mills and the Mathis Brothers between them qualify as 3 out of 4 of those criteria. (They make too much money to be suicidal.) Don’t that count for something?

    Naming a major thru-street in your town after the town itself is so lame it’s painful. It’s like people who ‘Like’ their own posts on Facebook.

  2. CGHill »

    30 May 2011 · 8:11 pm

    Yeah, but they were what they were before they moved out that way (the Mathises, if I recall, were on Western south of Reno, and I bought a lot of stuff from Bob Mills when he was on SW 29 east of May).

    By now, even Lost Ogle Boulevard sounds good.

  3. Brian J. »

    30 May 2011 · 8:13 pm

    Milwaukee has a number of helpful street names based on other Wisconsin cities. Appleton Avenue, Fond du Lac, Beloit, and so on. They’re helpful because they tell you the direction they run: toward the named city.

    St. Louis has similar features. Although Kirkwood Road is what you call Lindbergh Boulevard where it passes through Kirkwood, a large number of St. Louis roads are named for the ferries that cross the various rivers: Lemay Ferry, Tesson Ferry, Dougherty Ferry, New Halls Ferry, and so on. Except that’s not as helpful since they started building bridges.

  4. CGHill »

    30 May 2011 · 8:21 pm

    One of the neater plans is in the original Austin, Texas grid; the north-south streets are named after Texas rivers, in geographical order. The farthest east is Sabine, then Red River, Neches, Trinity, San Jacinto, Brazos [Congress Avenue intervenes], Colorado, Lavaca, Guadalupe, San Antonio, Nueces, Rio Grande. (I’m sure I forgot one somewhere along the way.)

  5. McGehee »

    30 May 2011 · 9:17 pm

    My high school was on Sacramento Boulevard, but no longer; the city renamed it after Martin Luther King a few years after I graduated.

    Sacramento seems to have more boulevards per capita than almost any other town I’ve been in.

  6. Tatyana »

    31 May 2011 · 7:27 am

    Count yourselves lucky that Americans streets are not named (and renamed…after natural/unnatural demise of the subject) after Leaders of Government and the Party.
    My first college was in a city with historical name (after a local river); when I graduated a notorious politico (Minister of National Defense) died and the city was renamed after him. Imagine all the chaos and expense with official forms! Well, luckily, in 3 or 4 years the political winds have changed and after numerous protests of the residents the historical name was granted back. But so many cities, towns and streets are still named variations of Lenin!

    Dustbury Blvd. I like it.

  7. Mark »

    31 May 2011 · 8:33 am

    Wait, the Mathis Brothers are hipsters now? This definitely happened after 1982. Are they playing ukeleles? Sporting Walt Whitman beards?

  8. Brett »

    31 May 2011 · 8:52 am

    Well, New York City has a “Houston” avenue, but they don’t pronounce it right…

  9. Tatyana »

    31 May 2011 · 10:56 am

    Brett, it’s a street [and we don’t seem to do anything else right to please the rest of the country…]

  10. CGHill »

    31 May 2011 · 11:02 am

    Only street in Manhattan that bugs me is Avenue of the Americas, formerly known as Sixth Avenue, and probably still called Sixth Avenue by residents forty years after the fact.

  11. Dan B »

    31 May 2011 · 1:18 pm

    I can confirm about Bob Mills trying to be hip. He tries to speak Spanish on his ads on channel 30.

    I like Brian J’s idea about Milwaukee. We’ve already started with the Dallas, Ft. Smith, and Amarillo junctions. So let’s rename the Northwest Distressway Slapout Street. Certainly describes what we’d like to do to some of the drivers on it.

    I-44 SW from I-240 could be Chickasha Lane or Lawton Lane, depending on which lobby group wins out. Reno is already used on a name, I don’t think we can get a majority to rename anything in OKC “Clinton”, so I-40 West becomes Sayre Street? Weatherford Way? Gotebo Road?

    Newcastle Road hasn’t gone to Newcastle in my lifetime, so it definitely needs a rename. Union City Road? Cogar Passage? Cordell Lane?

    Of course, northbound Broadway Extension north of I-35 must be renamed “Highway to Hell”. A more perfect name does not exist.

  12. Tatyana »

    31 May 2011 · 6:24 pm

    Chaz, Ave of Am still retains its native name of 6th Avenue in some places. Worse when some stretches of a street suddenly get renamed after somebody and then after couple of blocks the street returns to the previous name. Poor postmen!

  13. CGHill »

    31 May 2011 · 7:07 pm

    We have entirely too much of that in this town, especially in the Bricktown district.

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