What happens when a street’s name changes?

The Park Board is likely to change the name of West Calhoun Parkway and other roads under its control that bear the name "Calhoun." Photo by Zac Farber

In the next month, more than 300 addresses in Southwest Minneapolis could change. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on changing the names of four streets it controls surrounding Bde Maka Ska on Aug. 7.

After the public hearing, the name changes could be approved by a six-commissioner authority as soon as the Aug. 21 Park Board meeting, per an ordinance passed in April.

The changes would come to four roadways controlled by the MPRB: Calhoun Boulevard West, Calhoun Drive, East Lake Calhoun Parkway and West Lake Calhoun Parkway. In each instance, Bde Maka Ska would replace Lake Calhoun or Calhoun.

There are about 325 addresses on those streets, according to city databases and the MPRB. In May, the Park Board sent out letters to 4,200 addresses within three blocks of the streets, notifying them of the potential change and the public hearing, according to director of strategic planning Adam Arvidson.

The exact cost of the potential roadway name change is unclear. The MPBR has not run a full cost analysis of the change, according to Arvidson. The signage around the parkways would be changed, much like it was at beaches when the Park Board added dual signage reading Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska in 2015 and new signs only bearing Bde Maka Ska in 2017, but Park Board officials did not have a cost estimate for those changes. Maps, too, would be updated, potentially incurring additional costs.

Minneapolis Public Works maintains the green street signs for the Park Board, according to city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie, and would replace those signs should the name change be approved.

The MPRB received 741 responses during an open comment period on the proposed name changes this summer, according to Arvidson. Of those, 57% were supportive of the name change, 35% were opposed and 8% had no clear stance but offered general comments or advice.

Those opposed were split into four categories, with the plurality citing financial reasons, Arvidson said.

In comments submitted to the Park Board, some parkway residents cited expenses and hassles of the address change as the main reason for their opposition.

“I support the name change of the lake, although I believe it should be Lake Maka Ska,” wrote one parkway resident. “That said, I am opposed to the name change of East Calhoun Parkway because my entire online, banking and legal identification existence is tied to this address. This will be a massive hassle that will cause extra work, risk and expense to accommodate the name change.”

When a street name is changed, the city will send an official notification to residents and property owners. If people bring a copy of that notification to any local license bureau within 30 days, they can get a new license or identification for no fee, according to Megan Leonard, a public information officer with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. State law requires people update their license when their address changes.

For the United States Postal Service, a change in street names is a fairly simple procedure, according Kristy Anderson, a regional spokesperson. Once the city notifies the agency of a street name change, the USPS’s Address Management Systems department enters the new address and ties it to the old address in their database. Mail addressed to the old address will be automatically sent to the address for 18 months, Anderson said. Customers do not need to submit any forms to the USPS and will incur no financial charges for the change. She said she was unaware of any costs associated with the change but said it would require some work from postal workers to update the addresses.

Minneapolis last saw a street renaming in January 2010, when a portion of 3rd Avenue North near Target Field became “Twins Way,” according to McKenzie. The Minnesota Vikings unsuccessfully lobbied the city to rename a portion of Chicago Avenue near U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.