Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's in a Name (Toll Road Edition)

Most people don't get the opportunity to help name a road, especially one as big as the over half-completed State Highway 121 tollway. But the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) is seeking public input on its name at the moment, and they have a few ideas:
A legendary congressman, a historic regional railway or a familiar, if bland, state highway number. Those are the options proposed by the North Texas Tollway Authority for renaming the road from Coppell to McKinney formerly known as State Highway 121.

The NTTA is asking for public input on the names Sam Rayburn Tollway, Interurban Tollway and 121 Tollway.

Don't like those choices? They'll also take suggestions.

Agency spokeswoman Sherita Coffelt said board members want a name that brands the road as well as differentiates it from non-tolled highways. But they also considered that using 121 in the title would provide existing name recognition, she said.

[...]The NTTA's naming policy, adopted last fall, encourages names that reflect geographic location, infrastructure or historic sites or posthumously recognize an individual for lasting public contributions.
If you're behind in your Texas history (or not from Texas but still reading this for some reason), Rayburn was a longtime U.S. representative who was speaker of the House for 16 years, and the Interurban was a longtime railway connecting Denton and Waco, with major stops in Dallas and Ft. Worth (ironically, it was made obsolete by the rise of the passenger car).

So if it were up to you, what would you name the tollway? I know it sounds generic, but 121 Tollway works for me; I think that's what I've been calling it anyway. I'm OK with naming it for Rayburn, too, especially if they nicknamed it "the Sam." Agree or disagree, feel free to hit "comment" and chime in.

Blowing out two hands' worth of candles, but no thumbs: Happy birthday to my nephew Noah, who's eight today. He may have had to go to school on his special day, but...there was cake! (The unusual story of how I was first notified of his birth is found here.)

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