A road by many other names ...
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 29, 2012 1:46 PM
Looking west on Tommy's Road, where the city has proposed to rename the street Novel Hill Road. Residents along the road expressed their concerns and suggestions for the renaming of the road at last week's Goldsboro City Council meeting. The road is being renamed due to concerns of emergency officials.
The opening of N.C. 44 -- soon to be the new U.S. 70 Bypass -- will mean a quicker trip from Raleigh to the coast, but it has also meant the severing of one of the city's oldest and most well-known roads, leading to a naming controversy, with residents fuming at the idea of changing their addresses and IDs.
The city mailed out letters to the residents of Tommy's Road west of Patetown Road in January, explaining that, due to concerns from the county's 911 emergency center, the roads would have to be renamed.
The old portion of what was once North William Street also would be renamed.
City officials allowed residents to submit name suggestions, which were received and checked against other road names in the county to assure there weren't any duplicates.
Those that remained were heavily debated during Monday's meeting of the Goldsboro City Council, where about a dozen residents turned out to voice their concerns and suggestions about the name changes.
Sherman Best spoke for nearly 20 minutes on the history of Tommy's Road, which he said was named for his uncle. Best suggested that the road remain Tommy's Road despite the split, adding that his dedication to the name was buoyed by a conversation he had with County Planning Director Connie Price during which he said Price said the road would someday be rejoined.
Price said later that wasn't exactly what he had said.
"I don't know that there's anything planned on that. The (Department of Transportation) has no plans to connect it," Price said, adding that the road was closed as part of wetlands mitigation for the U.S. 70 project.
If the road would ever be connected again, he said, it would likely need to be a separate project in the future.
Still, the wetlands mitigation clause of the closure would mean DOT would need to find other wetlands to meet the requirement.
"As much as DOT would like to open it, I don't know if they would ever get a permit," Price said, adding that any opening would likely not happen in the near future.
Best wasn't the only person to speak out against the city's plans, however,
Larry Best, whose address would change from Tommy's Road to Novel Hill Road, explained that the small strip of road he lives on has only a handful of residents along it, all of whom are opposed to the name change. He pointed out that the road remained continuous into his neighborhood from Patetown Road west to the creek, which now splits the road, and asked for that portion to remain Tommy's Road.A handful of others spoke out against the changes west of that creek, asking that it be left alone, although one resident suggested that if the road's name were to change, he would recommend Cherry Cola Lane.
The road west from the creek is proposed to be cut into two sections, with one portion renamed either Cherry Cola or Crumpler Lane and the smaller section, which connects the old North William Street with U.S. 117, renamed as either Lila or Wiley Andrews Lane, both suggestions from a family.
The old section of North William Street is proposed to be named Carolina Commerce Drive for the Carolina Commerce Center which sits near its north end. Marc Best, who owns that building, spoke in favor of that suggestion.