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How To Get Your Street Name Changed In Five Easy Steps

by Jake Becker, Jun 30, 2014

Malcolm X Blvd

The intersection of two honoric streets (Phil Whitehouse via Flickr)

This article is part of NYC Street Signs, a product of the NYCity News Service at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism 

Five Steps To A New York City Street Name Change:

1) The process of changing a street name begins with signatures. An individual hoping to change a street name needs signatures (online or in-person) and addresses from at least 75% of residents and/or business people on the specific block. For example, if the block has 153 units, a petition needs a minimum of 115 signatures of support to move forward.

2) After acquiring the necessary number of signatures, the next step is to bring the petition to the local community board's traffic and transportation committee, and to fill out the board's specific application (see an example here).

The committee takes roughly a month to look over an application to make sure it falls under the board's guidelines. If the the committee approves the application, it is brought before the entire community board for deliberation.

3) If the local community board approves the application, it then travels to city's legislative body: the New York City Council.

4) The City Council carries out evaluations of applications and potential street name honorees. A specific council member is also required to submit a detailed report on potential honorees. If any complications concerning a proposed name change arise, the council speaker's leadership team takes a final look. Twice a year, the City Council votes on street name changes.

5) After approval by the City Council, the mayor has the power, though it is rarely used, to veto a new street co-naming. After passage, the city's Department of Transportation will put up a new sign, usually within six months.

Note: this five step guide is an edited version of the illustrated original, which can be seen here.

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NYC Street Signs is a product of the NYCity News Service at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

See the full project here


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