Believing that its street renaming criteria are not stringent enough, Community Board 13’s Transportation Committee has proposed some changes to the requirements. The full board will vote on the plan next month.
Tanya Cruz, the chairwoman of the Transportation Committee, said a street renaming is the highest honor the community can bestow on a person and therefore should be taken very seriously.
“It’s raising the bar,” Cruz said. “It’s a starting point and it’s just to communicate to people that we are making this something that is a true recognition of a person’s time, energy and effort.”
Under the proposed policy a person to be recognized must have made a significant contribution to the community either as a resident or through work at a neighborhood facility or organization. Board member Peter Richards disagreed.
“I think it should be a much wider platform,” he said. “Suppose something happens of great significance in the borough of Manhattan.”
Cruz said people who have made contributions in other boroughs that are of such great significance that they affect the entire city would tend to be honored in other ways like having buildings names for them.
The plan also says an honoree must have lived in the community for a certain amount of time. Members will decide at the next meeting whether that will be 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. The applicant must also get approval in writing from a certain number of homeowners on the proposed street to be renamed. Members will decide whether that will be 55, 60 or 75 percent of residents.
Recommendations by civic associations would not automatically get approved and all petitioners must make a presentation to CB 13’s Transportation Committee whether they have already come before the full board or not.
The fact that the City Council approves renamings in May and November only would not necessarily accelerate board decisions on last minute applications. The rules would be waived for military service members as well as civil servants and Cruz said there will be room for other exceptions under the new plan.