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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dickerson Pike: The name isn't the problem

Tennessean reporter Kate Howard is correct that this is what I think of when I hear the words "Dickerson Pike:"

Let’s do some word association. First thing you think of when I say… Dickerson Pike. Was it crime? Prostitutes? Drug dealers, or spray painting graffiti artists? If it was, you might understand why Metro City Council members want to give it a new moniker.

The city is considering a resolution telling the world they to be on “Skyline Boulevard” next time they’re riding down between Spring Street and Trinity Lane. The General Assembly would have to approve the change for the state route.

In my opinion, this is a shortsighted mistake that will only serve as a quick fix to a major issue. How long do you really think it will take until people realize that Skyline Boulevard equals Dickerson Pike?

The name isn't the problem: The activity on that street is. I hope the council will stop spending time on another resolution that has no practical value and look for real solutions that will help permanently revitalize a blighted and dangerous part of our city. How about expanding the East Police Precinct and hiring more officers to work there? How about adding better and more streetlights? How about dedicating funds toward building future city agency locations there? How about providing incentives for businesses to relocate there?

Maybe none of these ideas make sense for Dickerson Pike. Maybe some of them do. Unless we keep thinking about how to improve the reality of Dickerson Pike and stop worrying about what to call it, though, it won't be long until we read about the next prostitution sting or drug bust on Skyline Boulevard.

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