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Eagle River residents oppose proposed street name change

Posted: December 18, 2013 - 1:00am

ANCHORAGE — Residents of an Eagle River neighborhood are protesting a new street name that has been proposed in an ongoing project by Anchorage officials to reduce duplicate addresses.

Bryan Emmons, who has lived on Davis Street since infancy, gathered more than 20 signatures of neighbors also opposed to renaming the street Grayling Court. The Anchorage Assembly was scheduled to consider the petition at its meeting Tuesday night.

“I’ve got to change utility bills, driver’s license, vehicle registrations, the whole works,” Emmons told the Anchorage Daily News. “It’s like we’ve moved and haven’t gone anywhere.”

Duplicate street names in the municipality were first outlawed by ordinance in 1972. After the 2002 killing of former public safety commissioner Glenn Godfrey, an investigation showed that emergency response was slowed by confusion over duplicate street addresses.

The city stepped up efforts to clean up address databases, and 91 duplicate street names have changed since the project started in 2003. At least three dozen other duplicate streets are currently targeted, said Jonathan Swanson, the municipality’s acting addressing official.

Five Davis streets are at the higher end, with numbers usually closer to two, Swanson said.

Problems with duplicate street names rest mainly with dispatchers, according to Al Tamagni, spokesman for the Anchorage Fire Department.

“Fewer duplicate street names means less opportunity for the caller to give a wrong location and for us to go to the wrong location,” he said.

Emmons, 37, said he found out from a neighbor about the pending change to his street address in August.

He learned that the voting process began in June and the name Grayling Court won out among neighborhood residents over other potential names. The city acknowledged that Emmons and his parents, Ronald and Kathleen Emmons, were accidentally excluded from the public voting process. A re-vote was taken, and Grayling Court won again.

When the materials finally reached the family, neither Emmons nor his parents bothered to vote, he said.

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