Arlington officials remain stymied in their long push to rename the section of Jefferson Davis Highway running through the county — but you’d never know it by glancing at Google Maps.
The tech company’s virtual atlas now identifies Arlington’s section of Route 1 as “Richmond Highway,” dating back to at least Friday (Jan. 11). An ARLnow reader, who asked to remain anonymous, first noticed the switch.
That matches the new name Alexandria leaders picked for the road last year, stripping the Confederate president’s moniker from the highway. Arlington’s County Board is anxious to make a similar change, but a complex provision of state law currently bars it from doing so — Attorney General Mark Herring’s office issued an opinion clarifying that cities like Alexandria have the authority to change the names of state roads within their boundaries, but counties don’t.
Accordingly, signs around Crystal City and Pentagon City will still bear the “Jefferson Davis” name for the foreseeable future, but many people looking up the road online would never know it was there. Apple Maps users, however, will still see the Confederate president’s name on the highway, as of today (Tuesday).
The swap will surely come as good news for the Board, which recently urged state lawmakers to renew old efforts to pass a bill giving the county the power to change the name on its own. The impending arrival of Amazon in the neighborhood added some urgency to that push, given the company’s stated commitment to inclusivity and diversity and Davis’ connections to Virginia’s slaveholding past.
But Arlington legislators say they likely won’t raise the issue in this year’s new General Assembly session.
Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District) initially signaled that he could be willing to back legislation on the matter this time around if the local business community, or perhaps some Republicans, came on board with the issue. But without that backing, he’d rather wait to see if Democrats can seize control of the legislature in this fall’s elections first.
“It might not be the best year to push forward on that,” Ebbin told ARLnow. “We’re looking into the best strategies for 2020, to see if we go ahead with allowing them to name contiguous roads the same as in adjacent localities. That’s probably the most palatable case we can make to others that have strongly held beliefs on this.”
On the House of Delegates side of things, Del. Rip Sullivan (D-48th District) added that he doesn’t plan to introduce any bill on the subject and that “I don’t know that any of my colleagues will either.”
So far, his prediction has proven to be correct — as of Tuesday, no legislation on the topic has been filed down in Richmond.
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference
Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
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