Monday, January 26, 2009

2424 Appealing Development Boulevard

A conversation at work sometime back reminded me of that certain awful fate that befalls so many planned communities. Let’s see if you can guess what I’m getting at with the following hints: Fox Hollow Road, Acorn Way, California Poppy Lane and Quail Circle.

Yes, I speak of terrible, nature-themed street names. They’re especially bad when the streets’ namesakes are the very species that were displaced by the development itself, but they grate even when this is not the case. Too often, they sound as though they were designed specifically to lull the na├»ve into thinking that living on these streets would be better somehow — better connected with nature, less likely to devolve Revolutionary Road-levels of suburban angst.

There’s a development in Goleta that bothers me in particular. It’s the one behind Francisco Torres, just off Storke Road. It gets my vote for the worst street names in the county and includes such clunkers as Willowgrove Drive, which few willows call home; Sweetwater Way, which flies in the face of all the lousy-tasting water running through all areas adjacent to UCSB; and Cool Brook Lane, which might be accurate about two months a year but should be renamed “Fire Hazard Lane” for the other ten.

Of course, these names don’t sound as terrible as the communities with streets named after the developer’s wife, daughter, mother, and mother-in-law. After all, who wants to live at the corner of Diane Street and Amber Road? Or, in the case of the last two, Enid Drive and Flatulent Sow Lane?

I wonder if I can apply to name new roads. I wonder if I can convince the county planners that I could do a better job putting two words together for something that people will have to read, write or recite every day.

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