What’s in a name? It’s time to update Shattuck Avenue

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The city of Berkeley has decided to rename one of its most iconic streets. To be clear, it will not be renaming the entirety of Shattuck Avenue — just the portion of the street in Downtown Berkeley between University Avenue and Allston Way that splits into two 1-way streets.

Street names can be very fickle things. After all, street names can be a way to immortalize whatever the street is being named after. It’s rare that streets are renamed, so any name will probably stick for many decades. As a result, street names are usually those of historically significant people, iconic places and monuments or ideas of importance to the city and the culture within and around it.

Many people have already given suggestions to the city of Berkeley. One of the more prominent ones was Avocado Toast. This name is a great example of a good moniker. We already have so many street names about historically significant people, places and the like. Another one of these names would just be another boring, semi-memorable addition. Avocado Toast, on the other hand, would be a statement of the culture. For ages to come, pedestrians and drivers alike would go down Avocado Toast, recalling the earlier years of the 21st century and all the movements it came with: many dietary movements and, perhaps most importantly, the millennials’ coming-of-age. As a street name, Avocado Toast would hold a lot of weight and convey so many food movements and generational identities in two simple words.

Another great name would be Plutonium Way. Plutonium was first discovered in Berkeley, ushering in the nuclear age. All of a sudden, humanity not only had the power to change history but to end it. As a result, the invention and deployment of the nuclear bomb constituted, scientifically speaking, probably the biggest turning point in human history. And at the forefront of this turning point was UC Berkeley. Plutonium Way would immortalize the significance of Berkeley in not just science but in the history of humanity. It would serve as a constant reminder of the power of intelligence and its ability to do both good and great evil.

If we were to take the vanilla route and rename this street after someone famous and influential, then there’s really only one option, and we all know who it is. The sexiest man alive (according to numerous magazines): Chris Pine, the pride and joy of UC Berkeley. Saying that we have Chris Pine as an alumnus is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of asserting dominance over other schools. His body of work is indicative of a true man of culture and prestige. Chris Pine Avenue also has a ring to it. While walking down Chris Pine Avenue, any person is certain to feel talented and excellent, similar to Chris Pine himself.

In conclusion, good street names are hard to come by. There is only one iconic Wall Street, but there are hundreds of Main Streets. The renaming of a street gives we the people immense power over the directions people will give. With this power, we ought to be responsible and make the name worthwhile.

Contact Hamzah Alam at [email protected].