Ugh that is sad. The street in our city that was renamed has had a tough past but has improved greatly with new businesses moving in and improvements in sidewalks, plantings and common areas in that section of town. It IS in a minority area so I do wonder about the stereotyping of naming the street for Dr King. The other problem is that it’s now reduced to MLK Blvd so some of the honor is lost in translation, particularly for those who don’t really remember Dr King.
That seems an unfortunate method to shorten the name. I understand that saying out loud “Martin Luther King Blvd” is a mouthful at 8 syllables. But cutting it to MLK Blvd only saves two syllables and loses the sense of who the street was named for. If it were called King Blvd, the name would be even shorter and it at least would preserve some name recognition.
The unfortunate fate of the streets named after King reflect the unfortunate fate of the neighborhoods which the streets pass through. I have no idea how to tackle that issue, but I take exception to a remark in the news article:
The template can be found just a mile away. Delmar Boulevard, which saw a similar decline, is now a vibrant retail corridor packed with restaurants, nightclubs, a renovated movie theater and a boutique hotel. The renaissance earned Delmar recognition in 2007 as one of “10 Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association.
That paragraph seems to be a reference to the Delmar Loop, a six block boutique project near the very wealthy Washington University. Here is an example:
The Delmar Loop doesn’t seem to be a realistic example to solve the problems on Martin Lutrher King Dr. Although only one mile apart, that can be a world apart in a major city.
I suspect in hindsight many are now regretting use of the whole name because of the inevitable shortening to initials. Better to be known as King or Dr. King Blvd than MLK. And you’re right, if there is focus on cleaning up an areas, it can be a literal oasis in a desert of despair. Our city has done a great job cleaning up our waterfront which used to be a grim battlefield of scrap metal and junkyards. As one area brightens up, more businesses move in and make an investment.
My current town has no street named for him.
My last city of residence (Austin) does. The actual name is the street name, but it is known verbally by everybody as “MLK Blvd.”
In some places, the signs might say MLK, to save on signage, but I can’t be sure.