It’s possible Fairfax County will not be following Arlington’s lead in renaming its stretch of U.S. Route 29 as “Langston Boulevard.”
Fairfax County supervisors wish to rename Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways because of their associations with Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, but a county survey – with an admittedly small sample size – found the public would prefer they just go with the roads’ numbers.
Supervisors at their June 14 Transportation Committee meeting seemed open to the possibility of using numerical names.
“Frankly, people already refer to these by their route numbers today, so it would be a less-dramatic change in terms of lifestyle, marketing [and] the daily lives of the people who live and work in these two corridors,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D).
Fairfax supervisors earlier had asked county staff to reach out to businesses and residents along those roadway corridors. Staff received 129 survey responses and eight voicemails on the matter, 74 percent of which came from people and businesses on the Route 29 corridor and 25 percent from the Route 50 area.
The overwhelming number of respondents favored simply using the roadways’ numerical designations.
In order to rename Fairfax County’s sections of Routes 29 and 50, supervisors would have to approve a resolution asking the Commonwealth Transportation Board to make the changes.
Arlington was able to change its stretch of Route 29 from “Lee Highway” to Langston Boulevard” without approval from that body, having received authorization from the General Assembly to do so unilaterally.
The name Langston honored John M. Langston, who was born into slavery and, during Reconstruction, served a brief period in Congress as a Republican.
Route 50, which is known as Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway in Fairfax County, is known as Arlington Boulevard in Arlington.