Local News

Friday, Feb 07 2014 06:44 PM

City manager: 'Wendy Wayne' name too long for highway sign

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    As she battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Wendy Wayne wrote to her young grandchildren that she found even in her cancer diagnosis “enormous good fortune.” Wayne died June 17, 2012, at age 64.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

An online petition to rename Westside Parkway the "CSU Bakersfield Alumna Wendy Wayne Memorial Parkway" after the late community activist has more than 170 supporters, but City Manager Alan Tandy is not one of them.

The name change suggested by Cal State Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell is too long to fit on a highway sign, Tandy said Friday in his weekly memo to the Bakersfield City Council.

Mitchell suggested renaming the parkway in an email titled "Petition in Honor of Wendy Wayne," sent Wednesday afternoon to faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university.

Tandy disagreed.

"From a practical standpoint, the proposed name "CSU Bakersfield Alumna Wendy Wayne Memorial Parkway" is too long for highway signage, and the cost for a temporary change would be considerable," Tandy wrote, noting that the city "was not contacted or notified" beforehand.

The exact cost of changing the Westside Parkway's name on all its signage is not known, but Assistant to the City Manager Rhonda Smiley said it could be considerable.

"There's likely to be substantial cost involved if we have to replace the signs. That would add a layer of complexity if the name were longer," Smiley said, noting that "... we are making the assumption that it could be above $50,000."

Westside Parkway is a city-controlled freeway segment designed to be connected to Highway 58 when the much-debated Centennial Corridor link is built in between the two.

Before that happens, though, control of the parkway will be transferred to Caltrans and the parkway will be renamed "State Highway 58," Tandy said in the memo -- meaning that if the parkway is named after Wendy Wayne before its transfer to Caltrans, Wayne's name would be taken off the highway.

The transfer to Caltrans could happen in 2 1/2 to three years, the city manager said.

CSUB spokeswoman Colleen Dillaway said Mitchell spoke by telephone to Tandy on Thursday, but the university didn't reach out to him sooner because it was under the impression Caltrans already controlled the Westside Parkway -- and so it had contacted Caltrans.

"It was certainly an oversight on our part and we are working to correct it," Dillaway said.

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