It’s been nearly a year since Mayor Rahm Emanuel put the brakes on his controversial plan to permanently rename Stony Island Avenue for the late Bishop Arthur Brazier in response to a barrage of complaints about the cost and inconvenience to local merchants and residents.
Why, then, does the map application on Apple iPhones display the main drag that cuts through the heart of Chicago’s South Side as Bishop Arthur Brazier Avenue?
That’s what African-American aldermen want to know.
“It never came before the City Council. It should never have been changed,” said Transportation Committee Chairman Anthony Beale (9th), who had the matter yanked from his agenda nearly a year ago amid complaints about the cost and inconvenience to local merchants and residents.
“Somebody at Apple Maps put the cart before the horse. We’ll get that straightened out as soon as possible.”
Peter Scales, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said Monday he was equally surprised after punching in Stony Island Avenueon the Maps application that came with his iPhone.
“This appears to be an issue with the Apple map application. . . .We don’t know why the incorrect name is listed on the Apple map, as CDOT did not request a change be made,” Scales said.
“On the app, one can report a problem to Apple and make a request for a correction of a street name on their maps. We have reached out to Apple . . .to correct the error.”
Last year, Emanuel proposed permanently renaming Stony Island Avenuefrom 56thStreet to 130thto honor the renowned religious and civil rights leader who forced the resignation of a schools superintendent and wielded enough clout to tear down the 63rdStreet L.
Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, the mega-church that his father built at 6320 S. Dorchester, proudly proclaimed it Chicago’s first major street renaming since the late 1970s, when King Drive was renamed for the slain civil rights leader.
The younger Brazier, who co-chaired Emanuel’s transition team, called it fitting, considering the fact that his father helped bring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Chicago in 1966.
Neither the mayor nor the younger Brazier anticipated the outpouring of anger that the street renaming would provoke.
Beale questioned whether the Emanuel administration had enough sign-hangers to do the job at a time when there was a huge backlog of sign-hanging requests.
Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) said she was inundated with complaints about the street renaming, some of them from parishioners at the Apostolic Church of God.
“I respect what the mayor was attempting to do, but there has been quite a bit of pushback,” Austin said, noting that local businesses were blind-sided by Emanuel’s decision.
At the time, Emanuel was asked whether he was trying to use the street renaming to shore up his declining support among African-American voters, who helped put him in office.
“If you didn’t do it, somebody would say you’re slighting somebody. If you do do it, you’re saying it’s political. I’ll leave that to the cynics,” the mayor said then.
“My hope is that people around the city take note of somebody who’s changed our city — changed it for the better. Made us live up to our values. Challenged us when we needed to be challenged. Asked us to be better — [and asked], what are we about and who are we?”