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No street signs yet, but Google already has put Ida B. Wells Drive on the map

Map showing newly renamed Ida B. Wells Drive

Less than a week after the name change was approved by the Chicago City Council, Google Maps already was showing parts of Congress Parkway with its new name, Ida B. Wells Drive — though the old name remained on other parts of the map. | Google Maps screenshot

Though the city’s street signs will need more time to catch up, Google Maps has already swapped out a section of Congress Parkway to reflect its new name: Ida B. Wells Drive.

The Chicago City Council voted last week to rename Congress Parkway. The effort was spearheaded by Ald. Sophia King (4th) and Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who called it “a legacy that each of us can leave to the future generations of Chicago.”

Though the change doesn’t officially take effect for 30 days after Sept. 20, when the ordinance is scheduled to be published, that didn’t stop Google. Still, the online know-it-all didn’t get it entirely right; it still has portions of the road remaining “Congress Parkway,” while the stretch from Buckingham Fountain to State Street bears the new name, bestowed by aldermen in a compromise move.

Ida B. Wells Drive lies two blocks north of Balbo Drive, named for Italian air marshal Italo Balbo — whom Italian Chicagoans staunchly defended during discussions about stripping his name from the street.

Balbo Drive had been one possibility to be renamed in honor of Wells, an anti-lynching crusader and civil rights activist who died in Chicago in 1931.