Naming Policies for Public Facilities and Streets
This page provides a basic overview of naming policies for local streets and facilities in Washington State, including relevant regulations and examples of local policies and ordinances.
Having a street naming policy based on a set of criteria can prevent conflict within a community. Some street naming policies also include addressing systems and requirements to display addresses. It can provide a historical context for future generations in your community, especially if the name was intended as a tribute to someone from the community's past. Some jurisdictions provide honorary street names but retain the official street name.
- Bainbridge Island Public Property Names and Name Changes Policy (2023) – Covers municipally owned property such as buildings, structures, parks, and some rights-of-way. Does not cover properties on historic registers.
- Sumner Resolution No. 1035 (2001) – Sets procedures for naming parks and other facilities
- Tacoma Resolution No. 41009 (2022) – Adopts revised official Policy on Place Names and Name Changes. Includes section on street naming alternatives for the commemoration of individuals or organizations
- Tukwila Resolution No. 2052 (2022) – Adopts a policy for naming or renaming city-owned property including parks, facilities, buildings, and streets, including honorary street designations
- Yelm Municipal Code Ch. 12.22 – Establishes criteria for choosing names for public parks, pubic facilities and/ or streets
- Bothell Resolution No. 1258 (2010) – Establishes policies and procedures for the naming of public parks and parks and recreation facilities
- Olympia Municipal Code Ch. 12.62 – Establishes naming criteria and procedures for city-owned public buildings, properties, parks and park facilities
- Municipal Code Ch. 18.08 – Provides park naming procedures, including parks and park related facilities. Establishes creation of Naming Committee.
- Parks & Recreation Department Naming Policy & Procedure (2009)
- Spokane Parks and Recreation Policy and Procedure (2011) – Includes sponsorships, donations, naming recognition of parks and recreation areas or facilities
- Snohomish County Ordinance No. 09-109 (2009) – Establishes procedures for naming county parks and recreation facilities
- Walla Walla Municipal Code Ch. 2.44 – Provides procedures and establishes that a name should be selected with the intention that it will be permanent, and changes should be strongly resisted
- International Fire Code (2009) - Below are excerpts from Section 505, Premises Identification:
- Sec. 505.1 Address Identification. New and existing buildings shall have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabic numerals or alphabet letters. Numbers shall be a minimum of 4 inches (101.6 mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 0.5 inch (12.7 mm). Where access is by means of a private road and the building cannot be viewed from the public way, a monument, pole or other sign or means shall be used to identify the structure.
- Sec. 505.2 Street or road signs. Streets and roads shall be identified with approved signs. Temporary signs shall be installed at each street intersection when construction of new roadways allows passage by vehicles. Signs shall be of an approved size, weather resistant and be maintained until replaced by permanent signs.
- Washington State Department of Transportation: Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices – Contains regulations for the placement of street name signs and memorials, including links to MUTCD and WAC amendments
- Chapter 2D. Guide Signs - Conventional Roads – See Sec. 2D.43 Street Name Signs (D3-1 or D3-1a)
- Chapter 2M. Recreational and Cultural Interest Area Signs – See Sec. 2M.10 Memorial or Dedication Signing
Codes and Policies
- Bainbridge Island Municipal Code Ch. 12.16 – Establishes the authority to assign road names and numbers, and address structures; maintains existing road names and numbers and provides a method for assigning new names and numbers. Requires display of address.
- Des Moines Municipal Code Ch. 12.50 – Sets street names and building addresses requirements
- Lacey Municipal Code Ch. 12.04 and Ch. 12.05 – Offers uniform street naming and house numbering policy, requiring display of address, along with street name adoption process
- Ocean Shores Municipal Code Ch. 12.16 – Provides requirements for street names and house and building numbers. Requires display of address.
- Richland Municipal Code Ch. 12.01 – Sets a uniform and standardized system of street naming and addressing. See Sec. 12.01.080 for street naming policy.
- SeaTac Municipal Code Ch. 11.40 – Offers procedures for designation of street names and numbres. See Sec. 11.40.070 for council designation or redesignation of streets
- Walla Walla Municipal Code Ch. 12.64.030 – Provides street name review requirements
- Woodinville Municipal Code Ch. 12.15 – Procedure for assigning names to city streets. See Sec. 12.15.060 for council redesignation of streets
- Jefferson County Addressing policy (2007) – Establishes administrative procedures and requirements for road naming
- Spokane Municipal Code Ch.17D.050A – Provides roadway naming and addressing policy. See Sec. 17D.050.110 for change in roadway or address status
- Whatcom County Code Ch. 12.60 – Establishes road naming system. See Sec. 12.60.060 for criteria for road name selection
Informational Handouts and Forms
- Bellingham Addressing and Street Names – Contains application for address request and street names
- King County Permitting Division: Street Addresses and Road Names (2020) – Informational Handout describing policy and providing additional resources
- Spokane Planning Department Street Name Change Application Form (2018)
Honorary street names allow citizens the opportunity to honor people who have made significant contributions to the community. MRSC has many examples of street naming policies, but none contain policies for honorary street naming. Below are a few policy examples found outside Washington.
- Denver (CO) Deparment of Public Works Entrance Requirements for Honorary & Official Street Renaming (2005) – Summarizes the key issues related to renaming a street, whether an honorary or official street renaming.
- Peoria (IL) Honorary Street Signs – Program is administered by the Public Works Department. Street names are displayed for a one year period. The sign will then be turned over to the respected party. Street designations will be determined on a case by case basis. The portion of a street so designated is one block long.
- Tulsa (OK) Honorary Street Name Sign Policy (2015)