Berkeley wants help renaming portion of Shattuck Avenue

The City of Berkeley wants help renaming a portion of Shattuck Avenue, the old eastern leg.

A stretch of the road, between Center Street and University Avenue, was recently converted into a two-way street to improve the flow of traffic and create a safer environment for pedestrians. 

That two-block section of Shattuck is taking on a new identity after the conversion and is in need of its own name. 

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The city asked community members for name suggestions that reflected Berkeley's history and culture and narrowed the list down to six finalists: Kala Bagai, Maggie Gee, William Bryon Rumford, Anna Saylor, Sitha Vemireddy and Ohlone. 

Residents can offer their input through an online survey through Feb. 26. 

The results will be shared with the City Council when they choose the final name at their March 24 meeting.

More on the six finalists: 

Kala Bagai, who earned the nickname "Mother India" for her pioneering work overcoming institutional and community racism to organize California's South Asian immigrants. Bagai and her husband bought a home in Berkeley after moving to the US in 1915, but were physically barred from moving in by white neighbors.

Maggie Gee, a UC Berkeley educated physicist who trained male pilots for combat and ferried military aircraft during World War II as part of the women's civilian air force. She was one of only two Chinese American women to serve in the organization, and later received the Congressional Gold Medal for her service.

William Byron Rumford, a Berkeley pharmacist and activist who represented Berkeley in the California State Assembly from 1948 to 1966. Rumford is best known for passing the California Fair Employment Practices Act and the Fair Housing Act, which outlawed discrimination in hiring and housing.

Anna Saylor, a Berkeley librarian and suffragist. In 1918, seven years after California women won the right to vote, Saylor became one of the first four women elected to the California state legislature. As an Assemblymember, she successfully abolished the death penalty for minors and established psychiatric clinics in state prisons. 

Sitha Vemireddy, a teen who died after being smuggled into the US by a major Berkeley landlord. Her death sparked a federal investigation that ultimately exposed a large human trafficking operation, with help from reporting by the Berkeley High Jacket.

Ohlone, or another indigenous name identified after consultation with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, an indigenous tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area and other indigenous native peoples.