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FAMU Way To Get Intersection On Monroe Street

A downtown Tallahassee street named for Florida A&M University, FAMU Way, has been extended to intersect with one of the city’s busiest roads. The Tallahassee City Commission approved the renaming of one city block on Wednesday at the urging of a local civil rights leader.

Dr. Charles U. Smith was a sociology professor for 36 years and FAMU’s Dean of Graduate Studies for the last half of his career. His academic research and political advocacy outside the classroom both centered on racial equality. On Wedenesday, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum thanked Smith for his contributions going back to the 1950's.

“We’ve had you before, scolding us, this Commission, when you felt we haven’t done right. And I think the community’s been the bigger and better benefactor of your work, so thank you very much for your effort here," Gillum said.

Ten years ago, Smith led the effort to rename Canal Street, adjacent to the FAMU campus, to FAMU Way, in recognition of the historically black university. But FAMU Way stops one block short of intersecting with one of the city’s main roads, Monroe Street. That last block, between Adams and Monroe, is called Oakland Avenue.

Smith says, drivers on Monroe might not even know they’re passing the university, and it deserves more recognition than that.

“It’s the idea that a university is different from a college. It’s different from a high school," he says. "It’s a place where thinking goes on, study, research, publications, writing, public service.”

City spokeswoman Michelle Bono says the street sign at the intersection should be changed within a week. And the city’s plans for FAMU Way don’t stop there. Over the next few years, it plans to extend it westward all the way to Lake Bradford Road. 

“We’ll have a continuous alignment all the way from Monroe to Lake Bradford that will be named FAMU Way," she says.

City planners are also working on a proposal to develop the new Monroe Street-FAMU Way intersection into a so-called “gateway” to the school campus.