Where the Streets Have New Names: 20 Houston Streets That Change Names

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If only it were that easy, but this is Houston.
It's tough enough to get around in Houston with traffic, accidents and the messy spider web of freeways. If you just moved here, you're probably having a difficult enough time figuring out the difference between the Southwest Freeway and U.S. 59 (hint: there is none, but more on that later) and then one day you are driving along minding your own business when the street you are on suddenly has a different name. You can't figure out what you did. You didn't turn. Don't feel bad. You're not crazy. The streets are.

That's because there are numerous major roads in our fair city that change names with no warning. Weird, right? Even those of us who have lived here for years are still surprised to find out we are lost thanks to a street that went from one name to another for seemingly no reason.

Now, before we get to this list, a couple notes:
This list does not include directional streets. So, while it may be weird that there is a North Shepherd and a South Shepherd or, worse yet, a variety of Main Streets around town, that's not what we're talking about. Also, this is not about divided roads. The fact that, for a stretch, North Shepherd splits into Shepherd (moving northbound) and Durham (going south) is unsettling, but not technically a name change.

Finally, there are nearly as many streets that end through a merge with another thoroughfare as there are ones that change names, but as confusing as it may be that 20th crosses North Main onto Cavalcade or Washington Avenue divides into three streets as it passes under I 45 into downtown, it just ends, it doesn't change.

Now, with that out of the way, let's do this.

East T.C. Jester Boulevard/Rosslyn Road

If this tree-lined winding road with a split into east and west at Ella Boulevard doesn't throw you, just wait until you get past the railroad tracks in Oak Forest, when it becomes Rosslyn Road (not to be confused with North Houston Rosslyn, which we'll see later in this list).

Heights Boulevard/Waugh Drive

This beautiful historic street through Houston's oldest neighborhood is easy to understand until you cross Washington Avenue and it suddenly becomes Waugh, which, incidentally, splits in half south of West Gray. You heard me.

Holcombe Boulevard/Bellaire Boulevard

Holcombe, which begins as a split-off from Old Spanish Trail near the Medical Center, changes to Bellaire west of Stella Link. Don't even get me started on the Bermuda Triangle formed by Bellaire, Bissonnet and South Rice.

Richmond Avenue/Wheeler Avenue

Richmond is one of several streets forced into a name change by the intersection of Main Street and the light rail. Mercifully, Wheeler dead-ends into the University of Houston.

Weslayan Street/Willowick Road

River Oaks, the home of old money and giant houses, has a way of changing things, street names included. In this case, Weslayan turns into Willowick as it enters the well-known subdivision north of Westheimer.

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38 comments
sydpolk
sydpolk

You forgot the most confusing:


If you start on Bissonet coming into the city, S. Braeswood splits out from it just past 69. S. Braeswood splits into N. Braeswood and S. Braeswood just past Bob White, and then becomes the feeder road for 610 East.


N. Braeswood then becomes S. Braeswood at the railroad tracks east of 610.


If you had kept going on Bissonet, Beechnut splits out of it. Then, at those same railroad tracks, it becomes N. Braeswood.


S. and N. Braeswood merge into S. Braeswood around Main, and then become S. McGregor at Holcomb, which ends at UH.


N. McGregor starts at Main (where Rice is) and lines the north side of the bayou opposite S. McGregor at UH.


My mother got so hopelessly lost in this mess when we first moved to Houston in 1974...

marmer
marmer

I know you gave the disclaimer that divided streets don't count, but the impact that the West Loop has on Braeswood can't be ignored.  When driving west from Southside Place/Braeswood Place:  Holcombe turns into Bellaire, as you mentioned, North Braeswood turns into Beechnut, and most confusing of all, South Braeswood turns into North Braeswood.   A new South Braeswood springs off of the bottom corner of the West Loop feeder road.  Then, past Hillcroft, North Braeswood combines with South Braeswood and continues with the South Braeswood name.   At the other end of Braeswood in the Med Center, Braeswood turns into MacGregor.

MichaelTMyers
MichaelTMyers

11th St. and Pecore. This may be a case like 20th and Cavalcade, in which they weren't originally the same street and were eventually expanded toward each other to meet at a not-perfectly-aligned point at the common cross street (in Pecore's case, Michaux). 


Curious: the westbound Metro bus route #40 is called "Pecore" despite traveling on that street for only 3 blocks between Watson and Michaux. 

mollusk
mollusk

For years Montrose Boulevard ended at Buffalo Bayou, and Studewood ended at White Oak Bayou.  The connector that eventually got built to hook them together just borrowed both names, hence Studemont.

Valerie181
Valerie181

Cavalcade/W. Cavalcade -- E. 20th/W. 20th

currentlyvince
currentlyvince

Just remembered this one while driving today: Harwin Drive -> Alief-Clodine Road

skquinn1
skquinn1

Clay/West 43rd changes names more times than listed. East of Shepherd, it becomes Crosstimbers/East Crosstimbers, then Weaver (briefly), then Ley Road, then Green River Drive for the last mile or so before unceremoniously petering out into some industrial property.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Forgot a couple like Kirby becomes Allen Parkway, or Shepherd becomes Veterans Memorial, and later Stuebner Airline. Oh and FM1960 is Cypress Creek Parkway or something nowadays.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

How about Richey>Winkler>Monroe out in the the SE side? (Side note here, it drives me batshit crazy when traffic reporters say Richey St when they mean to refer to Richey Road. They are not one and the same and are on opposite sides of town. )

I used to work on Renwick, very near the intersection with Westpark. No matter how many times I gave directions to delivery drivers, the concept of Fountainview changes names to Renwick once you hit Westpark seemed to cause nothing but confusion.

b0004
b0004

"Soon, 6th Street will finally connect Shepherd with Yale Street -- something [some] folks in the Heights have wanted for years"


I (as a Heights folk) have neither wanted a 6th street connection nor a north side feeder road (TxDOT, the gift that keeps on giving - like herpes).


for historical reasons … White Oak changes to Quitman because it crosses the Little White Oak Bayou.  Quitman does not change to Liberty, it is connected to it. The two both exist parallel to each other for several blocks on either side of the connection.

johnnybench
johnnybench topcommenter

Hirsch Rd -> Broyles St -> Altoona St -> Waco St. -> Hirsch Rd (redux?) -> N. York -> Scott St.

johnnybench
johnnybench topcommenter

Reveille/Telephone/and the N. Main of south Houston/Pearland. 

rich5371
rich5371

May not count since it may be officially going into Stafford, but we also have Wilcrest - Murphy aka FM 1092.

johnnybench
johnnybench topcommenter

Beechnut/North Braeswood/North MacGregor too.

Sylvia Lawler
Sylvia Lawler

There's also 20th/Cavalcade the weird N and S Braeswood switch.

currentlyvince
currentlyvince

Bammel North Houston -> North Houston Rosslyn -> Bingle -> Voss -> Hillcroft (eventually feeding Fort Bend Tollway) is another good one.



Caz1
Caz1

@mollusk  That's the most insight I've read off this website in years.  Thanks!

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@gossamersixteen  Yeah, I have the 1960 one on the list. Shepherd doesn't actually turn into Veterans. Shepherd merges with the freeway and you go left to get onto Veterans which, moving south, merges with the feeder road. All technicalities that don't make it any less confusing.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@Hanabi-chan  I looked at Richey (which by the way is Richey Street off 45 S and Richey ROAD off 45 N - ack), but one person pointed out to me that Richey and Monroe aren't technically the same road. Again with the technicalities. Good idea for sure.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@b0004  When I lived over off Shepherd and 11th, I always wanted that thing to cut through and I hated not having a feeder road. To each his own.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@johnnybench  Another good one. I think that Telepone technically merges with the Beltway, but still good pull.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@rich5371  Good one. I did not have that mentioned to me or see it myself, but a good add. Thanks.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@johnnybench  This was a tricky one I considered, but because Braeswood splits in half and connects to both Beechnut and Bissonnet, I decided against it. It is hella confusing though for sure.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Technically headed north on Shepherd there is a light before the freeway and the street veers slightly to the left but it easily could be taken for the same street. Let us not even try to tackle the logic behind TC Jester, that's truly a WTF were they thinking road.

Hanabi-chan
Hanabi-chan topcommenter

You are probably correct, but to me they are one continuous street.

Here's another possible addition to the list: Texas>Harrisburg>Broadway.

(Edited to add: Doesn't Memorial Drive turn into Texas Ave after I-45?)

dyww
dyww

@jeffbalke @currentlyvince  Love this post.  Actually, Bingle does not become Voss, it merges with a little side street called Voss.

currentlyvince
currentlyvince

@jeffbalke Whoa! I would swear that wasn't there the first time my browswer loaded the page! :) Then I'll just add that it's not unprecedented action to "fix" something like this. What was North MacGregor -> Cambridge Street -> Holt Street all got renamed to just Cambridge Street a few years ago.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

@gossamersixteen  Oh, agreed completely. The whole thing is totally bizarre. I drove Shepherd every day for like 20 years and I drive TC virtually every day now. I'm blessed I guess.

MichaelTMyers
MichaelTMyers

@dyww @jeffbalke @currentlyvince  True, Voss and Bingle run parallel to each other for a few blocks between I-10 and Westview. North of Westview Voss becomes Bracher St.

b0004
b0004

@jeffbalke there are costs associated to residences and (mostly) businesses that are on roads that change their name. (just something that is to be weighed before doing it)


not sure why my "comment as Twitter" account doesn't recognize my identity - @bshirley

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