AUSTIN, Texas – Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner has made headlines worldwide this week.
But here in Austin, the transition has caused some residents to scratch their heads and wonder: What will happen to South Austin’s Bruce Jenner Lane?
The 0.3-mile-long street named after the Olympic champion is in a subdivision called Olympic Heights, where all the streets are named after former U.S. Olympians.
Until recently, the biggest attention it had gotten was from pizza and package deliverers double-checking that orders to that street, named after someone most recently known as the stepfather on the reality TV show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” weren’t crank calls.
But now, neighbors and Austin residents wonder whether Bruce’s transition to Caitlyn will bring a change to their street name.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Rick Juarez, a resident of the street, said as he mowed the lawn in his front yard. “I’ve just seen what’s in the tabloids.”
To change the name, at least 50 percent of all landowners abutting the street would have to sign a petition and get the approval of the City Council. The neighborhood would also have to pay a $415 nonrefundable application fee as well as the costs of changing the street signs to reflect the new name.
As of now, the Olympic Heights Homeowners Association is not pursuing a name change. But if the City Council and community residents wanted it changed, the board would not be opposed, the association said in a statement.
Residents have mixed feelings. Some say the neighborhood should retain the name under which Jenner won Olympic awards in track and field in the 1970s. Others say they welcome a name change.
And some neighbors are looking at the debate from a practical standpoint.
Tara Valeriano said she doesn’t have a problem with Jenner’s sex change but added that she’d like the street name to stay for the sake of convenience.
“I don’t have a problem with what he’s doing. Everyone should be able to live their life,” she said. “But I order everything on eBay and Amazon, so I’m like, just leave it.”
Valeriano said neighbors hadn’t even thought of the issue until a recent local TV report. Before that, it had mostly been visitors and her baby sitter joking that the street would soon be changed to Caitlyn Jenner Lane.
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