A 1.5-mile section of city road will soon have a fourth moniker with a name change unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Board following a June 16 public hearing.
The board agreed to change the name of the 0.5-mile long portion of Bic Drive, which extends from Rowe Avenue, just north of I-95, to Naugatuck Avenue. The new name will be Sub Way, following a request filed by the Subway Corporation, which has its world headquarters along this stretch of road at 325 Bic Drive.
The Bic Drive name will remain for the 0.5-mile stretch of the road from Naugatuck Avenue to Oronoque Road, where Bic Corporation has a scaled back operation, having moved its U.S. headquarters to Shelton in 2008. The French-owned company continues to manufacture lighters at 565 Bic Drive.
Beyond Oronoque Road is the 0.1-mile long Caswell Street, leading to Caswell Cove Marina, the Housatonic Treatment Plant, and The Point, the city park along the Housatonic River. South of Rowe Avenue, School House Road links I-95 to Rt. 1.
Michele DiNello, director of corporate communications for Subway, said the request is in honor of the company's 50th anniversary, which is happening in 2015.
“Our 900 employees request this change,” DiNello told the board.
DiNello said she met with representatives from Bic Corporation and the state Department of Transportation regarding the change. She said Bic officials asked that the name Bic Drive remain on the Exit 35 sign along I-95. The new sign would add the name Sub Way to the existing Schoolhouse Road and Bic Drive.
Speaking on behalf of Bic Corporation was Steve Burkhart, general counsel.
“We would enjoy sharing the name with Subway,” said Burkhart. “It is important that the Bic Drive name remain on the I-95 sign. We are very happy to have Subway join us on the road name and the I-95 sign.”
DiNello said she met with other businesses along this stretch of Bic Drive and said that Subway would pay for the costs related to the name change, such as updating letterhead and signs. She said she also discussed the name change with the post office. In response to board members’ questions, DiNello said she did not have anything in writing from other businesses and that none were opposed.
“There were some inquiries about the timing,” DiNello said.
City Planner David B. Sulkis told the board members that they did not need an opinion from the police or fire departments about name change.
“The ability to name a street falls solely with this board,” said Sulkis.
Board vice chair Jeanne Cervin said, “I'm thinking about the small guys in relation to the big guys on the street. I think it's important to have responses from them in our record. I think I it would be helpful to have police responses as well.”
In response, board chairman Benjamin Gettinger said, “It's an honor we should bestow on Subway to give them a name change. We are not asking them to move a mountain. Bic is in favor. I don't think it gets any stronger than that. They [Subway] have done a litany of positive things for the community.”
Board vice chair Edward Mead said that since the P&Z did not have any correspondence from businesses, “They must be in agreement.” Mead said there is no problem if Subway is paying for the name change.
Cervin made an amendment to approve the name change with the stipulation that other companies on Bic Drive agree to the change. The motion for the amendment failed with only Cervin voting in favor of it. The board returned to the original motion to change the name and that motion passed unanimously.
In an email on June 17, DiNello indicated that Subway would pay for the city and state costs of changing road signs. She did not have a specific timeline for when the name change would take effect, saying the city has to send the permits to the DOT.
“We are hoping to get everything done to coincide with our anniversary, which is Aug. 28th,” DiNello wrote.