Suggestions, please: Loudoun Co. seeks new names for Routes 7 and 50

Loudoun County is asking the public to offer suggestions on new names for U.S. 7 and U.S. 50, after the decision to rename the Virginia commuter routes. One is named for a segregationist governor and senator, and the other for a Confederate general.

Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors last year voted to change the name of U.S. 50, currently John Mosby Highway. Mosby was a Confederate general. U.S. 7 is named for former Gov. Harry Byrd, who fought desegregation of Virginia’s schools.

Suggestions will be accepted through July 30, using a two-step process.

Before submitting a proposed name, the suggestion should be run through the county’s Street Name Availability Tool.

If the name meets the standards of the availability tool, it can be submitted for consideration, in the Renaming Route 7 and Route 50 Submission Form.

According to Loudoun County’s guidelines: “The names should be appropriate to Loudoun County and Northern Virginia history and culture; reflect the natural or cultural geography of Loudoun County; are not already used or sound like another street in Loudoun County; and are considerate, sensitive, and respectful to all Loudoun County residents.”

U.S. 50 has been known as John Mosby Highway
U.S. 50 has been known as John Mosby Highway in Loudoun County. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

The county’s renaming task force is still debating whether to consider renaming the roads for specific people, to avoid the possibility of future renaming.

The task force will present a list of 10 names for each roadway to the Board of Supervisors for approval, and then the public will rank the short list of names in order of preference. The board is expected to approve the new names in December 2021.

The county will submit the new names to the Virginia Department of Transportation and Commonwealth Transportation Board for final approval.

Simultaneously, the board is reviewing next steps for changing other names of roads and facilities for their Confederate and segregationist connections.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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