Proposal Floated to Change the Name of Another Major San Antonio Street

First it was changing the name of Durango Blvd to Cesar Chavez.  Then Old Highway 90 West was changed to Enrique Barerra Parkway.  Now a proposal is being floated to change a name of another major San Antonio street to honor a civil rights pioneer, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Several groups will petition City Hall to change the name of Frio Street to 'Judge Albert Pena Blvd.'

Pena, who died in 2006, was a groundbreaking civil rights attorney, and was among the founders of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Judge Pena also served four terms on Bexar County Commissioners Court as the first Mexican American to be elected to the Court, representing Precinct One.

Gabriel Valasquez, the executive director of the Avenida Guadalupe Association, who is among those championing the name change, says Judge Pena's accomplishments go beyond that, and include desegregating Texas schools and eliminating the poll tax in Texas.

Pena was also a controversial figure, leading the effort to free imprisoned Black Activist and admitted Communist Angela Davis.  

Pena was also the first attorney in Texas to file a civil rights case on behalf of a Mexican American claiming discrimination.

Pena once said of his long career: “People may have agreed with me or disagreed — hated me or loved me — but they always knew where I stood."

Pena was also a leader in the effort against the Vietnam War, was a founder of the La Raza poitical party, and was also an advocate for labor union rights.

Frio Street is a major north south street that runs just west of downtown.  It is the street that the downtown campus of UTSA, as well as several prominent near west side businesses.

After the Durango and Old Highway 90 name changes, City Council raised the bar for changing the names of streets.  The major problem is that so many people seek out retailers and businesses by using GPS systems, and many GPS systems do not immediately change the name of streets.S

everal businesses along the former Old Highway 90 West complained that their customers fell off dramatically after the name change, because they were told 'Enrique Barerra Parkway' did not exist, and did not show up on the GPS systems.

There is no time table for presenting the name change at City Hall.

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