At Wells And Wells: What Chicagoans Think About Changing Congress Parkway's Name

Steve Miller
July 25, 2018 - 3:49 pm
Tutto Italiano owner Val Dervishi

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Congress Parkway will be renamed Ida B. Wells Drive to honor the African-American journalist and anti-lynching crusader from Chicago. The City Council approved  the  name change this afternoon. 

WBBM Newsradio's Steve Miller headed to the intersection of Wells and Wells to see what Chicagoans had to say about the change.

Here's some of their reactions.

Cab driver Kasra Modabberi has been driving a taxi for six years.  He had not heard about the name change from Congress Parkway to Ida B. Wells Drive. But "Wells and Wells?"

Cab driver Kasra Modabberi at Wells and Wells
WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

"That would be very difficult for us to understand at first," he said.

"Is this because of construction by the Jane Byrne?  Is that why they want to change the name?  I'm not this is the first time I'm hearing about this so I really have no idea why," he said.

Other people at the intersections said that they  hadn't heard about the change, either.

"I grew up in Ida B. Wells [public housing>," one woman said.  "And this is my first hearing of Wells and Wells -- the new Wells and Wells."

"Catchy.  Sounds like a law firm," she added.

Right on the corner of what's becoming Wells Parkway and Wells Street is the restaurant Tutto Italiano, owned by Val Dervishi.

"We are recognized as a place on Congress and Wells. Been here for 25 years," Dervishi said. "Maybe a little nostalgic.It'll be a challenge at the beginning, until maps, Google Maps changes.  We'll see how it goes."

But, he said, he liked the idea of referring to it as "Wells Squared."

Very near the corner is O'Neil's on Wells, where  Joe O'Neil is the owner.

"I think this is going to be especially challenging because it's the corner of Wells and Wells.  As you try to give people directions, it's going to be a little more work.  Maybe I'll get a couple of street signs for the place: Wells and Wells."

Some people passing by, such as Tangela Moore, said Chicago doesn't really need to honor Congress.

"Not at all.  Congress has enough.  Let Ida have her street."