Editorial: Revote on highway name

Whidbey Island Scenic Isleway? That’s the best they could come up with after 18 months of meetings?

This is the new name for highways 20 and 525 which run down the spine of Whidbey Island, as recommended in a document called the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way Corridor Management Plan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound right.

Nobody says “isle” when they mean “island,” except poor poets looking for a rhyme for “while.” Isle conjures up thoughts of the contraction for “I will,” and isleway makes us think of the space between rows of canned items at Safeway. There’s nothing scenic about an aisleway of soup cans.

Perhaps this is just petulance as our lyrical and descriptive recommendation of “Whidbey Island Rhododendron Highway” was not adopted, but we demand a revote. The Internet would be a good place for such a vote. Post whatever finalist highway names the committee considered and let the public decide. We’re betting Scenic Isleway will lose by a landslide to Rhododendron Highway.

Naming issues aside, the committee produced an impressive document citing the highway’s scenic value to the community, state and nation, and makes sensible recommendations for highway improvements and minor protective measures. It is admittedly toothless, however. We’ll continue to enjoy Whidbey Island’s scenery only until it pays to develop the property we’re looking at. But at least the document will serve its purpose of attracting more state and federal highway dollars to Whidbey Island.

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