Mar 20, 2024 - News

Des Moines' confusing road with 3 names

Thomas Beck Road’s name changes
Map: Axios Visuals

"Can someone explain why Bell Avenue disappears into Thomas Beck Road and then Thomas Beck becomes Indianola Road?" — Ted Stephens, Cumming

Context: Stephens' question was prompted by our Thomas Beck Road diet story.

  • The name changes occur along a 1.5-mile stretch of one of the southside's busiest east/west connections.

What they're saying: DSM engineering staff believe the names came about as new bridges and street extensions were constructed, city spokesperson Devin Perry told Axios.

Flashback: That area was near the southern city limits, according to a 1953 DSM Register article about a public hearing to reset street lines.

  • Thomas Beck Road's extension from Southwest 9th Street to Bell Avenue was being planned at that time.

State of play: Today, a separate section of Bell Avenue starts at Druid Hill Drive and dead ends a few blocks east.

  • Meanwhile, Indianola Road is only about five blocks long — connecting Thomas Beck to the intersection of SE 1st Street and Indianola Avenue.

The intrigue: Yet another street name will likely be introduced in coming years as part of the George Flagg Parkway realignment, Perry said.

Our thought bubble: The realignment project is a good opportunity for city officials to review the street names.

  • That idea has not yet been discussed, Perry said.
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