NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - New Brunswick has officially changed the name of Commerical Avenue to Paul Robeson to celebrate one of its most famous native sons.

It might be several more months, however, before the signs on Route 18 reflect the name change.

Mairin Bellack, the New Jersey Department of Transportation's acting director of communications, said it could be up to six months before four of the overhead signs on Route 18 are changed.

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Two other signs on Route 18 will be replaced within about a month, Bellack said. That includes one at the intersection of Neilson Street and formerly Commercial Avenue and one at George Street and formerly Commercial Avenue.

The four overhead signs - including two each on the northbound and southbound sides - will take longer because "the installation is a little more complicated," Bellack told TAPinto New Brunswick.

The city recently posted a reminder on its website that residents, businesses and houses of worship located on Paul Robeson Boulevard should begin the process of changing their addresses.

As of June 1, 2019, Paul Robeson Boulevard residents have 18 months to inform all agencies and businesses that have your address on file and let them know of the change.  

All addresses on the street will see a change in the street name, but the numerical part of the address will stay the same. For example, 1 Commercial Ave. will now be 1 Paul Robeson Boulevard.

To change an address with the U.S. Postal Service, residents may visit any Post Office location and request a copy of PS Form 3575.

New Brunswick has two Post Office locations, at 86 Bayard St. and 333 Handy St. The Postal Service also has an online form for residents to utilize for address changes. It is available at

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was widely considered to be a man ahead of his time and lived an accomplished life rich in culture, politics, education and activism.

He was the third African-American student to enroll at Rutgers, and while there, was a star pupil and athlete that graduated as Valedictorian of the Class of 1919. In the years that followed, Robeson went on to achieve great fame in music, acting and culture and was a champion for social justice and a respected figure in contemporary American history.