A Road By Any Other Name Would Be . . .

A street? What about an avenue, or a boulevard – a court, a drive, a lane, or a trail? Who decides what kind of “road” it is?

As it turns out, there are rules that are (mostly) followed. I asked my transportation expert friend, Frank Consoli, for advice. Here is his response. “A ‘road’ is anything that connects two points, while ‘streets’ are public ways which have buildings on either side. Avenues, meanwhile, have the same attributes as streets but run perpendicular to them, while a boulevard is essentially a wide street (or avenue), with a median through the middle.” He mentioned that there are national standards, but that local jurisdictions may have some leeway when it comes to these designations.

But one concern that Frank mentioned is something I had not considered. The emergency responders need to know how to find your house! That’s the main reason municipalities and counties try to avoid duplicate names. So there could be a Maple Avenue and a Maple Street, but only one of each. At least, that’s the goal. And adding directions to the names doesn’t help with clarity. I always have to pause when I hear my GPS’ voice tell me to turn South on North Orange Avenue. . .

7 thoughts on “A Road By Any Other Name Would Be . . .”

  1. Ha… I live on Michigan Blvd and it does not have a wide street (or avenue), with a median through the middle. 😊

  2. Even worse is when they change the name of the street you are traveling on …..
    When I lived in Michigan to get from my house to my parent’s house I drove from Commerce to Commerce to Commerce to Commerce because of their being so many lakes…. Try telling someone directions without GPS !!
    By the way what did you friend tell you a trail way – I live on a trail

  3. My “street” does not end in any of those. I live on a “Pointe” which is a very curvy road. Who knew? Excellent information, though. I never knew why they picked certain terms for road names.

    Miami drives me crazy with all the numbered streets, courts, terraces, avenues, and whatnot that intersect. St. Petersburg is like that as well. I know there is a pattern and it is organized, but it still drives me crazy.

    In Tampa, roads sometimes dead end at highways or the airport and then pick up again on the other side. You may think you can get to an address on a particular road by just getting on it anywhere and then you run into a dead end. You then have to turn around and figure out how to go around the obstacle to get to your destination. I never ran into this issue in the northeast – only in Florida!

    Thank you, as always, for the excellent post!

  4. Great comments!
    Susan, is there a Michigan Street or Avenue in your area? Maybe the last subdivision developer gets stuck with whatever road names have not been taken? 😒
    Sue and Laura, I’m going to do more digging on the possibilities Frank did not discuss, including Trail and Pointe.
    Your comments reminded me that I grew up on a Way and now live on a Lane. I wonder how many options there are?

  5. Fascinating! I live on “Terrace Boulevard”, which is not really a terrace and doesn’t meet the above standard for a boulevard. When I am saying it to people over the phone, I just always say, “Terrace Boulevard” as in “Street Street”. I am not sure they always think it is as funny as I do, but I persist.

    • “Street Street” is a hoot! And thank you for your comment because my next post will ask about a different way to use “terrace.” Until then!


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