Why Are Roads Called Street, Road, Avenue, Etc.?

Real Estate Agent with Samsel & Associates 0790808

Many street names are decided upon deep within city hall, but how do they come up with what type of street it will be?

According to an article recently posted on mental_floss here's the reasoning behind the nomenclature.

Traditionally a road runs between 2 points (think town to town or county to county) while a street is traditionally a paved road with houses, buildings, trees and shrubbery within a town.

Here are the definitions for some other types of street names.

Avenue - Avenues are usually straight roads lined with trees or bushes.  The idea is to emphasize arriving at a feature within the town.

Boulevard - Boulevards are similar to Avenues, but are usually muti-laned, featuring a median and landscaping. Usually sidewalks are on either side.  Houses or other structures are normally found there as well.

Court - A court is typically a short street ending in a dead end or a cul-de-sac.

Drive - This "street" term is usually short for driveway or it can be a private road.  Some Drives refer to roads that are not very straight, but may be scenic.

Expressway - These are divided highways where traffic moves at a high rate of speed.

Freeway - Similar to an expressway, but intersections are usually overpasses and underpasses.

Highway - These are typically main roads used to travel between cities and towns.

Lane - Narrow street, usually without a shoulder.

Terrace - This is a street that usually has varying elevations or hills.

Way - Typically a Way is a minor street off of a main road.


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~ Wayne & Jean 

Union County, NJ - a great place to live and work!

If you're looking to buy or sell a property in Union County, call us at 908-917-4189 or email TeamZuhl@gmail.com.


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Evelyn Johnston 03/18/2015 12:22 PM
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Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Interesting - I feel like I knew this when I lived in NJ, but we don't have quite the number of  options in NE FL!

Mar 18, 2015 11:18 AM #3
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

Thanks for all the great trivia on how streets and roads are named.

Mar 18, 2015 12:04 PM #4
S. Leanne Paynter ☼ Broward County, FL
United Realty Group, Inc. - Davie, FL
Davie, Plantation, Cooper City & Weston Specialist

Interesting descriptions.  A bit of trivia someone once told me is that a good way to remember which roads go north/south is to remember the acronym "TWA"... Terrace, Way, Avenue.

Mar 18, 2015 12:13 PM #5
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This was just great guys!  Late last night as I was trying to go to sleep the questions popped in my mind as to how street names are choosen.  This is related and appreciated.  I love it!

Mar 18, 2015 12:20 PM #6
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Wayne and Jean - I hope that the people who name all of these are following this manual.  Very interesting.

Mar 18, 2015 12:26 PM #7
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl 

This was fascinating. I have often wondered why they use these different words. Out here ALL big roads are freeways - highways was used for the major roads back East. As far as lesser roadways, we also have a large number of Spanish words that are used, which gets even more complicated.


Mar 18, 2015 01:32 PM #8
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Wayne and Jean - This is very interesting information. I actually knew about some of these, but others were a real mystery until I read this post.

Mar 18, 2015 02:02 PM #9
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Thanks for sharing this street trivia.  I will look at things differently now.

Mar 18, 2015 02:27 PM #10
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl - interesting definitions of why some of them are road and some avenue or street! Like it!

Mar 18, 2015 03:15 PM #11
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great post Wayne and Jean, very interesting, some of those responsible for naming things have followed these rules well and others should really read this blog post.

Mar 18, 2015 04:43 PM #12
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, I had no clue. Thank you for the education this morning.

Mar 18, 2015 06:23 PM #13
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Hi Wayne and Jean.  Great post and something that all of us should know, though as the years pass some of these street designations have lost their meaning.

Mar 18, 2015 09:00 PM #14
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Wayne and Marie. Good post. I never knew any of this.

Mar 19, 2015 12:48 AM #15
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I love this discussion and had no clues about most of it. Thanks, perhaps it will make my directional antennae more accurate too. Ha. 

Mar 19, 2015 02:08 AM #16
Barbara Filan

Thank you for sharing! I loved this. 

Mar 19, 2015 03:32 AM #17
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I live on a Lane and we have a side walk....isn't that a shoulder?  Very interesting either way!

Mar 19, 2015 03:49 AM #18
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Love your post and it has inspired me to write one myself. I named streets in 4 neighborhoods in my town and will share how I went about it.

Mar 19, 2015 11:23 PM #19
Robert Bob Gilbert
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties - Katy, TX
Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert

Hi Folks, I am happy yopu posted this blog as i always wondered why in many cases one was a road and another a street, etc.. Thanks for the helpful info.. 

Mar 20, 2015 07:00 AM #20
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

This was pretty cool.  I'm working my way through Zillow Talk, and I know they have a section (or a few pages) on how the name of the streets impact pricing.

Face it, would you think you'd rather live on Blueberry Blvd or on Blueberry Court?  Likely the latter.

As I was going through your list .... I live on "Place", and we didn't make your list.

Mar 20, 2015 03:03 PM #21
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

what a super learning curve for us in the business! another morsel to share with buyers and sellers!

Mar 22, 2015 12:29 PM #22
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