Friday, August 17, 2012

Names of Utah Streets

I've been giving the names of streets in my blog, and I thought I'd explain the names. Utah has a unique way of naming streets, and the names are confusing to people who don't know the "system" of naming streets.

Consider the address of 1986 South 2700 East in Salt Lake City. The address tells how far the house or business is from the Mormon temple in downtown Salt Lake City. Specifically, the address is relative to the intersection of South Temple street and Main Street, which corresponds to the southeast corner of the temple. The house or business having the address given above is 19.88 blocks south and 27.00 blocks east of the temple. Each block is divided into 100 sections, so the building number of 1988 represents 19.88 blocks. The first number and the first direction (1988 South) give the position of the building within the block. The direction could be North, South, East, or West. This use of a direction number/name is common to probably all addresses throughout the US. However, the second direction number/name (2700 East) is also relative to the distance from the temple but is also the NAME of the street. Thus, 1986 South 2700 East means the building is located 19.86 blocks south of the temple on a street named 2700 East, and that street is 27 blocks east of the temple.

To help people avoid confusion about street addresses, I usually write an address with the first direction abbreviated and the second direction spelled out (1986 S. 2700 East in this example). This converts the address to the more common "style" of a location on a street. Newer addresses, though, usually have a name of the street that is not a number and direction, such as 2305 North Valley View Way. The first number still tells the distance from the temple (23.05 blocks north of the temple) and the second part of the address is the street containing the building. In order to use the address, one needs to know the location of the street (Valley View Way). I prefer the traditional system of addresses (2305 North 5600 West) because I understand the system and know the building is 23.05 blocks north and 36.00 blocks west of the temple).

In my blog posts, I'm referring to streets name that don't look like street names: 100th South (10000 South), 11400 South, 123rd South (12300 South). These streets are named after the traditional Utah system. 100th South is 100 blocks south of the temple.

With the advent of GPS, one can just enter the address, what ever it might be, and the GPS gives exact directions to reach the building. I used my automobile GPS last evening to find a wedding reception of a relative.

If this post isn't clear, please leave a comment, and I'll try to explain it more clearly.

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