Why Are Streets Named "Crescent" and "Lane" and Stuff? - 3/7/06
It was another one of those trivial questions. How come some streets are named "Street", whereas others are "Road" or "Avenue", or even "Court" or "Terrace". I was kinda hoping a little Googling would lead me to a logical and fascinating answer, like that "Streets" are always made of concrete, or that anything narrowing than 13.5 feet is always considered an "Alley". Or at least an interesting historical journey like my quandary about the origins of month names.

The answer was disappointing. Of the explanations I found, most were not that interesting, and I guess some things are just named that way for random reasons. Nevertheless, it's my duty to pass on the 411. And to bring back the term "411". So here you go:

MAJOR ROADS:

  • Road
  • Street (typically used in urban contexts)
  • Avenue
  • Boulevard (often wide, multi-lane and directionally divided, with above average appearance in terms of landscaping and scenery)
MINOR ROADS:
  • Bay
  • Drive
  • Gardens
  • Gate
  • Grove
  • Heights
  • Lane
  • Mews (!?)
  • Pathway
  • Terrace
  • Trail
  • Way
CUL-DE-SACS:
  • Close
  • Court
  • Place
NAMED FOR THEIR SHAPE (at least this is sort of interesting):
  • Circle
  • Crescent
  • Square
OTHER
  • Alley
  • Esplanade
  • Parade (!!?)
  • Promenada
I'm so disappointed.

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