[TAG] Re: Re: England was nice
mso at oz.net
Fri Oct 7 19:31:54 MSD 2005
Martin J Hooper wrote:
> Rick Moen wrote:
>> Here's the roundabout at the bottom, looking at right angles to the
>> Marin Street ascent:
> Good grief you've got roundabouts in America... ;) :)
> I always thought that roads in American cities always were parallel to
> each other and the corners were always at right angles to each other -
> Sorta like a grid...
Cities built during the Industrial era (approx 1860-1960) are like that,
as are almost all downtowns. But there are always a few diagonal roads
here and there, usually established before the grid system was built.
The advantage of the grid system is it's easy to get from anywhere to
anywhere, most streets go through, and the house numbering is (usually)
predictable. Some cities have a uniform grid throughout
(Manhattan, Chicago, Spokane). Others have "sections" of grids that are
at different angles than other sections. Sometimes these sections are
exceptional (Seattle: downtown only, Portland: North only). Other times
the city is made up of several different mini-grids (San Francisco).
By 1970 it became fashionable to build city centers that way, but break
up the grid in residential areas. So there's be one way out of a
neighborhood, making several turns. Everything else is dead-end streets
that vaguely follow the grid but don't go through. These streets
usually end at cul-de-sacs. Sometimes the roads are curvy, and you get
little two-block streets doubling up on a number: 179th Avenue NE,
179th Place Northeast, 179th Way Northeast. That can be very
confusing. (In some cities one grid axis is "Avenues" and the other
"Streets"; in others both are "Streets". "Way" usually means a diagonal
road; "Place" a short dead-end road with the same number as an Avenue or
Some cities in California have streets that go every which way, like in
England. Some suburbs in the Bay Area use the grid system except in
hilly areas. San Francisco imposes the grid even on the hills.
Here's one neighborhood where I grew up (thankfully only one year).
It's Somerset Hill, a completely residential hill five miles south of
I-90 is north of this; I-405 west. The main road is called 150th Ave SE
/ 148th Pl SE / 148th Ave SE / Highland Drive. Up near the top
(Highland Drive) there's a curvy street that goes through east-west.
I'm not sure which one on the map. It changed number every few blocks
to conform to the county grid. But emergency vehicles had such trouble
finding addresses that they renumbered it to all one number.
Los Angeles has all these systems.
The west side is pretty close to a normal north-south grid. Downtown
(south of Elysian Park) is a diagonal grid. North of Elysian Park is a
pocket where the streets go at random.
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