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Largely because of the 911 emergency system, many places have changed their addressing methods so that if you have never been in an area, you know where an address is just by looking at it. There are also some older and still very helpful methods of naming roads that will be included. Since many of us frequently travel to previously unknown locations, this could be an asset.

Where I live some counties haven't adopted the methods I will detail below. It is murder trying to navigate in those counties. They were supposed to adopt the new address format but didn't. Many counties, however, have completely adopted the 911 methods of addressing a residence. Even then there are always those places that insist on having an incorrect address for their official address. All of the following rules are generally applied; many times they aren't applied or are applied incorrectly.

In regards to Interstates and highways, odd numbers (for example Hwy 431) run north/south with even numbers (for example Interstate 90) running east/west.

Lower highway numbers (for example: Hwy 21 or Hwy 22) will be toward the East or North side. Higher numbers (for example Hwy 88 or Hwy 89) will be toward the South or West side.

The number part of the address will tell you which side of the road/highway/street/lane/avenue/etc. it is on. If the address number is odd (for example: 1521), it will be either on the east side or north side of the road. It the address number is even (for example: 1522), it will be on the west or south side of the road.

In a town, many times the addresses will tell you how far up the block it is. If you are on a street that intersects with the alleys, the last two digits of the address number (1 through 13 and 2 through 14) will be on one side of the alley. Numbers 15 and higher and 16 and higher will be on the other side. If the address number is 714, 715, 716, or 717 then you know the house will more likely be exactly on corner where the street and the alley intersect.

Lanes and Roads are like Streets and Avenues except for their size. Streets and Avenues are about a block long and are often in cities. Lanes and Roads are in 1 mile grids outside of a city. Lanes run north/south. Roads run east/west. As you are driving along a Road, every mile you will intersect with a Lane. Likewise, Lanes will intersect with a Road every mile.

The numbers on the Lanes and Roads have meaning. Let's take the address 323 5th Lane North. The number indicates, as you have just learned, the address is on the east side of the Lane. The number also indicates that it is 23/100ths of a mile away from the corner of 3rd Road North. Therefore, if you are on 3rd Road North and see 5th Lane North, you know to make a turn onto 5th Lane North and to travel about a quarter of a mile when you will make a turn onto the driveway that is on the east side of 5th Lane.

Seems confusing doesn't it? I stop with map in hand and slowly identify where I'm at. I pretend I need to explain this to myself like I'm a 5th grader.

Also, 5th Lane North (or South or NE) may be 5 miles away from a dividing road. Many times the road will be called Division Lane or will be a major highway or Main Street running through a town.

Highway numbers also have meaning. Let's take the address 1624 Highway 431. 1624 means it is 16.24 miles up the road. Since we know Hwy 431 runs north/south, the even numbered address will be on the west side of the road. As you are driving and you turn onto Highway 431 and see the address 1274, you are now 3 1/2 miles away from 1624. (1624 minus 1274 equals 350 or 3 1/2 miles.)

That same method also works on regular roads. Let's take 7 Bridges Road. If the address is 975 7 Bridges Road, the address is about 9 3/4 miles up 7 Bridges Road. I couldn't tell you which direction the road is going.

Not all roads go north/south or east/west. Some roads that can't go straight can do the funky chicken. You can still know which side of the road an address is on. Once you establish which side the odd numbers are, the odd numbered addresses will continue to be on that side.

Some people won't adapt to new addresses. I ran into an address that was a blend of two addresses. Before the advent of the 911 address system a resident had a number and name that didn't correspond to any reference point. The only way you could find his place was to ask the neighbors who often responded, "Ahyup. I know where he lives. Go to the top of that -there hill on that road over there, take a left, then about 4 miles or so, take a right. Then take another right where that big, old Oak tree used to be." I'm not exaggerating. That is how it was done back in the day. Even to neophytes who obviously had no idea of the layout of the local area. Several times a local has explained to me how to get to an address using this archaic, proprietary method. Sometimes several times by the same person regarding the same address. It was like a comedy routine but not funny.

Anyway, when the 911 address system was implemented, this obstinate resident grudgingly accepted that his road was not a name anymore, and was now a numbered Lane. Unfortunately for him and almost everyone else, he steadfastly refused to accept the new number. He kept his old number, yet took on the new Lane name. He literally made up his own address. When I would go to deliver to his house, I would go to the address on the package, but of course, he wasn't there. I had to call and ask around where he lived. Very frustrating! He was mad at me for making such a big fuss about trying to figure out where he lived. I mean, he had lived there for 50 years; what was so difficult about finding him? (sarcasm) I bet he had a lot of cold pizzas delivered to him. God forbid he ever need an ambulance and the volunteer EMT's are too new to know where that old Oak tree was.

Non-numbered, namedĀ roads are in alphabetical order and often have themes. If you need to go to Pear Drive, but the only road you see is Cherry Drive, you are probably in the right area because you are in an area that has named its roads after fruits. But if you go to the next Drive and see Juniper Drive, then you realize you are in an area named after trees not fruit and need to keep looking. If you find the fruit-named roads and see Orange Drive, then you know you are really close because "P" comes right after "O". But when you see the next drive is named Mango Drive, you can see you need to turn around with Pear Drive being two blocks away.

These rules are not absolutely applied. In some places, the rules have been disregarded or bastardized. Lewis and Clark County kind of sort of made up their own method of readdressing the roads which was also sporadically implemented. It doesn't make any more sense than it did before. Finding an address in that county is sooooo hard. Cascade County is awesome- light years easier.

Knowing just part of the address can help. If you call someone and that person asks you what your address is, you can say, "I don't know," which doesn't help. BUT if you know the address you are on was an odd number and you are on a Lane, you can tell them that. That can help cops or EMT's out tremendously. By telling them you are on a Lane you have just eliminated 50% of the possible places you could be. By telling them you are at an odd numbered address, you have reduced the amount of possible places you are by another 50%. While you don't know specifically where you are, at least you have reduced the number of possible locations you are by a whopping 75%. Or you could say the name of the road was named after a fish, which would lead them to the area where the Drives are named after fish: Trout Drive, Salmon Drive, etc. That could be the difference between life and death.

Or a cold pizza. Tongue

This is not an exhaustive list of ways to figure out where an address is, although it probably feels like it after reading it. This is written primarily from the frame of reference of where I live in Montana. I'm sure other regions have different methods of identifying addresses. If you have methods or ideas to contribute, let us know. I have an especially hard time figuring out where I am; I truly need the help as I become more mobile.

And, no, my difficulties in finding addresses cannot be contributed to me being a dude. Tongue
Interesting...I never knew there was a method to the madness. Then again, I am from Pittsburgh, a town that bring any attempt at ordered streets to its knees... Wink
I didn't know there was an official plan, either, but Huntington WV, is super easy to navigate because Streets and Avenues are perpendicular. They are numbered, i.e. 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue, etc, so even directionally challenged people like me won't get lost.

Thanks for the info! I'm planning to drive across Ohio this weekend, so I'll try to remember to pay attention to all of this.
(02-03-2016, 09:45 AM)gsfish Wrote: [ -> ]Good post although it did cause my brain to hurt a bit.


Hurts my brain any time I go somewhere.
While what the OP posted may be true in his area, I can tell you first hand that there is no rhyme or reason to the schemes used in different areas. I always figure out what address I am going to be parked at, and write it down before leaving my drivers seat. Once I'm in the back, I google the address to find out the zip code to add to my note. I also make note of the 2 nearest cross streets.

If I am unfamiliar with the area, I will also call up google maps, to give me a clearer picture of exactly where I am at.
Canine: Ravalli County is pretty screwed up too... And let's not even MENTION Missoula!!!
(02-03-2016, 11:15 PM)Marie Wrote: [ -> ]Canine: Ravalli County is pretty screwed up too... And let's not even MENTION Missoula!!!

The mountains, numerous creeks, rivers, and lakes create barriers that mess up the roads, but that is no excuse for the cluster in the valley. The road control signage in Missoula at some key points could be better, too.

I was told the man who did the layout for Helena also did the layout for Missoula. Both towns are severely messed up in very similar ways. Who knows what was going on in that dude's mind?