The reasons differ per state. You may want to search you current state.
Whatever scarcities we may have in this world, a shortage of street-name suffixes isn't one of them. The possibilities include but are not limited to alley, avenue, boulevard, circle, court, cove, crescent, crossing, dale, drive, estate, extension, gardens, gate, heights, highway, lake, landing, lane, loop, park, parkway, path, place, plaza, point, promenade, ridge, road, roadway, square, street, terrace, trace, trail, village, or way, to say nothing of commonly used foreign words such as camino, calle, etc.
Confronted with this plethora of terms, you'll probably have one of the following reactions:
(1) We need some kind of system here.
(2) We don't need no stinking system, we need some minimal restrictions to protect the public interest.
(3) Whatever, I don't care. Go away.
Reaction #3, I venture to say, has historically predominated among the public officials nominally in charge of these things, but reaction #1 has occurred often enough to convince people there's some underlying plan when in fact there isn't. The most famous sorta-system is Manhattan's grid of north-south avenues and east-west streets. Here's another from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission of Lansing, Michigan (my assistant Jane lives there, that's why):
Cul-de-sacs should be named circle, court, way, or place
Meandering streets--drive, lane, path, trail
North-south streets--avenue, highway
Streets with planted medians--boulevard, parkway.
Guilford County, North Carolina, prefers:
North-south streets--street; east-west--avenue (take that, Manhattan)
Dead-end streets--terrace, point, cove, dale, way
Short curved roads with ingress and egress from the same thoroughfare--circle.
Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, is even more precise:
Northeast-southwest street--lane (doesn't the Kenai planning department have anything better to do?)
Begins and ends at same thoroughfare--loop
It totally depends on the city that you're in. Some cities with paths running east-to-west will call them avenues while others will call them streets.
Originally streets were named by their direction and purpose.
Roads were rural, getting you to town. (In the south, we have "Pike" which is a road running from one city to another. Lebanon Pike runs to Lebanon Tennessee...)
Streets were in cities and suburbs.
Avenues were ways of getting around the larger cities. They were the Thouroughfares and also directed you to things. Park Avenue went to the Park.
Circle was a descrip[tive of a circular street.
Place was for roads near a specific destination. Park Place at the Park.
Way were small streets off shoots of other streets. They led from one street to another or away from them.
These days these monikers rarely mean what they used to.
Beats me if this is right, but I looked them up in the dictionary to see what differences were noted there:
Road: a long, narrow stretch with a smoothed or paved surface, made for traveling by motor vehicle, carriage, etc., between two or more points; street or highway.
Street: a public thoroughfare, usually paved, in a village, town, or city, including the sidewalk or sidewalks.
Avenue: a wide street or main thoroughfare. a. a wide, usually tree-lined road, path, driveway, etc., through grounds to a country house or monumental building.
b. a suburban, usually tree-lined residential street.
Circle: A traffic circle. Something, such as a ring, shaped like such a plane curve.
Place: A short street.
Way: A minor street in a town
Remember that when the streets were named, they may have been in different conditions than they are currently... For example, I know a lot of really busy Main Avenues, but they may not have been so busy when they received their names.
When more than one definition is applicable, I think they just pick the one that sounds best! lol
There is also an article on wikipedia about street names if you want to check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/street_name...
Sorry if that didn't help much!
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