The names of streets. Our presentation. Main information.
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The names of streets
A street name or odonym is an identifying name given to a street. The street name usually forms part of the address (though addresses in some parts of the world, notably most of Japan, make no reference to street names). Buildings are often given numbers along the street to further help identify them.
Names are often given in a two-part form: an individual name known as the specific, and an indicator of the type of street, known as the generic. Examples include "Main Road", "Fleet Street" and "Park Avenue".
The type of street stated, however, can sometimes be misleading: a street named "Park Avenue" need not have the characteristics of an avenue in the generic sense. Some streets are given a name without a street type designation. The Mall, for example, is the name of various famous streets around the world.
A street name can also include a direction (the cardinal points east, west, north, south, or the quadrants NW, NE, SW, SE) especially in cities with a grid-numbering system. Examples include "E Roosevelt Boulevard" and "14th Street NW". These directions are often (though not always) used to differentiate two sections of a street. Other qualifiers may be used for that purpose as well. Examples: upper/lower, old/new, or adding "extension".
"Main Street" and "High Street" are common names for the major road in the middle of a shopping area in the United States and the United Kingdom, respectively. The most common street name in the US is "2nd" or "Second".
The etymology of a street name is sometimes very obvious, but at other times it might be obscure or even forgotten.
In the United States, most streets are named after numbers, landscapes, trees (a combination of landscapes and trees such as "Oakhill" is used often in residential areas), or the surname of an important individual (in some instances, it is just a commonly held surname such as Smith).
"The Shambles", derived from the Anglo-Saxon term "fleshammels" ("the street of the butchers"), is a historical street name which still exists in various cities and towns around England. The most well-known example is to be found in York
The unusual etymologies of quite a few street names in the United Kingdom are documented in Rude Britain, complete with photographs of local signage.
Many streets were named for the type of commerce or industry that was along them. This practice rarely happens in modern times, but many of those named years ago are still common. Examples include London's Haymarket or Barcelona's Carrer de Moles, "Millstone Street", where the stonecutters used to have their shops.
Some streets are named for landmarks that were present along the street when it was constructed. These have often disappeared but the name is retained.
Barcelona's La Rambla is officially a series of streets. The Rambla de Canaletes is named after a fountain that still stands, but the RambladelsEstudis is named after the Estudis Generals, a university building demolished in 1843, and the Rambla de SantJosep, the RambladelsCaputxins, and the Rambla de Santa Monica are each named after former convents. Only the convent of Santa Monica survives as a building, and it is now converted to a museum.
While names such as Long Road or Nine Mile Ride have an obvious meaning, some roads' names' etymologies are less clear. The various Stone Streets, for example, were named at a time when the art of building paved (stone) Roman roads had been lost. Even allowing for different standards of notability, though, it is unclear why the main road through Old Windsor was called Straight Road.
When the roads do still make it to their stated destination, the names are often changed when they get closer to the destination. (Hartford Avenue in Wethersfield, Connecticut, becomes Wethersfield Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut, for example.) A road can switch names multiple times as local opinion changes regarding its destination; for example, the road between Oxford and Banbury changes name five times from the Banbury Road to the Oxford Road and back again as it passes through villages.
Some streets are named after the areas that the street connects. For example, Clarcona Ocoee Road links the communities of Clarcona and Ocoee in Orlando, Florida, and Jindivick–Neerim South Road links the towns of Jindivick and Neerim South in Victoria, Australia.
Bypasses are often named after the town they route traffic around, for example the Newbury bypass.