Stravenue

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(CC) Photo: Hayford Peirce
An intersection of two stravenues in Tucson, Arizona

Stravenues are public roads apparently unique to Tucson, Arizona, a large American city that is laid out predominantly on a grid system in which most of its streets run east-west or north-south. Most roads running east-west are called "streets", while most roads running north-south are called "avenues". Exceptions exist, particularly in the foothills to the north of the city, in which curving, winding roads are the rule rather than the exception, but even here a general pattern of calling them "streets" and "avenues" obtains. In a few areas of Tucson, however, primarily around the central part of the city, which is divided by railroad tracks running diagonally from southeast to northwest, builders have created small subdivisions of roads and houses that also are laid out on a diagonal basis rather than the normal east-west or north-south. Most of these subdivisions are located near either the Benson Highway or Aviation Highway, which also run southeast to northwest.[1] At some point in time, perhaps 50 to 60 years ago, when the first of these subdivisions was created, an imaginative developer denominated its roads "stravenues", a combination of "street" and "avenue". The United States Postal Service recognizes the existence of stravenues, and has designated STRA as the official designation to use when addressing an envelope to, for instance, 2430 S. Holly STRA, Tucson, AZ 85715.[2] The term is even defined in the laws of Pima County, in which Tucson is located.[3] [4]

Notes

  1. A "Road Runner" column by Andrea Kelly in the "Tucson & Region" section of the Arizona Daily Star of Monday, March 3, 2008, called "'Stavenue': Is it unique to Tucson?" lists "a few of our stravenues (and I'm sure there are several more): Belford, Bryant, Camilla, Canada, Cerius, Cherrybell, Concord, Desert, Dover, Drexel Manor, Fairland, Forgeus, Frankfort, Hartford, Helena, Hemlock, Holly, Howard, Kelvin, Lansing, Madison, McFee, Mendham, Menor, Miramonte, Nebraska, Olympia, Ray, Rex, Tucson and Venice."
  2. A page at the USPS's website listing the STRA designation
  3. Chapter 18.83 : Address Standards, Pima County Code: "Stravenue: A street which runs diagonally between and intersects a Street and an Avenue."
  4. Tucson is laid out in a rigorously logical pattern. A central point at the intersection of the major east-west and north-south roads of Broadway and Stone is considered Ground Zero. Everything north of Broadway has an N. attached to it if it heads more or less north. The same is true for S. and south of Broadway. Everything west of Stone has a W. attached to it if it heads more or less towards the Pacific Ocean. The same is true for E. and roads east of Stone. Some streets, particularly in what is called the Foothills area north of the Rillito River, wind considerably, so that at many points a road labelled N. actually heads east for a while.