Naming Roads in Urban Areas
Most Cities and towns in Utah use a grid system and streets are assigned a numeric name based on distance from the origin. This section is intended to give guidance on best practices in Utah to name roadways in an effective and consistent manner. A key while editing road names in Utah is to pay attention to when to leading and trailing cardinal direction indicators.
In Utah, the general rule is to use the name on the street sign as the primary name. Streets in Utah may have a traditional name (Main St, Redwood Rd) in addition to the numeric coordinate. Some streets use the numeric coordinate as the common name and others use a traditional street name. When deciding whether to use the numeric or traditional name there are several sources to consider.
The best primary source is the street name on the sign. If there is both a name and a coordinate on a sign, postal addresses on that street may offer guidance on what the primary name of the street should be. If the post office uses a numeric name, the primary name should match the post office. Other sources of information to help research include State and County parcel records information and State or local Roadway GIS sources (Link to MOM's GIS Layers or AGRC).
In Utah, most addresses use a trailing cardinal direction as part of the numeric address before the street name. For example, 4646 S 500 W is an address with two cardinal directions. The first number (4646) is the house number, the first cardinal indicates that it is on a street that runs primarily in the North/South direction, and 500 W is the actual street name. This gives both an x and y coordinate to help know where any address in the city (or county in Salt Lake County).
The local editing community follows this by adding the leading cardinal as an alternate street name. This allows for clarity for users using spoken street names (TTS), for displayed directions to match the street signs, and will also allow address searches to utilize the Waze house number/street name search results with two cardinal direction input. Do not omit the leading cardinal without checking with local leadership.
Numeric streets always have a trailing cardinal. These should not use a suffix other than the cardinal like St, Dr, etc.
Alternate Numeric Names
With local grids being a very efficient way to navigate urban areas in Utah, there may be a desire to add numeric alternate names to named streets. While this does make the map seem complete, it serves little navigational purpose in Waze if the numeric alternate is not recognized by the post office or county recorders office for a parcel other than supplemental information to other editors, especially in residential areas. Adding these numeric alternates to street names is a low priority in Utah.
- On primary streets and above, there may be a good navigational reason to add numeric alt names to these roads. In these cases, users may search by approximate grid location and a primary road with a numeric alternate name may help to find a valid search result.
- Some numeric streets may have symbolic alternate names (for example W Japantown St/100 S in downtown Salt Lake City). In this example, the postal address for this street utilizes the numeric primary name and does not recognize the symbolic name on the street sign. Use the numeric name as primary and add the symbolic name as an alternate.
Feedback from Discord---------
Style suggestions for readability / quick scan-ability:
Lean heavily on bulleted examples. Examples speak 100 words.
use brevity and authoritarian language for "this is how to do it". If there needs to be supplementary text / explanations, we can add those as footnotes, expando-boxes, or even an indented point or two. The "what/how" should be prominent, the "why" is secondary.
Primary road name should almost always match what's on the road sign at that location, not postal. For aiding drivers, matching the Waze directions to the visible signs provides the best experience. The map is best leveraged for routing, not how it might look as a printed atlas.
Symbolic names: I'd clarify to only add symbolic names that show on the signs there. Some roads might carry 5 honorary names. Serious.