Why do some streets skip entire blocks?


For example: I’m currently working several orders on a particular street. I just had an order in the 1100 block, and then I have several orders in the 1300 block. You would think this would be two blocks down, but it’s the very next block. Why is there no 1200 block? I see this a lot, as my has me driving all over town every day.

In: 3

A lot of city grids have gaps in them, either intentionally left blank in case there’s new construction or somewhat unintentionally skipped because there was no cross-street at 1200 that far west, but there is somewhere else.

Streets sometimes stop and start based on the old grid before towns grew into eachother or from some pre-existing geographical or infrastructure feature.

Maybe a train track ran too close to where 12th street would have been. Maybe there’s a drainage creek there that nobody dared fill in. Maybe the old town wasn’t perfectly aligned with the encroaching city and there was a grid correction there. Maybe there used to be an old factory there that took up multiple blocks.

Could be a myriad of reasons why there’s no 12th street at that particular location.

There are lots of reasons why street grids have gaps in them.

Using my own city (Calgary) as an example ([click here for a map](https://imgur.com/CwOH695)), the street grid has many discontinuities for a wide variety of reasons. The rivers and river valley are the biggest reasons why parts of the grid don’t connect, but the next biggest reason why it does wonky things is the overarching [Alberta Township Survey system grid](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta_Township_System), bolded in red on the map. The bolded lines run north-south and east-west, and they set out a grid of one mile square township sections. The roads that follow this (almost) perfectly N-S/E-W grid are marked in red, and as you can see, most of the map is as such. Each section was typically subdivided into half-mile by half-mile quarters, which you can see the results of in the street grid.

As an example of where it differs from quarter section to quarter section, take the South Calgary, Bankview and Richmond neighbourhoods at the southwest corner of the map. You can see how the South Calgary neighbourhood has a uniform grid in the southwest and southeast quarters of the section. The northwest quarter—Richmond—has a discontinuous grid marked by a few criss-crossing roads that don’t align. The northeast quarter—Bankview—is a very hilly neighbourhood that still follows the N-S/E-W alignment but has a completely different grid that doesn’t line up with its neighbours.

Why? Because they were all developed at separate times, by separate people! Bankview in particular is very different because of the topography, whereas South Calgary is much flatter and it was easier to apply the same grid across the area.

Bigger ‘errors’ in the grid are apparent at the intersections of the roads marked in red and the ones in blue. The ones in blue, you might notice, are *almost* the same orientation, but are askew with respect to the township grid. Why?

Because they parallel the railway, marked in bolded blue, that bisects the middle of the map. The railway wasn’t built perfectly east-west (nor was it ever really intended to; it’s simply the straightest line through the river valley), so neither are the roads. It made more sense at the time for the street grid to follow the railway than the township grid, so that’s what happened. It results in weird little “errors” such as [13th Street disappearing between 12th Avenue and 17th Avenue](https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0404385,-114.0930403,17z), [16th Avenue disappearing east of 7th Street](https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0383675,-114.079125,17z), and [3rd Street disappearing south of 9th Avenue](https://www.google.ca/maps/@51.0441926,-114.0705527,16.74z).