Street
Overview
 
A street is a paved public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 thoroughfare
Thoroughfare
A thoroughfare is a place of transportation intended to connect one location to another. Highways, roads, and trails are examples of thoroughfares used by a variety of general traffic. On land a thoroughfare may refer to anything from a rough trail to multi-lane highway with grade separated...

 in a built environment. It is a public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 parcel of land
Landform
A landform or physical feature in the earth sciences and geology sub-fields, comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography...

 adjoining building
Building
In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

s in an urban
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

 context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, but is more often paved
Pavement (material)
Road surface or pavement is the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as a road or walkway. In the past cobblestones and granite setts were extensively used, but these surfaces have mostly been replaced by asphalt or concrete. Such...

 with a hard, durable surface such as concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

, cobblestone
Cobblestone
Cobblestones are stones that were frequently used in the pavement of early streets. "Cobblestone" is derived from the very old English word "cob", which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was "rounded lump" with overtones of large size...

 or brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

. Portions may also be smoothed with asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

, embedded with rails
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

, or otherwise prepared to accommodate non-pedestrian
Pedestrian
A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running. In some communities, those traveling using roller skates or skateboards are also considered to be pedestrians. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case...

 traffic.

Originally the word "street" simply meant a paved road (Latin: "via strata").
Encyclopedia
A street is a paved public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 thoroughfare
Thoroughfare
A thoroughfare is a place of transportation intended to connect one location to another. Highways, roads, and trails are examples of thoroughfares used by a variety of general traffic. On land a thoroughfare may refer to anything from a rough trail to multi-lane highway with grade separated...

 in a built environment. It is a public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 parcel of land
Landform
A landform or physical feature in the earth sciences and geology sub-fields, comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography...

 adjoining building
Building
In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

s in an urban
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

 context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, but is more often paved
Pavement (material)
Road surface or pavement is the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as a road or walkway. In the past cobblestones and granite setts were extensively used, but these surfaces have mostly been replaced by asphalt or concrete. Such...

 with a hard, durable surface such as concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

, cobblestone
Cobblestone
Cobblestones are stones that were frequently used in the pavement of early streets. "Cobblestone" is derived from the very old English word "cob", which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was "rounded lump" with overtones of large size...

 or brick
Brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

. Portions may also be smoothed with asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

, embedded with rails
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

, or otherwise prepared to accommodate non-pedestrian
Pedestrian
A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running. In some communities, those traveling using roller skates or skateboards are also considered to be pedestrians. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case...

 traffic.

Originally the word "street" simply meant a paved road (Latin: "via strata"). The word "street" is still sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for "road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

", for example in connection with the ancient Watling Street
Watling Street
Watling Street is the name given to an ancient trackway in England and Wales that was first used by the Britons mainly between the modern cities of Canterbury and St Albans. The Romans later paved the route, part of which is identified on the Antonine Itinerary as Iter III: "Item a Londinio ad...

, but city residents and urban planners
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 draw a crucial modern distinction: a road's main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction. Examples of streets include pedestrian streets, alley
Alley
An alley or alleyway is a narrow lane found in urban areas, often for pedestrians only, which usually runs between or behind buildings. In older cities and towns in Europe, alleys are often what is left of a medieval street network, or a right of way or ancient footpath in an urban setting...

s, and city-centre
Downtown
Downtown is a term primarily used in North America by English speakers to refer to a city's core or central business district ....

 streets too crowded for road vehicles to pass. Conversely, highway
Highway
A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

s and motorways are types of roads, but few would refer to them as streets.

Etymology

The word street has its origins in the Latin strata (meaning "paved road"); it is thus related to stratum
Stratum
In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

and stratification
Stratification (archeology)
Stratification is a paramount and base concept in archaeology, especially in the course of excavation. It is largely based on the Law of Superposition...

. Ancient Greek Stratos means army; Greeks originally built roads to move their armies. Old English applied the word to Roman roads in Britain
Roman roads in Britain
Roman roads, together with Roman aqueducts and the vast standing Roman army , constituted the three most impressive features of the Roman Empire. In Britain, as in other provinces, the Romans constructed a comprehensive network of paved trunk roads Roman roads, together with Roman aqueducts and the...

 such as Ermin Street
Ermin Street
Ermin Street or Ermin Way is one of the great Roman roads of Britain. It runs from Gloucester via Cirencester to Silchester . Much of it is now covered by the modern A417, A419 and B4000 roads....

, Watling Street
Watling Street
Watling Street is the name given to an ancient trackway in England and Wales that was first used by the Britons mainly between the modern cities of Canterbury and St Albans. The Romans later paved the route, part of which is identified on the Antonine Itinerary as Iter III: "Item a Londinio ad...

, etc. Later it acquired a dialectical meaning of "straggling village", which were often laid out on the verges of Roman roads and these settlements often became named Stretton
Stretton
-England:Stretton means "settlement on a Roman Road" . Of the seventeen places in England, all but two are situated on a Roman Road, the exceptions being Stretton Westwood and Stretton en le Field.-Cheshire:...

. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, a road was a way people travelled, with street applied specifically to paved ways.

Role in the built environment

The street is a public easement
Easement
An easement is a certain right to use the real property of another without possessing it.Easements are helpful for providing pathways across two or more pieces of property or allowing an individual to fish in a privately owned pond...

, one of the few shared between all sorts of people. As a component of the built environment
Built environment
The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks.The built...

 as ancient
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

 as human habitation, the street sustains a range of activities vital to civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. Its roles are as numerous and diverse as its ever-changing cast of characters.

Streets can be loosely categorized as main street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

s and side streets. Main streets are usually broad with a relatively high level of activity. Commerce and public interaction are more visible on main streets, and vehicles may use them for longer-distance travel. Side streets are quieter, often residential in use and character, and may be used for vehicular parking.

Circulation

Circulation, or less broadly, transportation, is perhaps a street's most visible use, and certainly among the most important. The unrestricted movement of people and goods
Good (economics and accounting)
In economics, a good is something that is intended to satisfy some wants or needs of a consumer and thus has economic utility. It is normally used in the plural form—goods—to denote tangible commodities such as products and materials....

 within a city is essential to its commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 and vitality, and streets provide the physical space for this activity.

In the interest of order and efficiency, an effort may be made to segregate different types of traffic. This is usually done by carving a road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

 through the middle for motorists, reserving pavements
Sidewalk
A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb...

 on either side for pedestrians; other arrangements allow for streetcars, trolleys, and even wastewater
Wastewater
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influence. It comprises liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations...

 and rainfall runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

 ditches (common in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

). In the mid-20th century, as the automobile threatened to overwhelm city streets with pollution and ghastly accidents, many urban theorists came to see this segregation as not only helpful but necessary in order to maintain mobility. Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier , was a Swiss-born French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930...

, for one, perceived an ever-stricter segregation of traffic as an essential affirmation of social order — a desirable, and ultimately inevitable, expression of modernity. To this end, proposals were advanced to build "vertical streets" where road vehicles, pedestrians, and trains would each occupy their own levels. Such an arrangement, it was said, would allow for even denser development in the future.

These plans were never implemented comprehensively, a fact which today's urban theorists regard as fortunate for vitality and diversity. Rather, vertical segregation is applied on a piecemeal basis, as in sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

s, utility pole
Utility pole
A utility pole is a pole used to support overhead power lines and various other public utilities, such as cable, fibre optic cable, and related equipment such as transformers and street lights. It can be referred to as a telephone pole, power pole, hydro pole, telegraph pole, or telegraph post,...

s, depressed highways, elevated railways, common utility duct
Common utility duct
A common utility duct, sometimes called a common utility conduit, is any structure – above, on, or below ground – that carries more than two types of public utility lines...

s, the extensive complex of underground malls surrounding Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station
is a train station located in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan, near the Imperial Palace grounds and the Ginza commercial district....

 and the Ōtemachi
Otemachi
is a district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It is located north of Tokyo Station and Marunouchi, east of the Imperial Palace, west of Nihonbashi and south of Kanda. It is the location of the former site of the village of Shibazaki, the most ancient part of Tokyo....

 subway station, the elevated pedestrian skyway
Skyway
In an urban setting, a skyway, catwalk, sky bridge, or skywalk is a type of pedway consisting of an enclosed or covered bridge between two buildings. This protects pedestrians from the weather. These skyways are usually owned by businesses, and are therefore not public spaces...

 networks of Minneapolis and Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

, the underground cities
Underground city
An Underground city is a series of linked subterranean spaces that may provide a defensive refuge; a place for living, working or shopping; a transit system; mausolea; wine or storage cellars; cisterns or drainage channels; or several of these. The term may also refer to a network of tunnels that...

 of Atlanta and Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, and the multilevel streets in Chicago
Multilevel streets in Chicago
Downtown Chicago, Illinois has some double-decked and a few triple-decked streets immediately north and south of the Main Branch and immediately east of the South Branch of the Chicago River. The most famous and longest of these is Wacker Drive, which replaced the South Water Street Market upon its...

.

Transportation is often misunderstood to be the defining characteristic, or even the sole purpose, of a street. This has not been the case since the word "street" came to be limited to urban situations, and even in the automobile age, is still demonstrably false. A street may be temporarily blocked to all through traffic in order to secure the space for other uses, such as a street fair
Street fair
A street fair is a fair that celebrates the character of a neighborhood. As its name suggests, it is usually held on the main street of a neighborhood....

, a flea market
Flea market
A flea market or swap meet is a type of bazaar where inexpensive or secondhand goods are sold or bartered. It may be indoors, such as in a warehouse or school gymnasium; or it may be outdoors, such as in a field or under a tent...

, children at play, filming a movie, or construction work. Many streets are bracketed by bollard
Bollard
A bollard is a short vertical post. Originally it meant a post used on a ship or a quay, principally for mooring. The word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic, such as posts arranged in a line to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles...

s or Jersey barrier
Jersey barrier
A Jersey barrier or Jersey wall is a modular concrete barrier employed to separate lanes of traffic. It is designed to both minimize vehicle damage in cases of incidental contact while still preventing crossover in the case of head-on accidents....

s so as to keep out vehicles. These measures are often taken in a city's busiest areas, the "destination" districts, when the volume of activity outgrows the capacity of private passenger vehicles to support it. A feature universal to all streets is a human-scale design that gives its users the space and security to feel engaged in their surroundings, whatever through traffic may pass.

Vehicular traffic

Despite this, the operator of a motor vehicle may (incompletely) regard a street as merely a thoroughfare for vehicular travel or parking
Parking
Parking is the act of stopping a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied for more than a brief time. Parking on one or both sides of a road is commonly permitted, though often with restrictions...

. As far as concerns the driver, a street can be one-way or two-way: vehicles on one-way streets may travel in only one direction, while those on two-way streets may travel both ways. One way streets typically have signs reading "ONE WAY" and an arrow showing the direction of allowed travel. Most two-way streets are wide enough for at least two lanes of traffic.

Which lane is for which direction of traffic
Driving on the left or right
The terms right-hand traffic and left-hand traffic refer to regulations requiring all bidirectional traffic to keep either to the right or the left side of the road, respectively. This is so fundamental to traffic flow that it is sometimes referred to as the rule of the road. This basic rule eases...

 depends on what country the street is located in. On broader two-way streets, there is often a center line marked
Road surface marking
Road surface marking is any kind of device or material that is used on a road surface in order to convey official information. They can also be applied in other facilities used by vehicles to mark parking spaces or designate areas for other uses....

 down the middle of the street separating those lanes on which vehicular traffic goes in one direction from other lanes in which traffic goes in the opposite direction. Occasionally, there may be a median strip separating lanes of opposing traffic. If there is more than one lane going in one direction on a main street, these lanes may be separated by intermittent lane lines marked on the street pavement. Side streets often do not have center lines or lane lines.

Parking for vehicles

Many streets, especially side streets in residential areas, have an extra lane's width on either or both sides for parallel parking
Parallel parking
thumb|250px|right|Parallel-parked cars in [[Washington, D.C.]]thumb|250px|right|A motorist gets assistance parallel-parkingParallel parking is a method of parking a vehicle in line with other parked cars. Cars parked in parallel are in one line, parallel to the curb, with the front bumper of each...

. Most minor side streets allowing free parallel parking do not have pavement markings designating the parking lane. Main street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

s more often have parking lanes marked. Some streets are too busy or narrow for parking on the side. Sometimes parking on the sides of streets is allowed only at certain times. Curbside signs often state regulations about parking. Some streets, particularly in business areas, may have parking meter
Parking meter
A parking meter is a device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park a vehicle in a particular place for a limited amount of time. Parking meters can be used by municipalities as a tool for enforcing their integrated on-street parking policy, usually related to their traffic and...

s into which coins must be paid to allow parking in the adjacent space for a limited time. Other parking meters work on a credit card and ticket basis or pay and display
Pay and display
Pay and display machines are a subset of ticket machines used for regulating parking in urban areas or in car parks. It relies on a customer purchasing a ticket from a machine and displaying the ticket on the dashboard, or windscreen or passenger window of the vehicle...

. Parking lane markings on the pavement may designate the meter corresponding to a parking space. Some wide streets with light traffic allow angle parking.

Sidewalk and bicycle traffic

Sidewalk
Sidewalk
A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb...

s (US usage) or pavements (UK usage) are often located alongside on one or usually both sides of the street within the public land strips beyond the curbs. Sidewalks serve a traffic purpose, by making walking easier and more attractive, but they also serve a social function, allowing neighbors to meet and interact on their walks. They also can foster economic activity, such as window shopping and sidewalk cafe
Sidewalk cafe
A sidewalk cafe is an outdoor part of a coffeehouse or cafe. This is an area where customers go to relax, dine, and socialize...

s. Some studies have found that shops on streets with sidewalks get more customers than similar shops without sidewalks.

An important element of sidewalk design is accessibility for persons with disabilities. Features that make sidewalks more accessible include curb ramps, tactile paving
Tactile paving
Tactile paving is a system of textured ground surface indicators found on many footpaths, stairs and train station platforms to assist blind and vision impaired pedestrians.Tactile warnings provide a distinctive surface pattern of "truncated domes" or cones...

 and accessible traffic signals. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires accessibility improvement on new and reconstructed streets within the US.

In most jurisdictions, bicycles are legally allowed to use streets, and required to follow the same laws as motor vehicle traffic, except those inapplicable by their nature, such as emission inspections. Where the volume of bicycle traffic warrants and available right-of-way allows, provisions may be made to separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic. Wider lanes may be provided next to the curb, or shoulders may provided.
Bicycle lanes may be used on busy streets to provide some separation between bicycle traffic and motor vehicle traffic. The bicycle lane may be placed between the travel lanes and the parking lanes, or between the parking lanes and the curb.

Vehicular amenities and roadside hardware

Often, a curb
Curb
Curb may refer to:* Curb , or kerb, the edge where a raised pavement/sidewalk/footpath, road median, or road shoulder meets an unraised street or other roadway.* Curb Records, a record label started by Mike Curb in 1973....

 is used to separate the vehicle traffic lanes from the adjacent sidewalk area. Street signs
Street signs
-Road identity street sign:A street sign is a type of traffic sign used to identify named roads, generally those that do not qualify as expressways or highways. Street signs are most often found posted at intersections, and are usually in perpendicularly oriented pairs identifying each of the...

, parking meter
Parking meter
A parking meter is a device used to collect money in exchange for the right to park a vehicle in a particular place for a limited amount of time. Parking meters can be used by municipalities as a tool for enforcing their integrated on-street parking policy, usually related to their traffic and...

s, bicycle stand
Bicycle stand
A bicycle stand,also called a bike rack, is a device to which bicycles may be securely attached. It may be free standing or securely attached to the ground or some stationary object such as a building. Indoor bike racks are commonly used for private bicycle parking, while outdoor bike racks are...

s, benches
Bench (furniture)
A bench is a piece of furniture, on which several people may sit at the same time. Benches are typically made of wood, but may also be made of metal, stone, or synthetic materials. Many benches have arm and back rests; some have no back rest and can be sat on from either side. In public areas,...

, traffic signals, and street light
Street light
A street light, lamppost, street lamp, light standard, or lamp standard is a raised source of light on the edge of a road or walkway, which is turned on or lit at a certain time every night. Modern lamps may also have light-sensitive photocells to turn them on at dusk, off at dawn, or activate...

s are often found adjacent to streets. They may be behind the sidewalk, or between the sidewalk and the curb.

Landscaping

There may be a road verge (a strip of grass or other vegetation) between the carriageway
Carriageway
A carriageway consists of a width of road on which a vehicle is not restricted by any physical barriers or separation to move laterally...

 (North American English: Roadway) and the pavement on either side of the street on which Grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

 or tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s are often grown there for landscaping
Landscaping
Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, including:# living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly referred to as gardening, the art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beautiful environment within the landscape.#...

. These are often placed for beautification, but are increasingly being used to control stormwater
Stormwater
Stormwater is water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt that enters the stormwater system...

.

Utilities

Although primarily used for traffic, streets are important corridors for utilities such as electric power, communications such as telephone, cable television and fiber optic lines, storm and sanitary sewers, and natural gas lines.

Street numbering

Practically all public streets in Western countries and the majority elsewhere (though not in Japan; see Japanese addressing system
Japanese addressing system
The Japanese addressing system is used to identify a specific location in Japan. In Japanese, addresses are written using the opposite convention from Western addresses, starting with the biggest geographical entities down to the more specific ones....

) are given a street name
Street name
A street name or odonym is an identifying name given to a street. The street name usually forms part of the address...

 or at least a number to identify them and any addresses
Address (geography)
An address is a collection of information, presented in a mostly fixed format, used for describing the location of a building, apartment, or other structure or a plot of land, generally using political boundaries and street names as references, along with other identifiers such as house or...

 located along the streets. Alley
Alley
An alley or alleyway is a narrow lane found in urban areas, often for pedestrians only, which usually runs between or behind buildings. In older cities and towns in Europe, alleys are often what is left of a medieval street network, or a right of way or ancient footpath in an urban setting...

s typically do not have names. The length of a lot of land along a street is referred to as the frontage of the lot.

Interaction

A street may assume the role of a town square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

 for its regulars. Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs
Jane Jacobs, was an American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning and decay. She is best known for The Death and Life of Great American Cities , a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States...

, an economist and prominent urbanist, wrote extensively on the ways that interaction among the people who live and work on a particular street—"eyes on the street
Mass surveillance
Mass surveillance is the pervasive surveillance of an entire population, or a substantial fraction thereof.Modern governments today commonly perform mass surveillance of their citizens, explaining that they believe that it is necessary to protect them from dangerous groups such as terrorists,...

"—can reduce crime, encourage the exchange of ideas, and generally make the world a better place.

Identity

A street can often serve as the catalyst for the neighborhood's prosperity, culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 and solidarity. New Orleans’ Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is a famous and historic street that spans the length of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. When founded in 1718, the city was originally centered around the French Quarter...

 is famous not only for its active nightlife but also for its role as the center of the city’s French Quarter
French Quarter
The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré as it was known then...

. Similarly, the Bowery
Bowery, Manhattan
Bowery , commonly called "the Bowery," is a street and a small neighborhood in the southern portion of the New York City borough of Manhattan...

 has at various times been New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

's main highway, theater district, red-light district
Red-light district
A red-light district is a part of an urban area where there is a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc...

, skid row
Skid row
A skid row or skid road is a run-down or dilapidated urban area with a large, impoverished population. The term originally referred literally to a path along which working men skidded logs. Its current sense appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest...

, restaurant supply district, and the center of the nation
Nation
A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, and/or history. In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government irrespective of their ethnic make-up...

's underground
Underground music
Underground music comprises a range of different musical genres that operate outside of mainstream culture. Such music can typically share common values, such as the valuing of sincerity and intimacy; an emphasis on freedom of creative expression; an appreciation of artistic creativity...

 punk
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 scene
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

. Madison Avenue and Fleet Street
Fleet Street
Fleet Street is a street in central London, United Kingdom, named after the River Fleet, a stream that now flows underground. It was the home of the British press until the 1980s...

 are so strongly identified with their respective most famous types of commerce, that their names are sometimes applied to firms located elsewhere. Other streets mark divisions between neighborhoods of a city. For example, Yonge Street
Yonge Street
Yonge Street is a major arterial route connecting the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto to Lake Simcoe, a gateway to the Upper Great Lakes. It was formerly listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest street in the world at , and the construction of Yonge Street is designated an "Event of...

 divides Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 into east and west sides, and East Capitol Street
East Capitol Street
East Capitol Street is a major street that divides the northeast and southeast quadrants of Washington, D.C. It runs due east from the United States Capitol to the DC-Maryland border. The street is uninterrupted until Lincoln Park then continues eastward to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium...

 divides Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 into north and south.

Some streets are associated with the beautification of a town or city. Greenwood, Mississippi
Greenwood, Mississippi
Greenwood is a city in and the county seat of Leflore County, Mississippi, United States, located at the eastern edge of the Mississippi Delta approximately 96 miles north of Jackson, Mississippi, and 130 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The population was 15,205 at the 2010 census. It is the...

's Grand Boulevard was once named one of America's ten most beautiful streets by the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and the Garden Clubs of America. The 1000 oak trees lining Grand Boulevard were planted in 1916 by Sally Humphreys Gwin, a charter member of the Greenwood Garden Club. In 1950, Gwin received a citation from the National Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Daughters of the American Revolution
The Daughters of the American Revolution is a lineage-based membership organization for women who are descended from a person involved in United States' independence....

 in recognition of her work in the conservation of trees.

Streets also tend to aggregate establishments of similar nature and character. East 9th Street in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, for example, offers a cluster of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese restaurants, clothing stores, and cultural venues. In Washington, D.C., 17th Street and P Street are well-known as epicenters of the city's (relatively small) gay culture. Many cities have a Radio Row
Radio Row
Radio Row is a nickname for an urban street or district specializing in the sale of radio and electronic equipment and parts. Radio Rows arose in many cities with the 1920s rise of broadcasting and declined after mid century.-New York:...

 or Restaurant Row
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

. Like in Philadelphia there is a small street called Jewelers' row
Jewelers' Row, Philadelphia
Jewelers' Row, located in the Center City section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is composed of more than 300 retailers, wholesalers, and craftsmen on Sansom Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets, and on Eighth Street between Chestnut and Walnut streets....

 giving the identity of a "Diamond district". This phenomenon is the subject of urban location theory
Location theory
Location theory is concerned with the geographic location of economic activity; it has become an integral part of economic geography, regional science, and spatial economics. Location theory addresses the questions of what economic activities are located where and why...

 in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

.

As distinct from other spaces

A road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

, like a street, is often paved and used for travel
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

. However, a street is characterized by the degree and quality of street life it facilitates, whereas a road serves primarily as a through passage for road vehicles or (less frequently) pedestrian
Pedestrian
A pedestrian is a person traveling on foot, whether walking or running. In some communities, those traveling using roller skates or skateboards are also considered to be pedestrians. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case...

s. Buskers, beggars, boulevardiers, patrons of pavement café
Café
A café , also spelled cafe, in most countries refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse. In the United States, it may refer to an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches...

s, peoplewatchers, streetwalkers, and a diversity of other characters are habitual users of a street; the same people would not typically be found on a road.

In rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 and suburban environments where street life is rare, the terms "street" and "road" are frequently considered interchangeable. Still, even here, what is called a "street" is usually a smaller thoroughfare, such as a road within a housing development feeding directly into individual driveway
Driveway
A driveway is a type of private road for local access to one or a small group of structures, and is owned and maintained by an individual or group....

s. In the last half of the 20th century these streets often abandoned the tradition of a rigid, rectangular grid
Grid plan
The grid plan, grid street plan or gridiron plan is a type of city plan in which streets run at right angles to each other, forming a grid...

, and instead were designed to discourage through traffic. This and other traffic calming
Traffic calming
Traffic calming is intended to slow or reduce motor-vehicle traffic in order to improve the living conditions for residents as well as to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Urban planners and traffic engineers have many strategies for traffic calming...

 methods provided quiet for families and play space for children. Adolescent suburbanites find, in attenuated form, the amenities of street life in shopping mall
Shopping mall
A shopping mall, shopping centre, shopping arcade, shopping precinct or simply mall is one or more buildings forming a complex of shops representing merchandisers, with interconnecting walkways enabling visitors to easily walk from unit to unit, along with a parking area — a modern, indoor version...

s where vehicles are forbidden.

If a road connects places, then a street connects people. One may "hit the road" to see the wonders of the world
Wonders of the World
Various lists of the Wonders of the World have been compiled from antiquity to the present day, to catalogue the world's most spectacular natural wonders and manmade structures....

Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
Jean-Louis "Jack" Lebris de Kerouac was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic...

 famously chronicled
On the Road
On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, written in April 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of...

 one such journey—but the latest bling will "hit the streets" before it ever appears on a road. It is "on the street" where one hears an interesting rumor
Rumor
A rumor or rumour is often viewed as "an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern" However, a review of the research on rumor conducted by Pendleton in 1998 found that research across sociology,...

, where one bumps into an old acquaintance, where one acquires street smarts
How-to
A how-to or a how to is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish some specific task. A how-to is usually meant to help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic...

. One seldom sees a "road" vendor except of fresh produce, or a "road" performer. You'll never find yourself on a long "street" to nowhere or under assault by a violent "road" gang, hence politicians seldom view with alarm the prevalence of "crime in the roads". The street, not the road is home to the homeless unless they are hobo
Hobo
A hobo is a term which is often applied to a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, often penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike 'tramps', who work only when they are forced to, and 'bums', who do not...

es, and even Kerouac's hero finally returned to find his friends on a New York street.

A town square
Town square
A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town used for community gatherings. Other names for town square are civic center, city square, urban square, market square, public square, and town green.Most town squares are hardscapes suitable for open markets,...

 or plaza
Plaza
Plaza is a Spanish word related to "field" which describes an open urban public space, such as a city square. All through Spanish America, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be...

 is a little more like a street, but a town square is rarely paved with asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 and may not make any concessions for through traffic at all.

Nomenclature

There is a haphazard relationship, at best, between a thoroughfare's function and its name. For example, London's Abbey Road
Abbey Road (street)
Abbey Road is a thoroughfare located in the borough of Camden and the City of Westminster in London, running roughly northwest to southeast through St. John's Wood, near Lord's Cricket Ground...

 serves all the vital functions of a street, despite its name, and locals are more apt to refer to the "street" outside than the "road". A desolate road in rural Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

, on the other hand, may bear a sign proclaiming it "Davidson Street", but this does not make it a "street" except in the original sense of a paved road.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 many towns will refer to their main thoroughfare as the High Street
High Street
High Street, or the High Street, is a metonym for the generic name of the primary business street of towns or cities, especially in the United Kingdom. It is usually a focal point for shops and retailers in city centres, and is most often used in reference to retailing...

 (in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 it would be called the Main Street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

 — however, occasionally "Main Street" in a city or town is a street other than the de facto main thoroughfare), and many of the ways leading off it will be named "Road" despite the urban setting. Thus the town's so-called "Roads" will actually be more street like than a road.

Some streets may even be called highways. Hurontario Street
Hurontario Street
Hurontario Street is a roadway running in Ontario, Canada between Lake Ontario at Mississauga and Lake Huron's Georgian Bay at Collingwood.Within the cities of Mississauga and Brampton, it is a major urban thoroughfare. Between Caledon and Orangeville, it is part of busy Highway 10, which leaves...

 in Mississauga, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada, is commonly referred to as "Highway 10
Highway 10 (Ontario)
King's Highway 10, commonly referred to as Highway 10 and historically as the Toronto–Sydenham Road, is a provincially maintained highway in the Canadian province of Ontario...

" — even though such a highway designation no longer officially exists. This is probably due to the fact that the street is a modern suburban arterial that was urbanized after decades of having the status and function a true highway, so people continued to use the number because of force of habit.

In some other English-speaking countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, cities are often divided by a main "Road," with "Streets" leading from this "Road", or are divided by thoroughfares known as "Streets" or "Roads" with no apparent differentiation between the two. In Auckland
Auckland
The Auckland metropolitan area , in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with residents, percent of the country's population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world...

, for example, the main shopping precinct is around Queen Street
Queen Street, Auckland
Queen Street is the major commercial thoroughfare in the Auckland CBD, Auckland, New Zealand's main population centre. It starts at Queens Wharf on the Auckland waterfront, adjacent to the Britomart Transport Centre and the Downtown Ferry Terminal, and runs uphill for almost three kilometres in a...

 and Karangahape Road
Karangahape Road
Karangahape Road is one of the main streets in the central business district of Auckland, New Zealand. The massive expansion of motorways through the nearby inner city area - and subsequent flight of residents and retail into the suburbs - turned it from one of Auckland's premier shopping streets...

.

Streets have existed for as long as humans have lived in permanent settlements (see civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

). However, modern civilization in much of the New World developed around transportation provided by motor vehicles. In some parts of the English-speaking world, such as North America, many think of the street as a thoroughfare for vehicular traffic first and foremost. In this view, pedestrian traffic is incidental to the street's purpose; a street consists of a thoroughfare running through the middle (in essence, a road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

), and may or may not have pavements
Sidewalk
A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb...

 along the sides.

In an even narrower sense, some may think of a street as only the vehicle-driven and parking
Parking
Parking is the act of stopping a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied for more than a brief time. Parking on one or both sides of a road is commonly permitted, though often with restrictions...

 part of the thoroughfare. Thus, pavements
Sidewalk
A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, footway, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. A sidewalk may accommodate moderate changes in grade and is normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb...

 and road verges would not be thought of as part of the street. A mother may tell her toddlers "Don't go out into the street, so you don't get hit by a car."

Among urban residents of the English-speaking world, the word appears to carry its original connotations (i.e. the facilitation of traffic as a prime purpose, and "street life" as an incidental benefit). For instance, a New York Times writer lets casually slip the observation that automobile-laden Houston Street is "a street that can hardly be called 'street' anymore, transformed years ago into an eight-lane raceway that alternately resembles a Nascar event and a parking lot." Published in the paper's Metro section, the article evidently presumes an audience with an innate grasp of the modern urban role of the street. To the readers of the Metro section, vehicular traffic does not reinforce, but rather detracts from, the essential "street-ness" of a street.

At least one map has been made to illustrate the geography of naming conventions for thoroughfares; street, avenue, boulevard, circle, and other suffixes are contrasted against one another.

See also

  • Built environment
    Built environment
    The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks.The built...

  • Intersection
    Intersection (road)
    An intersection is a road junction where two or more roads either meet or cross at grade . An intersection may be 3-way - a T junction or fork, 4-way - a crossroads, or 5-way or more...

  • Living street
    Living street
    A living street is a street in which, unlike in most 20th century streets, the needs of car drivers are secondary to the needs of users of the street as a whole. It is a space designed to be shared by pedestrians, playing children, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles...

  • Manual for Streets
    Manual for Streets
    In England and Wales, the Manual for Streets provides guidance for practitioners involved in the planning, design, provision and approval of new streets, and modifications to existing ones. It aims to increase the quality of life through good design which creates more people-oriented streets...

    (in the UK)
  • Spreuerhofstraße
    Spreuerhofstraße
    Spreuerhofstraße is the world's narrowest street, found in the city of Reutlingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It ranges from at its narrowest to at its widest...

     (Narrowest street in the World)
  • Pedestrian-friendly
  • Pedestrian street, Auto-free zone

  • Road
    Road
    A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

  • Segregated cycle facilities
    Segregated cycle facilities
    Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

  • Street furniture
    Street furniture
    Street furniture is a collective term for objects and pieces of equipment installed on streets and roads for various purposes, including traffic barriers,...

  • Street reclamation
    Street reclamation
    Street reclaiming is the process of converting, or otherwise returning streets to a stronger focus on non-car use - walking, cycling and active street life. It is advocated by many urban planners and urban economists, of widely varying political points of view...

  • Street suffix
    Street suffix
    A street suffix is the word that follows the name of a street to further describe that street.-Common American street suffixes:* Alley usually refers to a rear service road used as access to garages, service doors, Dumpsters, etc.* Arcade...

  • Urban car
  • Urban street
    Urban street
    There are many factors that make urban streets unique and different from rural or suburban streets. Urban streets have a larger number of pedestrians and bicyclists and are located near businesses and commercial buildings...



External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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