What's the Difference Between an Avenue, a Road and a Boulevard?

Have you ever wondered why the road you live on may be called an avenue, a boulevard, a road, or a court instead of a plain old street? Was it the whim of your neighborhood’s developer or the town council? Actually, the name bestowed upon a road depends upon its size and function. A road, for example, is a path that connects two points. Generally, roads head out of town or away from the heart of a city. A street is a public road with buildings on both sides. That means that a street is also a road, but a road isn’t necessarily a street. Confused yet? Avenues generally run perpendicular to streets, but also have trees and buildings on both sides. Each municipality decides in which direction to place its streets and avenues. In Manhattan, for example, avenues run north and south, while streets run east and west. In Denver, it’s the opposite. Now, for those other pesky passage names: 

  • • Boulevard: A wide street with trees and other vegetation on one or   both sides and, often, a median to divide traffic. 
  • • Court: A street ending in a loop or a circle, aka a cul-de-sac. 
  • • Crescent: A winding, curved road that typically attaches to another road at each end. 
  • • Drive: A long road that winds around a geographical feature such as a river or mountain. 
  • • Lane: A narrow road that typically leads to a residential zone. Lanes are often found in rural areas. 
  • • Place: A road or street with a dead end that's not a loop or circle. 
  • • Terrace: A street following the upper portion of a slope. 
  • • Way: A small street branching off a road. These passages are usually short and often feature a dead end. 

Bonus! The most commonly used road names in the United States are Main, First, Second, Park and Maple.