Addressing - Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Address Format

Street addresses can be formatted in many different ways. However, there are significant advantages that could be realized if all addressing entities in the County followed the same address formatting rules. A standardized format, for example, would reduce the opportunity for errors when addresses for an emergency service request are being reported and entered into a computerized dispatch system. It would also reduce confusion and misinterpretation by members of the general public when addressing mail or communicating address information. Finally, a standard format for addresses would simplify the maintenance, exchange and interpretation of computerized address files in both the public and private sectors of the County’s business community.

  1. Component Order

    Components of a street address should always be in the following order: address number, directional prefix (if any), street name, street type, directional suffix (if any), and unit number.

    For example: 12345 W 119th St Apt 24

  2. Address Numbers

    Where possible, address numbers should consist entirely of numbers. Where that is not possible, an alpha-character added to the end of the address (without any separating space) is preferable to a fraction. As a general rule, characters other than letters and whole numbers should be avoided in all parts of the address (even hyphens should be avoided).

    For example: 2456A is preferable to 2456 1/2

  3. Directional Prefixes

    The general pattern in the County is that east-west streets use "west" as the directional prefix and north-south streets do not use any directional. This pattern should be followed unless there is a clear, localized pattern to the contrary. Dual directionals such as northwest or southeast are also not typically used in the County and should be avoided.

  4. Directional Suffixes

    The use of a directional suffix (e.g. 4550 Lake Rd West or 4550 Lake Rd East) is strongly discouraged. A better solution is to use either a directional prefix or separate street names (e.g., 4550 Bayside Rd or 4550 Cliffside Rd).

  5. Street Types

    Every street should be assigned one (and only one) street type. Preferably, each street name should have a street type that is used consistently or have a street type that is based on a logical pattern of street types. The exception to this rule is where street type is needed to distinguish between two streets in the same area with the same name (e.g., Maple St and Maple Ct).

    A common practice in the County is to drop the street type where it is not needed for uniqueness (e.g., "9600 Metcalf" rather than "9600 Metcalf Ave"). However, this usage pattern should not be used as an excuse to not assign a street type to every street.

    Where a street has two street types (e.g., 87th Street Parkway), the first "type" should be considered part of the street name and the second should be the official street type (e.g., "87th Street" is the street name and "Parkway" is the street type).

  6. Abbreviations

    It is recommended that directionals and street types always be abbreviated, but that street names never be abbreviated. This will help to reduce confusion where street names could be mistaken for a directional or type. For example, 12345 W 125th Ter is preferred over 12345 West 125th Terrace. As a more complicated example, 10600 East Metcalf Frontage Rd is better than 10600 E Metcalf Frontage Road because "East Metcalf Frontage" is the street name and "Rd" is the street type.

    Unless there are strong reasons for doing otherwise, it is recommended that the standard Postal Service abbreviations be used.

    Standard Street Type Abbreviations
    Avenue Ave Boulevard Blvd
    Circle Cir Court Ct
    Drive Dr Highway Hwy
    Lane Ln Parkway Pkwy
    Place Pl Roads Rd
    Street St Terrace Ter
  7. Numeric Street Names

    Numeric street names (e.g., 75th) should be written using numbers rather than spelled out. For example, "1st St" is preferable to "First St". In addition, numeric street names should include the "th", "rd", "st" or "nd" characters as part of the street name (e.g., 9900 W 120th St is preferable over 9900 W 120 St).