Bonus List


U.S. cities vary widely regarding their street layouts. Many cities in the Great Plains and valleys in the West have a lot of straight streets, especially their major streets, while cities on the East Coast (or Honululu, which has complex terrain) have a lot of streets that are curvy, crooked or frequently switch direction. While most streets (except in some central business districts) in the Midwest and West are aligned with the compass directions (north, east, south, west), few streets on the East Coast or in the Appalachians are aligned that way. (Bonus points are given in the "straightest streets" list for streets aligned with the compass direction, partly because they usually keep that alignment for long distances; thus, they are more straight.)

And, yes...these lists are quite subjective; other people might rank these cities differently or include smaller cities which aren't on this list but have either really straight streets (Hutchinson, Kansas) or really crooked and curvy streets (Charleston, West Virginia; both Hutchinson and Charleston might be #1 in their respective lists if smaller cities were included).

Despite nearby mountains, Salt Lake City's streets are so straight that they are named after addresses. Thus, drive on a street called 600 South, and your cross streets (such as 700 East) will all have addresses of around 600 South near the intersection (that method of naming streets usually only works where the streets are really straight).

In contrast, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with its large hills, forces many streets which might start out straight to bend or curve after a short distance. There are some exceptions, but not many.

Straightest Streets:

1. Salt Lake City, Utah
2. Phoenix, Arizona
3. Chicago, Illinois
4. Laredo, Texas
5. Lubbock, Texas
6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7. Fresno, California
8. Miami, Florida
9. Detroit, Michigan
10. Denver, Colorado

Least-Straight Streets:

1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
3. Springfield, Massachusetts
4. Providence, Rhode Island
5. Worcester, Massachusetts
6. Raleigh, North Carolina
7. Hartford, Connecticut
8. Charlotte, North Carolina
9. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
10. Cincinnati, Ohio

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Copyright 2005 Brandt Maxwell.