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Old 04-30-2010, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,259 posts, read 20,859,174 times
Reputation: 9943

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Someone gives you directions: “From Eleventh East, drive west on South Temple to Seventh East. Turn left and go south on Seventh to Thirty-ninth South, and then west on Thirty-ninth South to 398 East.” You start driving and soon you’ll either have reached your destination (398 East 3900 South) or you’ll be wishing someone would just help you find the fastest way out of this crazy town. Relax! Nowhere is there a community more logically planned than Salt Lake City. And logical means easy to understand.

Salt Lake’s unique street numbering system is almost identical in concept to that of longitude and latitude. Think of the point at which the Equator intersects the Greenwich Meridian – in other words, 0 degrees longitude and 0 degrees latitude. On the globe, that zero-point is just south of Ghana off the West African Coast. In Salt Lake City, it’s at Temple Square. Salt Lake is laid out on a simple grid system. Virtually every address in the city has a set of two coordinates telling how far east or west and how far north or south it is from Temple Square (or the corner of Main and South Temple Streets to be exact). Although an address such as 682 East 400 South may look strange to you, just remember that it simply describes a location on the grid. Consequently, both “halves” of the address (“682 East” and “400 South”) are equally significant, the second half being the street name and the first half being a specific point on that street. Even streets with names (Harvard Avenue, for instance) also have a numbered “coordinate.” If you were looking for Harvard Avenue, it would be helpful for you to know that its coordinate is 1175 south.

Driving east from Temple Square, you’ll find that the numbers on the street signs get larger. You’ll come to 5th East, 9th East, 13th East, etc. These streets run parallel to Main Street, which borders Temple Square on the East. Driving south from Temple Square, you’ll reach 4th South, 17th South, 39th South, 45th South, etc. These run parallel to South Temple, which borders Temple Square on the south. The same principle holds true, of course, when traveling north from North Temple or west from West Temple. Simple so far, right?

And yet a couple of things still tend to confuse out-of-towners. To begin with, the street signs will generally say both “Fifth East” (the street name) and “500 East” (the coordinate). In order to make sense of this seeming discrepancy, imagine a decimal point just prior to the two right-most digits. Once you recognize that Fifth East = 5.00 East = 500 East, the battle’s half won. Any way you look at it, you’re talking about a street 5 blocks east Temple Square, running parallel to Main Street. Likewise, 350 West is really 3.50 West. That’s 3 (or 3.5) blocks west of Temple Square. To find a business located at 1633 East 4500 South, look first at the second half of the address. Your destination is located on Forty-fifth South, the street which runs parallel to and is 45 blocks south of South Temple Street. The first part of the address, 1633 East, designates where on 45th South the business is – in this case, 16 and one-third blocks east of Main Street. (That’s over 8 miles – better consider driving!)

This brings us to one last thought. Think of a “block” as a unit of measure. There are just under seven blocks to the mile in Salt Lake. And because a “street” is not necessarily the same as a “block”, it’s important to understand the difference. For instance, if you were walking from Fifth East to Sixth East, you might pass Oak Street. The sign on the corner would give both its name, “Oak Street”, and its coordinate, “525 East” (think 5.25 East). In other words, the distance between Fifth East and Sixth East is one block, while the distance between Fifth East and the first street east of it is only about of a block. See how easy?
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Imaginary Figment
11,457 posts, read 12,348,479 times
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The system is brilliant and extremely easy to get around.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,631 posts, read 53,468,042 times
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Or you can think of it as an XY graph, with the (0,0) point being Temple Square.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:33 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,162 posts, read 10,472,822 times
Reputation: 3969
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
To find a business located at 1633 East 4500 South, look first at the second half of the address.
Something my Aunt (born and raised here ...related to every Tom Dick and Harry you see) taught me this trick.

1 - Add *on* here.
Original = 1633 East 4500 South
New = 1633 East, *on* 4500 South

2 - What is East and West ?
Look at the mountains.
The big ones (usually) are East of you, and are close.
The smaller ones are west of you, and are further from you.

Worked for me.

I wish ....
That there was a rule that ALL streets do have dual identification.
Not ALL streets have their *coordinates* noted .....
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,259 posts, read 20,859,174 times
Reputation: 9943
Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
Something my Aunt (born and raised here ...related to every Tom Dick and Harry you see) taught me this trick.

1 - Add *on* here.
Original = 1633 East 4500 South
New = 1633 East, *on* 4500 South
Yes, that does help. I hear people say something like, "I'm trying to find 450 South 9th. How do I get there?" They seem to think that the last work is kind of a superflous add-on, when it's actually the street name. 9th means NOTHING unless you know that whether it's 9th East or 9th West. "On" makes it clearer. Also -- and this one kills me -- is when people say they couldn't find an address they were looking for on Temple Street. Uh... Which Temple Street were they on?

Quote:
2 - What is East and West ?
Look at the mountains.
The big ones (usually) are East of you, and are close.
The smaller ones are west of you, and are further from you.
Uh huh. I use that a lot when I have talked to tourists (as a volunteer job I used to have required me to do).

Quote:
I wish ....
That there was a rule that ALL streets do have dual identification.
Not ALL streets have their *coordinates* noted .....
Really? I can't think of any that don't have the coordinates.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:56 PM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
5,162 posts, read 10,472,822 times
Reputation: 3969
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Really? I can't think of any that don't have the coordinates.
In my neighbourhood, there are some that only have a name, no coordinate, on the street sign.
Maybe all the newer plates have them both.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:30 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN (Utah transplant)
99 posts, read 206,857 times
Reputation: 81
If you understand how the system works, you don't need a map or GPS to find a numbered address. If somebody says they live at 9000 South and 1300 East, I know exactly where that is; not because i've been there before and know where the roads are, but because 9000 South is 90 blocks south of South Temple, and 1300 Eest is 13 blocks east of Main St (basically).

It truely is like an X,Y axis, if you remember your algebra. South Temple is the X axis running east & west and Main St is the Y axis running north and south.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:26 AM
 
139 posts, read 404,718 times
Reputation: 155
Navigating here is a snap! We were born and raised here, but have lived in several other states and cities, and this is by far the easiest city to get around in.

What makes it nice though is that all the burbs in the valley are on the same grid system, so you don't have to start all over again in Sandy, West Jordan, Murray, etc...

The other beautiful thing is that for the most part the streets don't change names. Redwood Road is Redwood Road for miles and miles, same with State Street, 1300 East, etc.... In most eastern cities, you can drive on the same street, but have it change names evey 3 or 4 miles...so you never know where you are!!!

And if you ever get lost, just look for the mountains! Little mountains to the west, big mountains to the east....it's impossible to get lost! Try looking for the mountains to guide off of in Wichita, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, etc.....
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:47 AM
 
Location: PA/FL/UT
1,294 posts, read 2,711,681 times
Reputation: 520
Of course its not all perfect. I learned the hard way that although this system works fine in Salt Lake County, in Davis County (for example) the grid system restarts with each town's Center and Main Streets (but not all of course, Woods Cross, West Bountiful and N Salt Lake are all based on Bountiful, but it restarts with Centerville then Farmington etc).

But once you do figure it out, it is a very simple way to learn your way around town.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:04 PM
 
223 posts, read 502,692 times
Reputation: 221
But now you have to watch out for navigation systems getting it wrong. I got one with my phone and I've noticed it on Google maps as well (which perhaps where the phone's system got it)...they add an East or South in FRONT of the address. It was so confusing to me until I realized what was going on. So I would be driving and it would tell me to go left on South 13th East for example and so I would turn right, because going south on 13th east meant I should turn right. Or it would tell me to turn right on East 39th south, again I would turn left thinking that to go east on 39th south I needed to go left. I had to learn to tune out the street and just concentrate on the direction to turn. I can just see some out of towner trying to find East 39th South....it will not be on any highway or street sign I can guarantee.

While some other cities it is helpful to have that direction in front of the address it is completely unnecessary and confusing in SLC.
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