Monday, August 23, 2010

Gum Springs Bethel Hickory Grove Green Level New Hope Chapel Church Road

Why do roads have names? In order to help us find and identify them, of course. Keeping that in mind...I'd like to know whose idea it was to name this road "Bethel-Hickory Grove Church Road".

Anyone who does a lot of driving in rural North Carolina (at least in this part of the state) knows that this is actually a fairly common thing. Anywhere you go, you're likely to encounter roads with really long names. Most of the time, they're either named after a landmark located on the road (e.g. Carpenter Fire Station Road. or Green Hope School Road), or are named after the two cities or landmarks that the road connects (e.g. New Hill-Olive Chapel Road, or Morrisville-Carpenter Road). Logical? Sure. My completely unresearched guess is that back in the 1800s, the locals informally referred to roads according to the landmarks on those roads. "Oh, that there tobaccy farm is on the Gum Springs Church road." Chances are, these informal names eventually became the official road names once official road naming became a thing. But that doesn't make it right. Among other things, these road names make giving directions a bit laborious. And, really, it's just dumb. Why not just call it "Hickory Grove Road" instead of "Bethel-Hickory Grove Church Road"? Whose idea was this?

Oh, and how many New Hope Church Roads are there, anyway? I can think of three off the top of my head (here, here, and here). And that's without even leaving the Triangle!

This nonsense has got to stop. Fortunately, some progress is being made around here. Not too long ago, Wake County renamed some of the roads in western Cary and Apex. Green Level To Durham Road is no more! The new name of the road is...Green Level Church Road.

Is this some kind of sick joke? Is this North Carolina's way of pissing off all the non-natives who have moved here in the last decade? Because it's working.

In all fairness, there already was a Green Level Church Road to begin with. Regardless of whether or not there is still an actual "Green Level Church" on Green Level Church Road (I'm not sure), the renaming of these roads wasn't actually meant to shorten road names, as much as it was meant to eliminate a few of the many senseless road name changes that you'll encounter when driving in a straight line on North Carolina roads. And we still have a long way to go on that front. You think you're still driving on Morrisville Parkway? Think you're on Lewter Shop Road! Buwhahaha!!!


Eye of the Frog said...

Don't forget Lynn->Spring Forest, Duraleigh->Millbrook, Millbrook->New Hope, New Hope Church->Buffaloe, Atlantic->Litchford, and Durant->Perry Creek. And those are just the streets we used to live near.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic: I found your blog via the "National Park Rankings" post. I enjoyed that post and several others, most notably the ones describing the Alaska roadtrip. Keep up the spectacularly mediocre work.

-- A reader in Pittsburgh.