Seriously, folks

I was just doing a little research on the street layout in Downtown Seattle for my WIP. I grew up here in the Seattle area, but don't live smack downtown and I've always struggled with directions down there. Honestly, I've been known to get lost driving to the mall which is three tenths of a mile away, so getting turned around in Seattle is par for the course. Still, I think Seattle is particularly difficult. I remember when I moved to Santa Barbara and marveled that the blocks were all exactly the same size - and straight! Unbelievable!!!

But now, I finally know WHY the city is so difficult. First off, here's a description of the street layout, compliments of Wikipedia:

The old town of Seattle is bounded by Elliott Bay on the west, Yesler Way on the south, Denny Way on the north, and Broadway on the east, which encompasses all of Downtown, Belltown, the Denny Regrade, and parts of Pioneer Square and First Hill. The grid is oriented 32 degrees west of north from Yesler Way north to Stewart Street from Alaskan Way east to 3rd Avenue, Olive Way from 3rd Avenue east to 7th Avenue, and to Howell Street from 7th Avenue east to Denny Way. North of there, but south of Denny Way, the grid is oriented 49 degrees west of north.

Um, yeah.... so, the reason why I go downtown and have to check my nav, my compass, and stop and ask for directions three times and then call my sister and double check the directions is because the three guys who founded the city couldn't agree on a grid. So, what do they do? They each make their own grid on their own piece of land and we now have three grids that orient completely different ways and confuse the heck out of people like me who have been known to drive from Seattle to Northgate via Queen Anne Hill to the west and maybe even end up on the 520 bridge headed to Bellevue. It happens.

Plays well with others - it's important, folks!


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