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Author Topic: Allegan County, MI  (Read 3355 times)

ce929wax

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Allegan County, MI
« on: March 01, 2013, 11:44:09 PM »

Reading the thread about the Indianapolis street grid made me curious about another place near where I live.  I grew up in Allegan County, Michigan and have always wondered why the avenues, which run east west across the county, start at 100 and go to 148.  Now, for the record there isn't a 148th avenue because that is the Allegan/Kent or Allegan/Ottawa county line.  There is a 100th Avenue just North of Baseline Road (which is the south county line) on 16th Street South of Otsego.  Each mile is two avenues.  I guess I am curious of the rationale of starting at 100 versus 0.  The best I can figure is that the Southern county line is approximately 50 miles from the Indiana border and each mile being two avenues would equal 100, even though that doesn't really fit either.  If anyone could shed some light to satisfy my curiosity I would appreciate it.
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amroad17

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 11:55:09 PM »

Maybe it is just the way the county has chosen to do this.  I know Kalamazoo County uses letters increasing from north to south on their avenues (or streets--I cannot remember as it has been 10 years since I last went there).  Every mile was a lettered avenue and every half mile was a combination letter, such as X Ave, XY Ave, Y Ave.
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Scott5114

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 03:36:06 AM »

My guess is that by starting at 100, the county is hoping to avoid conflicting with any of the streets in that county's towns. If the county started at 1st St, then that might get confused with a 1st Street in one of the towns, as would 2nd, etc. 100th is high enough that unless there is a fairly large city in that county it shouldn't conflict.

McClain County, OK, also starts at 100, and increases by 10 every mile as you go north. The northern tip of the county is all annexed by Newcastle, so it's kind of hard to say how high it might go; the highest one that is unquestionably accurate is 340th Street. Google Maps shows a 350th Street but it's well into Newcastle, so it probably uses Newcastle's numbering (SW 24th St) in real life.
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ce929wax

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 05:33:39 PM »

Maybe it is just the way the county has chosen to do this.  I know Kalamazoo County uses letters increasing from north to south on their avenues (or streets--I cannot remember as it has been 10 years since I last went there).  Every mile was a lettered avenue and every half mile was a combination letter, such as X Ave, XY Ave, Y Ave.

You have Kalamazoo County right, the avenues start at AB (1/2 mile south of Baseline Rd) and end at Z Ave which is also called  County Line Rd in St. Joesph County.  The streets go from 1st St (1/2 mile east of Vankal St) to 48th Street, which is the Calhoun County line.  I believe the avenues skip A and I as letters, as A is the Northern County Line between Allegan and Barry Counties.  I'm not sure why they skipped I Avenue, unless they were trying to avoid confusion between I Avenue and I-94.

Upon thinking about it, I think that Allegan started with 100 instead of 0 to avoid confusion with Van Buren County.  As far as the numbered streets go Allegan and Van Buren county share the same street grid, meaning that for example 40th street is the same road in both Allegan and Van Buren Counties, but going south from Baseline Road, each quarter mile is an avenue in Van Buren County.  It wouldn't matter so much in far Northern Allegan County or far Southern Van Buren County, but right at the county line if Allegan started at 0 instead of 100 you would have two 2nd Avenues within a mile and a half of each other, although Allegan County uses a green sign blade and Van Buren uses a white sign blade.  That is my theory anyway, I just wanted to know what some others thought.
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bessertc

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 03:47:38 AM »

Sorry for the late reply... better late than never, though! Especially once I let you know just "who" I am.

First, I work for Allegan County in their GIS department. I'm the one that creates the Official Allegan County Road Map (see http://www.chrisbessert.org/portfolio/ ) as well as handle many of the road naming and street addressing tasks as they pertain to the County's GIS. (In fact, I just helped rename several streets and completely re-address the area around one of the County's many lakes the other week!) So, I have some rather in-depth knowledge of this particular topic...  :cool:

The short answer to your question is that, in Allegan County, there are 200 possible street addresses assigned to every mile of roadway. Conforming to the County's street addressing system are the road names of the vast majority of the "section line" and "quarterline" roads. Starting from the eastern county line (with Barry Co.), the first section line one mile to the west is 2nd St, which begins the 200-block of addresses. Halfway between the county line and the first north-south section line is the quarterline road 1st St, or the 100-block. This continues all the way west across the County to Lake Michigan, where 74th St is the 7400-block.

The same 200 addresses per miles also applies to the east-west roads beginning at the southern county line (Baseline Rd) and continuing to the north county line (108th St SW—from the Kent County system) and Ottogan St (as it runs along the Ottawa-Allegan county line). However, to avoid the potentially very confusing situation of having the two 2200-block streets intersecting as 22nd Ave (east-west are Avenues) and 22nd St (north-south are Streets), the numbering of east-west streets started at 100 and increasing two per mile, just as the north-south streets do. This, the intersection of the two 2200-block roadways would be 22nd St (north-south) and 122nd Ave (east-west). This makes it VERY easy for people to figure out where they are with minimal confusion as well as greatly assisting emergency response personnel.

This addressing/naming system is both explained on the Official County Map as well as listed along the east and south margins of the map. As the maps are given away free to the public, anyone who would like the current edition of the Allegan County map sent to them needs only to drop me an e-mail at work (cbessert@allegancounty.org) with your name and mailing address and I'll drop one or two in the mail to you right away! I hope that answered your question...

--
Christopher J. Bessert
chris.bessert@gmail.com
www.chrisbessert.org
www.michiganhighways.org
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HandsomeRob

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 10:04:41 AM »

I also grew up in Allegan County - apparently there is something in the water there.
No, I could have told you that the avenues start at 100 because the streets get the numbers less than 100. Here's a quick map of Allegan County for you:
------148th Ave------
|                   |
|74th            2nd|
|Street       Street|
|                   |
------100th Ave------
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bessertc

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 11:28:12 AM »

I also grew up in Allegan County - apparently there is something in the water there.
No, I could have told you that the avenues start at 100 because the streets get the numbers less than 100. Here's a quick map of Allegan County for you:
------148th Ave------
|                   |
|74th            2nd|
|Street       Street|
|                   |
------100th Ave------


Rob: Thanks for demonstrating that my several rambling paragraphs could be summed up in one concise sentence with an accompanying ASCII-art map!  :nod: (Anyone who knows me knows I can be rather verbose sometimes.) My wife is a physician in Wayland and she would wholeheartedly agree with you there is clearly something in the Allegan County water, but for very different reasons.

Second, is this the same Rob (Rob "M") who created that great set of maps on the development of the US Highway system back at MSU? If so, nice to cross paths with you again! (Also... are you in need any off-site, telecommuting staff where you work? Heck, at this point, I'd enjoy just getting a tour of where you work! Yes. I'm jealous. Anyway... I've digressed.)
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HandsomeRob

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 12:57:45 PM »

Second, is this the same Rob (Rob "M") who created that great set of maps on the development of the US Highway system back at MSU? If so, nice to cross paths with you again! (Also... are you in need any off-site, telecommuting staff where you work? Heck, at this point, I'd enjoy just getting a tour of where you work! Yes. I'm jealous. Anyway... I've digressed.)
Yeah, I've met you once or twice before I think - nice to learn that you are working in my primal stomping grounds. Next time you are in Madison, let me know and I'll be happy to give you a tour of the office.
-Rob
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ce929wax

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Re: Allegan County, MI
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 09:16:31 PM »

Hey Chris,
Thanks for the information, what you have said makes a lot of sense.   I have seen your maps and they are awesome.  I like to draw maps myself, but I do them on paint, but they don't look quite as good.  I'm thinking of downloading Inkscape and drawing them on there, because I can import better graphics.

I would agree with your wife about there something being in the water, but then again I didn't have a good experience growing up there.  Luckily I have escaped to several different states, learned a few things, gotten better manners, and now live in Kalamazoo and am much happier.

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