When we moved to Utah, everyone told us how easy it is to get around. The streets are numbered in a grid starting from Temple Square. One hundred South (or 1st South) is one block south of Temple Square. Thirteenth East (13th East) is 13 blocks East of Temple Square. You can at least get within shouting distance of any address without the help of a map. And they were right – that grid makes a lot of sense and sure saves lots of time. Of course you still have to learn the location of streets with names (they almost always wind around), and learn which streets don’t cross a creek or freeway. But mostly it’s pretty simple.
Then we moved to Charlotte. It’s almost like “they” don’t want me to figure the roads out.
Learning to drive in a new city takes time and determination. I know that. I have a AAA map and I use Google maps to scout out my locations before taking off. After living here for almost three months, I think I have South East Charlotte figured out. Almost.
There are a few major roads – Providence, Monroe, Independence and Sardis. Easy peasy. WRONG.
Our neighborhood is off of Sardis Road. Come out of our neighborhood and turn onto Sardis Road. It then makes a sharp left turn but the road going to the right is Rama Rd. Continue along on Sardis and soon you’re on Fairview and then a while later, you’re on Tyvola. You haven’t turned at all – roads just change names every so often for no apparent reason. Rama Rd. becomes Idlewild, Wendover becomes Eastway. Providence Rd. becomes Providence Rd. South as you head south, then becomes Providence Rd. North right outside of Waxhaw, then becomes N. Broome St., becomes South Main, becomes Old Providence Rd. And of course there’s a North Providence St. also in Waxhaw. And don’t forget Old Providence Rd. (entirely different one) in Charlotte.
And then there are the variations. There is Sardis Rd., Sardis Rd. North (which is perpendicular to Sardis Rd.), Sardis View Rd., Sardis View Lane, Sardis Lane, Sardis Oaks Rd., and Old Sardis Rd. Add some subdivisions: Sardis Forest, Sardis Woods, Sardis Croft, Sardis Grove, Sardis Hills. Aren’t you glad you’re not a fireman trying to find a burning house?
My Master Gardener class meets at Freedom Park, off of Park Rd. I travel down Sardis/Fairview and make a right on Park Rd. The street right before my turn? Park Rd. North.
Then there’s the plantations. There’s Providence Plantation, Reedy Creek Plantation, Plantation Forest, Fairfield Plantation, Catawba River Planation, Callaway Plantation, Ashe Plantation, etc., etc.
Providence Day School is on Saris Rd. There’s Providence Baptist Church – not on Providence – but on Randolph Rd., along with an assortment of Providence roads, lanes, streets, you name it.
There are some actual helpful road names. Marvin Waxhaw Rd. runs between Marvin and Waxhaw. Matthews Township Pkwy. is in Matthews. It then becomes Matthews Mint Hill Rd. as it heads towards Mint Hill. So some of these name changes make sense. Except that Waxhaw Highway runs from Waxhaw to Monroe (the town, not the street) and perpendicular to this is Old Providence Rd. that becomes Old Waxhaw Monroe Rd. that loops around and eventually ends up in Monroe, too. I think I will just decide to never need to go there.
There used to be an intersection in Charlotte of Queens, Queens, Queens, Queens and Queens, but for some reason they changed the name of some of these. Can’t imagine why.
But I can do this. And if I get lost, just make it to one of those major roads and I’ll make it home. I hope.