Lakewood: Township Tackles Issue of Similar Sounding Street Names

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Lakewood, NJ – Did your son say he’s visiting a friend on Forest Avenue or Forest Drive? That’s nowhere near as confusing as an emergency responder pondering if the dispatcher said Grand Avenue or Grant Avenue. These are some of the recent street name confusions that have come to light.

Lakewood is not the only town that has similar named streets only to be differentiated by suffixes such as Avenue, Court, Lane or Road. This has been the common practice for many years for municipalities throughout the United States. That being said, Lakewood’s governing body is looking to make a change.

“I have instructed the administrators of both the municipal zoning board and planning board to double check on any and all new proposed street names,” says Mayor Menashe Miller. “They should not be similar in nature or phonetically confusing with another roadway.”

While this is certainly welcoming news, Matzav has learned that some of the similar sounding names are actually not new, but have been names of paper streets that have been on the books for years but were only recently developed. Such street names would need to undergo a municipal ordinance or resolution at a Township Committee meeting to nullify the previous name and establish a new one.

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  1. can we do away with street names once and for all.just numbers. 1st street,2nd street, etc.. or if you must use words, make the streets alphabetical.

  2. also may an organized system e.g all the names in one area only should be named for flora or the first letter of the names should be the same

  3. Streets should have not only a name but also an alphanumerical code, which can easily be spelled on the radio or phone, and even on a noisy connection (use alpha-bravo). English alphabet plus digits is 36 options, we may want to reduce confusion and put restrictions e.g. about O and 0 like is done in car plates, or I and 1. But even if we only use 30, two-letter codes are 930, three letters code are 27930, four-letter codes are 837930 and it’s very quick to spell a short code. Forest Ave and Forest Dr would have completely different codes, and a mistake would be quickly corrected. Another thing, every street plate should have the indication of the town, in suburban areas it’s not always obvious.

    What would be the cost of the stickers to implement this, and make available the list, both printed and searchable, for emergency dispatchers? With the added bonus of facilitating all drivers in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. How does that expense and effort compare with even one person having extra healthcare costs – and sometimes worse – because of a delay in the ambulance finding them?

    I personally know a lady who, while her husband was on the phone trying to give directions to the ambulance driver, gave birth all by herself in the home, they lived in the hills and the siren could be heard in the background but the paramedics could not find the address and when they finally showed up, they found a newborn already! An alphanumerical code would be a double-check which might occasionally make the difference and it’s easy and cheap to implement. Stories like the baby birth are very sweet and make us smile, but sometimes a doctor and paramedics are really needed with urgence.

  4. Part of the problem in Lakewood is that the similar streets are in different parts of the town. So, if you make a mistake, you have to drive across town to the correct street.

    For example: Eden Court is off County LIne Road and Eden Lane is in the 9 south area. Ridge Avenue is off E. 7th St. and Ridge Court is off N. Lake Drive.


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