Aiming to fix head-scratching addresses
If you plan to visit Judith Prakken and her husband, William, save some time and frustration by writing down their directions or use an online locator.
The address of the couple’s home of more than three decades is in the cul-de-sac of Country Club Park Road. But the home’s address doesn’t correspond with the addresses of any of its neighbors. It’s an issue that has thwarted the occasional repairman and pizza delivery employee.
“When a new person is visiting us, I try to preface the comments that (corresponding addresses) are nowhere near us,” Judith said. “They often think, ‘I don’t have to write this down.’ We have a set of directions that we wrote down that we kept by the telephone that we learned that would get them here.”
The Prakkens’ dilemma is hardly unusual in Mesa County.
Years of housing development infill and an expansion of Grand Junction’s city limits has created scores of addresses and roads that make it difficult even for longtime locals to make sense of. For example, F Road turns into Patterson Road and back to F Road as it traverses east to west. From downtown, head north on Seventh Street and it turns into 26 1/2 Road. In that same vein, First Street morphs into 26 Road. Numerous home addresses are attached with 1/2, and it’s common to find lettered roads that end in any combination of fractions, 3/8, 5/10 or 1/4. Some next-door neighbors along Patterson Road have addresses that alternate between F Road and Patterson Road.
City, county and local United States Postal Service officials long ago viewed the addressing inconsistency as a problem. Fortunately, emergency workers use new technology such as Global Positioning Systems to help workers quickly locate the most perplexing addresses.
As city and county planning workloads have diminished because of a lethargic economy and a slowdown in new construction, a movement is under way to rectify the county’s addressing fiasco.
“It’s something that we would have never tackled in 2007 or 2008,” Grand Junction’s Public Works and Planning Director Tim Moore said. “This is something we’ll spend a lot of time on with the people. It’s a complex problem that has to have a lot of community input. We think it’s a great time right now to put some resources to look at this.”
Mesa County and the city have separate address grids. County roads that run north to south are calculated by their distance in miles from the Colorado-Utah border. Roads that run east to west are listed alphabetically from A–X in the Grand Valley. The city’s address grid works outward from First Street and Main Street using 100 numbers per block, though the number of blocks within each mile varies.
Problems arise as the city expands into the county. Or, as development occurred, new construction was allowed to continue placing 1/2 after home addresses, a practice that is still occurring. Addresses may continue to be added piecemeal until a protocol is defined.
Those 1/2 addresses wreak havoc on the Postal Service because its equipment does not differentiate between half and whole numbers and combines the two for distribution. Private mail carriers and some utility services use the Postal Service’s database, which can make it confusing for packages to be delivered or for residents to get services.
Residents with 1/2 in addresses have reported problems obtaining Internet service.
If officials are ready to tackle the address issue, what would new addresses look like?
Would residents and business owners have a choice?
And where do they start: major roads or residential neighborhoods?
Planning officials want to start culling those questions and more.
City officials got a taste of the workload while businesses along the current Riverside Parkway were tasked with changing over addresses from the former River Road.
“The lesson there was to give folks a whole year, then transition,” Moore said. “That seemed to happen pretty well.”