Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Colesville Road...or Columbia Pike... or Route 29?

I was looking at Four Corners on Google Maps the other day and I noticed that Colesvile Road was was partially mislabeled as "Columbia Pike" as far south as Sligo Creek.  It got me thinking about the various names we use to describe U.S. Route 29, one of the major highways passing through our community.  Which names are correct, and which ones are used the most often?            

Google isn't sure what to call Route 29 through Four Corners.  Image from Google Maps.


U.S. Route 29 leaves D.C. heading north on Georgia Avenue through downtown Silver Spring.  At the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, U.S. 29 turns north onto Colesville Road. where it remains on the same highway all the way to Ellicott City.  Georgia Avenue continues north as Maryland Route 97, which runs to the Pennsylvania border in Carroll County.  The short stretch of Colesville Road between 16th Street NW and Georgia Avenue is designated as Maryland Route 384, which is one of the shortest numbered highways in the state, its total length being just over half a mile.  

Route 29 is designated as Colesville Road from Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring to Northwest Branch in Burnt Mills.  The name Columbia Pike begins at Northwest Branch and continues north with U.S. 29 to the route's terminus at Old Frederick Road in Ellicott City.  Since the name begins north of Northwest Branch, Columbia Pike doesn't pass through Four Corners, and this blog will not refer to any stretch of Route 29 within Four Corners as Columbia Pike.          

Those are the official names of the road, but what names are used most often?  For the purposes of writing, I normally refer to U.S. 29 as "Colesville Road" when talking about something within Four Corners.  However, when talking about the entire length of the road or something outside of Four Corners, I use "Route 29".  I do this because I find it more appropriate to use a road's name when talking about it in a neighborhood context: "The crosswalk on Colesville Road between Indian Spring and North Hills of Sligo".  When speaking in a more regional context, using the the route's number is a more suitable designation: "traffic is bad on Route 29 this morning".

What do you think?  Do you prefer to use a road's name, or its route number, and in what context?  


1 comment:

  1. Before the current route of US 29 was completed, Colesville Rd. actually passed through Colesville taking a western bend to follow the path of the road now called New Hampshire Ave. Additionally, the road now called "Adelphi Rd." by the UMCP was also officially called "Colesville Road" until the 1960s. A 1950s map will confirm those facts.

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