Learn how Arlington County maintains and extends the life of its roadway surfaces.
Navigating Roadway Names
Arlington’s current street-naming system was adopted in 1934. A citizens committee studied the hodgepodge of streets first created in the area by the topsy-turvy development of many unincorporated communities.
The Arlington County Board then implemented a system that eliminated the many duplicated street names—for example, there were 10 roadways called "Arlington Street" and 11 known as "Washington Street"—and retained historic names, setting the pattern for naming streets that remains in effect today.
Understanding the system for naming and numbering streets will make it much easier to find your way around.
- The County is divided into north and south Arlington, generally separated by Arlington Boulevard (U.S. Route 50).
- Numbered streets generally run east-west, parallel to Arlington Boulevard, and north and south designations follow numbered street names. When numbers are repeated, the designation sequence is: street, road, place.
- Named streets generally run north-south, and north and south designations precede street names. These streets are generally named in alphabetical order from east to west starting at the Potomac River, skipping the letters X, Y and Z. When the end of the alphabet is reached, it’s repeated with additional syllables; thus, Oak and Quinn Streets are to the east of Oakland and Quincy, which are in turn east of Ohio and Quantico Streets. Arizona Street is the only four-syllable named street.
- Boulevards, drives and roads are generally major thoroughfares with historically recognized names, most of which were not renamed. Generally, these are the only through streets, unlike numbered and named streets, which tend to be broken up at times and are intended primarily for local neighborhood traffic.
Know What Your Street Used to Be Named? Arlington Public Library has digitized a directory of street names to easily and quickly navigate maps and addresses of the area before the change of the street-naming system in 1934.
An image from a 1935 atlas of Arlington County in Arlington Public Library’s collection shows the new and old street names with the former street names in parentheses.