Q: What's the difference between a street, avenue, parkway, boulevard, way and court? A: Typically it's the direction in which they flow...

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What’s the difference between a street, avenue, parkway, boulevard, way and court?

Typically it’s the direction in which they flow. King County streets generally flow east-west, and avenues north-south, though state law allows different jurisdictions to have different rules regarding how they name their roads. Pierce County, for example, is home to the infamous Street Court, and roads in Kirkland’s downtown flow in the opposite direction of their county counterparts.

Courts ordinarily are dead-end streets, said Janise King, the county’s addressing engineer. And lanes tend to be private roads. As for the rest, she said, there are no hard-and-fast rules, but there are some patterns. Boulevards, drives and parkways usually are longer thoroughfares. Ways often are winding roads that don’t stick to the grid.

King would like to remind all of us to post our addresses visibly outside our homes, to make it easier for emergency workers to find us if need be.

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How do I travel east on Northeast 20th Street/Northup Way from 14150 N.E. 20th St? I think banning left turns along this stretch of road is a great idea, with all the near misses I have observed and experienced. The trouble is, I can’t figure out how to go east when I leave the fish store, beauty supply store or the Chinese restaurant. I have to turn right and head west, but can’t do a U-turn at 140th.

You’ve hit the nail on the head as far as safety goes. Bellevue implemented the change you’ve described along Northeast 20th Street to reduce the number of accidents, said city transportation spokeswoman Barbara Ramey.

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As part of the safety project, a new traffic signal began operating March 11 on Northeast 20th Street at the main entrance to Ross Plaza. The city also added traffic islands to restrict left turns.

“We expect this project, as designed, will have a substantial improvement in safety for all users, not just those making left turns,” said Ramey.

The city looked into building a U-turn at 140th Avenue Northeast, but lacked the money to buy the business on the corner to make enough space, she said.

As a result, some motorists may have to drive around the block to head east on Northeast 20th, but they’ll be safer for it, she said. For those trying to reach Highway 520 at 148th, she suggests turning right on 140th and then hanging a right on Northeast 24th Street to reconnect with 148th and access the freeway.

In last week’s column, we tried to help make sense of the Eastside’s sometimes confounding street layout. Due to a mix-up, however, we may have confused some folks even more. To set the record straight, repeat after me: Streets in Bellevue run east-west. Bellevue’s avenues run north-south.

Early warning

As many as three lanes of Interstate 405 in both directions will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday. The northbound onramp from Southeast Eighth Street will also close during those hours.

The westbound lane of Northeast 24th Street at the Highway 520 overpass will be closed until further notice. Two-way traffic will be maintained.

Both directions of Highway 202 between Highway 520 and 180th Avenue Northeast will be reduced by one lane during daytime closures from 9 a.m. to at least 3 p.m., and nighttime closures from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday. Westbound traffic will be detoured at 185th Avenue Northeast during closures.

Karen Gaudette: 206-515-5618 or kgaudette@seattletimes.com