Street Jogs and Kitty Corners

Donna Maurer, a fellow usability blogger in Australia, had an interesting comment on Going Postal Mapping. She liked my post but wanted to know what "jogging street" and "kitty-corner" meant. I hadn't realized these were Americanisms.

Jogging streets are streets with sections that do not intersect normally. While travelling along a street, you run into a street, turn right, go a short distance on another street, then turn left back on that first street, which still uses the same name and numbering.

Kitty (or Catty) Corner means diagonal, but is more informal; I often hear it when people describe houses in their neighborhood: My best friend's house was kitty corner from mine.

So I looked for examples of jogging streets, and discovered civil engineers call the actual intersection involved "street jogs", and ran across the Yavapai County standards for residential street jogs [Link removed 09/18/03 - no equivalent page seems to exist now. -- Chad Lundgren.] This page is a bit slow, but has good examples.

Civil engineers do not believe in my rock-chucking test, because the definitions specified minimum, not maximum distance for street jogs. Perhaps street jogs with the sideways travel distance smaller than 125 feet (38 meters) or 150 feet (46 meters) are thought to cause more accidents.

So those standards would probably disallow the Jefferson Street jog that inspired the rock-chucking rule outlined in Going Postal Mapping. It qualifies, as a thought experiment: I didn't actually chuck a rock. According to a friend, many roads in that neighborhood jog since the subdivision was laid out wrong. The section right next to Central, put in later, had to jog. Nothing like sloppy work cast in concrete.

To get back to the broader issue, it's easy to glibly say, I can write international style, I just won't use baseball metaphors. The reality, as usual, is more complicated.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 (Link)


Posted by Jack Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at 07:03 PM

I live in the U.S. and have never heard the term "jogging street." When I encounter a "street" that is broken into separate sections all bearing the same name, I just call that annoying.

When I use "kitty-corner" I simply mean "opposite." If my friend lives kitty-corner to me, he lives across the street from me.

Posted by Monte Mitzelfelt Wednesday, July 31, 2002 at 12:19 AM

World Wide Words and Word Origins both indicate that kitty-corner is an American derivation of catercorner which means diagonal which originally derived from the French quatre or four, so kitty-corner implies diagonally opposite, not just opposite.

Posted by Donna Maurer Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 05:42 AM

Cool - now I get it

Posted by Jack Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 07:59 AM

I'm just going to have to ask my neighbors to move then.

Posted by Roslee Friday, August 2, 2002 at 03:21 AM

How about "andy-godlin"?? It's a phrase my parents used a lot.....the meaning seems to be similar to "catty-wompus" or all jostled, mixed up, twisted up, as in, "he was so restless during sleep that when he woke, he was andy-godlin in the bed(or substitute that catty-wompus). My parents also used "okie-dokie" and were amused by tossing phrases at me that were hip when they were young.....such as "get your trottin' harness on," "the cat's pajamas," "the cat's meow." To my parents hockey was a euphemism for animal excrement, as in "bull hockey!" English is wonderful in that it is constantly changing.