Street addresses exist as a means of identifying structures and locations within an urbanized area. The ability to provide clear and unique identifiers for property and assets is critical for provision of services that rely on accurate location data. Most importantly, this includes the dispatch of police officers, fire protection responders, and emergency medical technicians. It also includes mail and package delivery, billing, utility connections, and a means of wayfinding for businesses and residences. Typically, street addresses are more accurate than location finding that is based on intersections or landmarks, as numeric address sequences determine a precise location along a thoroughfare.
At minimum, the street address for any site should consist of an address number, a street name, and a street suffix. In certain instances, a directional prefix and/or suffix may be added to the street name to provide additional clarification. For multifamily or office structures with many tenants, a suite or apartment letter/number is appended to the main address number that references the specific unit.
EBRP Addressing and Street Naming Procedures
Addresses within the City of Baton Rouge and the unincorporated area of East Baton Rouge Parish are assigned or changed by the Department of Development Map Room. The specific assignment is based on a numeric grid that covers the majority of the Parish. North Boulevard and Florida Boulevard constitute the zero point for addresses on north-south roadways; Samuels Road, Scenic Highway, the Mississippi River, and Highland Road constitute the zero point for addresses on east-west roadways (EBRP Addressing System Map
). The City of Central assigns its own addresses using this same grid. In contrast, the cities of Baker and Zachary assign their own addresses, but utilize address grids that are specific to those cities.
Currently, there are over 6,000 unique street names in use within the Parish. Street names are defined as the actual name absent directional prefixes/suffixes, street types, and extensions. Therefore, street names must be unique within a given jurisdiction. One of the duties of the City-Parish Planning Commission is to ensure that names for new thoroughfares in the Parish do not duplicate the names of existing streets. In the past, multiple streets with the same or similar names existed within the Parish, which resulted in confusion during emergency events and mail delivery. To resolve this issue, many streets were assigned new names by the City of Baton Rouge in 1929 and 1942, and by the Parish in 1942 and 1946. The Planning Commission is tasked with the responsibility for reviewing names of proposed streets in an effort to prevent duplicate street names. This includes development and maintenance of a master street name list
. Updates to this official list are coordinated with the cities of Baker, Central, and Zachary. Using the master list, officials in all four jurisdictions of the Parish are able to keep track of the existing names.
Street name and address regulations for the City-Parish may be found in the Unified Development Code under Chapter 13 Streets and Sidewalks
. Specific details are listed in
Section 13.4 Street Names, and Section 13.7 Uniform Grid System. The development and approval of street names through the process of subdividing land is regulated by Chapter 4 Permits and Final Plat Approval
Addressing and Enterprise GIS
As stated, the street address for a site is considered the best means of identifying the location, as addresses are familiar to the public. Addressing is also one of the key foundational datasets of geographic information systems (GIS). A master address repository is the primary table that is used to record, store, and edit address data.
The City-Parish Planning Commission developed the first digital address dataset for East Baton Rouge Parish. A series of field surveys were conducted during 1995 and 1996 to collect the information from which to build the database. Originally, the address data was stored as attributes in the property/lot database. Since that time, address information has been consistently updated as part of the regular workflow of the Planning Commission GIS Division. This is accomplished by coordinating with the Department of Development Map Room. When an address is assigned or changed, the Planning Commission GIS Analysts record the new information in the master address repository. This process is supplemented by reviewing city directories and field surveying in the instance of unclear or missing information.
In the winter of 2009, the City-Parish, through its partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), worked with contractors to develop an address data model. The structure of the data model was developed to adhere to the Federal Geographic Data
Committee (FGDC) address standard. In this model, each address is associated to a geographic point with latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. The result is a separate feature class for address points containing many additional attributes. Once the data model was complete, the contractors began working to digitize more than 150,000 address points. The data was delivered in the summer of 2011, and has since been maintained by the Planning Commission.
As mentioned previously, the cities of Baker, Central, and Zachary assign their own street addresses using various techniques and standards. Additionally, the State of Louisiana assigns addresses to State property as do the two major universities, Louisiana State
University and Southern University. Without coordination between the many stakeholders, addressing efforts can become disparate. To additionally complicate matters, there are departments within City-Parish government that have their own unique needs and requirements
regarding addresses. With these complexities in mind, the next step in address development was to improve coordination among these different groups in an effort to achieve uniform policies, practices, and data integrity.
In the fall of 2010, through its partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the City-Parish contracted Intergraph® Corporation to conduct a series of “discovery” interviews with representatives from City-Parish departments, Baker, Central, and Zachary to discuss their needs associated with civic address management. To fulfill the contract agreement,
Intergraph® delivered an assessment and recommendation report
to the City-Parish in April 2011.
One of the first accomplishments that occurred after delivery of the assessment was the creation of the Civic Address Committee
(CAC). In the summer of 2011, the Office of the Mayor-President directed the Planning Commmission, Department of Development (formerly DPW Permits and Inspections) and the East Baton Rouge Parish Communications District (E911) to initiate Civic Address Committee meetings, and the first meeting was held on July 20, 2011. To ensure consistency in Parishwide address management, the Committee invited officials from the cities of Baker, Central, and Zachary, and LSU and Southern University. The CAC met regularly for over two years to discuss and document addressing best practices. Inter-agency collaboration significantly improved address assignment and street naming procedures, and as a result there is now one address point layer for the whole of East Baton Rouge Parish. This data is regarded as the authoritative address data for the Parish and is used in many lookup tools and web maps. Today, the Civic Address Committee meets on a quarterly basis to resolve address related issues.