Playing Both Sides of the Street

On May 29, 2010 · 7 Comments

Dinosaur that I am, I still get a print copy of the newspaper each morning. We’ve laughed about that before and it’s an old-school habit I’ll likely not break until the publisher itself gives up on the media. I’m no Luddite and I’ve left behind a huge digital wake as I’ve cruised the Intertubes but I still like to start the day with the crinkle of paper on my fingers and a strong cup of coffee nearby.

So what does that have to do with you?

I’m just about to get to that…

Occasionally I come across a print article that looks like it would fit directly within the subject matter of the Twelve Mile Circle, the only difference being that it’s written by someone who actually knows how to write. I discovered just such an article this morning, and you’re in luck because it’s also available online.

I think you’ll enjoy reading: Playing Both Sides of the Street – District streets that border states create jurisdictional confusion.



It describes the situation along Washington, DC’s border with Maryland where, literally, residents on one side of the road live in the District and residents on the other side live in Maryland. Those of us who have studied the boundary stones realize that the border doesn’t go down the middle of the street, rather the District owns the street, but we are probably a razor-thin slice of the population. Neither Mapquest nor Google Maps seems to have sufficient detail to represent that nuance correctly, by the way. I’m sure that doesn’t help things

Anyway hijinks and hilarity ensue confusion sometimes leads to genuine public safety issues but overall the residents seem to enjoy living along an anomaly. I know I would! That would be so cool if my house was in one jurisdiction but my sidewalk was in another.

On May 29, 2010 · 7 Comments

7 Responses to “Playing Both Sides of the Street”

  1. Greg says:

    Excellent find. I knew that the border seems to bisect properties, but I wasn’t sure what the practical implications of that were. Thanks for posting it.

    • @wangi: Indeed, that’s just the kind of topic I find endlessly fascinating. Thanks for the link — I may feature it in a future post (giving you full credit for pointing it out, naturally).

  2. Love that Scottish border quirk.

    And as for the Washington Post article, yes, fascinating — thanks for the link (I think if I had the choice, I’d live on the Maryland side — I want representation in Congress and a local government whose decisions can’t be overridden by Congress) — but don’t sell yourself short. You know how to write, and very well, too.

  3. Matthias says:

    Check this out: the two sides of the street (the one over the Rue Nationale, it’s quite unclear because Google isn’t precise enough, but it’s true) belong to two different countries: France and Germany.



    Agrandir le plan

    The border doesn’t appear anymore because of Europe and Schengen, but it’s still an oddity!

    • @Matthias: It’s a great oddity even with the Schengen agreement in place, so I definitely appreciate you pointing it out. I wonder though, how did they control the border before Schengen? It must have been an amazingly porous border even then… I can’t imagine they would have placed a wall down the middle of the road. Hmm…

  4. KCJeff says:

    Interesting situatuion in Kansas City in 2009, a convienence store sat directly on top of the MO-KS state line. To save on taxes and not be subject to ridiculous Kansas liquor laws it moved 50 feet across the parking lot, to reside entirely in Missouri.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=27+southwest+blvd,+kansas+city,+ks&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.626896,50.976562&ie=UTF8&ll=39.072128,-94.607426&spn=0.001006,0.001556&t=h&z=19

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