Many addressing systems use two baselines – one running east and west, the other running north and south. The address gives people an idea of how far the road is located from a baseline, making it easier to find a building or lot. An address of “18601” usually means the lot is located about 18.6 miles from the baseline. In baseline systems, streets that generally run north- south will have one set of suffixes, while streets that generally run east-west have another set. Salt Lake City and many other Utah cities take the baseline system to its limits, where street addresses and names are essentially just coordinates (“4550 East 6300 South” is a typical address in SLC.)
Occasionally, a baseline system is adopted for a county, but only a few municipalities adopt it. In Erie County, New York, only Hamburg, Orchard Park and Clarence use the Erie County address grid; other towns still use the quick n’ dirty Buffalo system, where street addresses start at “1” from the point of origination, and go up by a digit every 20 feet. The towns that use the grid have high address numbers, while the other towns have the traditional 1-2-7-9-12-13 sequencing.
With addressing systems that don’t use baselines, if street addresses on an existing road start at “1”, and a new road is built from the main road away from the original street, that road is given a new name. You end up with the confusing situation where streets change names frequently