# Longest city block in the world is in my hometown?

For much of my life, I have heard that my hometown of Charleston, WV has the longest city block in the world. However, I have never found any proof that the claim is true.

This is one of several websites stating the rumor anyway.

I have not been able to find an online reference to the actual length of the city block, so I drove on it myself and measured it with a trip odometer: just over a half mile. Here is a MapQuest image of the block which at a glance indicates roughly a half mile length given the map scale. This is about 5 times the length of what I would consider to be the average length of one side of a city block, but is it really the longest in the world?

So, what’s the Straight Dope?

I suspect Mt. Isa, Queensland would have that beat:

The site doesn’t say if the road is divided into blocks, or if it’s just one long one.

Everything I can find indicates that it is true. However, there are a ton of sites that say that the widest road in the world is in Brasilia, Brasil “160 cars can drive side by side they say” and yet it is just a few roads running parallel with space in the middle, smaller than some of our U.S. interstate highways.

That makes me take these things with a grain of salt. I am sure that their is a huge row of houses in the slums of Mexico for example that might be a contender too if anyone could agree on a definition.

A block is defined by having no other roads crossing or joining it, ie it is a solid block. The Mt Isa-Camooweal road has numerous other roads terminating on it. Of course the longest section between roads are well over half a mile, by at least a factor of 10 from memory. So by that standard these are the longest city blocks.

Of course this is just nonsense. This isn’t a city road. It is lined on both sides by savanna and cow paddocks. And as such it isn’t a city block either. It may be technically a block within city limits but that is not at all the same thing.

Good point, Blake. Yes, many roads within city limits contain longer than half mile lengths of uninterrupted roadway (i.e. no intersections). But, I want to know if Charleston, WV has the longest section of uninterrupted block in an inner city urban environment where buildings are crammed next to each other and whatnot.

I believe you still have a good chance of claiming the title. However, I think you will understand that the types of “ad-hoc” criteria that you just gave are difficult to judge based on their wording and the fact that most areas of the world don’t have easily searchable documents like the U.S.

“inner city urban environment where buildings are crammed next to each other and whatnot” is a tough thing to put on a checklist to give to researchers to go out and verify.

Yeah, but “developed” is a valid criterion. Because somebody has decided to incorporate a thousand square miles or so of prairie into a city’s limits does not make it “developed.” And what ArchitectChore specifies here is what urban planners and geographers would use the term “developed” of.

So the revised criteria are: longest area between intersecting streets, the land area between them being developed, and not a limited access highway which would in the natural course of things have a mile or so at minimum between interchanges.

Given those terms, can we identify something?

Perhaps this is why the link in the OP states that the block “is considered to be the longest block in the world.”

I think that is one thing that we can state as complete fact. Many “consider it to be” the longest in the world.

I am not making fun of the question or anything like it. It just seems like every time we investigate one of these types of questions, someone comes up with a trump card in Malaysia or something or the discussion devolves to the point where you can’t draw a good line for any other the question’s criteria. I know that several of these types of pronouncements have turned out to be incorrect or at least misleading (see widest road; steepest street).

Given those terms, I believe there is a factual answer to the question I posed. But, like Shagnasty pointed out, this is not a topic that can easily be researched.

Using your Mapquest map in your link, and clicking on it to make it bigger , you find that Virginia St at that point appears to have a “street”(Manor Pl) intersecting it. Running parrallel to it are two other streets that appear to have no intersecting streets–Quarrier and Lee Streets. Why aren’t they the longest?

samclem, Manor Place is more like a sidewalk. Well, one can’t drive on it at least, but it has it’s own roadsign anyway (and a MapQuest designation). I’ve never walked on it but I think it leads to an apartmet complex. Quarrier and Lee streets are roughly the same length but all the sources I find say that Virginia Street is the longest side of a block.

All of those streets are one way traffic. I have a friend who once lived near the west end of the 1500 block of Quarrier St. which is one way heading west. Since I was always heading east to get there, it was a bit annoying to drive all the way around that long block to park there in his driveway.

Likewise, Lee and Viginia streets are one way heading east.