Addresses, Street Naming Rules, Name Changes
All City of Madison properties are assigned an address. The purpose for uniform street addresses, enable efficient response of emergency vehicles, expedite postal and other delivery services, eliminate confusion, and to locate business places and residences without difficulty or delay.
Madison General Ordinances 10.34 designates the following: City Engineer shall establish and maintain a street address for all parcels in the City of Madison in conformance with this ordinance and in consultation with the U.S. Postal Service Addressing Guidelines. Residential buildings shall take their address off the street upon which they front. Commercial buildings shall take their address off the street from which they gain primary access and primary fire apparatus access to the property. Internal building addresses shall be numeric and approved by the City Engineer in consultation with the Fire Marshal. The City Engineer shall maintain records, including maps and databases, of all street address numbers and street names.
Posting Building Numbers Outside Clearly
All residents must display accurate address numbers visibly outside for fire and safety, per MGO 10.34. If numbers are not clearly posted outside, the property owner will be fined $200.
Street Name Change Process
- New street names shall not duplicate or closely approximate street names already assigned within the City of Madison municipal limits or surrounding areas.
- Postal suffixes, prefixes and directionals shall not be used as street names (example: Terrace St, East Ave).
- Directions (North, South, East, West) shall not be used as a suffix (Yellow St East) nor as the end of the street name (Yellow East).
- Special characters such as apostrophes, hyphens, decimals, or periods shall not be allowed.
- Use the most common spelling of a street name (example: “Dakota”, not “Dacota”; “Wind”, not “Wynd”).
- New street names shall be no longer than 17 character spaces including the Postal approved abbreviated suffix.
- Names which have homonyms (other words pronounced similarly but spelled differently) should not be used on any street (Days Lane / Daze; Air Drive / Heir).
- Two-word names or one-word names that can be confused as two-word names should not be used. This avoids the problem of two words being combined into one word, or vice versa, when entered (Clearlake, Clear Lake, Brookhaven, Baytree). Avoid Compound words.
- Except where historically significant* (*Subjective); Do not use proper names as street names (Joe Montana Road, John Smith Ln).
- No corporation names or a business name shall be approved.
- Where ever possible, use naming themes in subdivisions or even larger geographic areas such as quadrants. Choosing names related to a single theme (e.g., birds, flowers, planets, etc) is suggested as a means of general identification for streets in a subdivision.
- To facilitate easy mapping of street names, short road lengths shall have short street names.
The City of Madison shall remain unbiased in its choice of approving or changing street names as the City has citizens from many diverse cultural backgrounds. Care should be taken to approve street names that are likely not to offend or deter a substantial number of citizens from living in any portion of the City of Madison.
Private Street Naming Signage
View guidance on private street naming signage in MGO 10.34.