Broad landscaped avenue that typically permits several lanes of vehicular traffic as well as pedestrian walkways. The earliest boulevards originally followed the city walls (the word originally meant “bulwark”) and were built in the ancient Middle East, especially at Antioch. In Paris, straight and geometrically precise boulevards were incorporated into design principles taught at the École des Beaux-Arts, and they form a prominent feature of the city. Similar boulevards are found in other cities such as Washington, D.C. Formal curving boulevards are a feature of such cities as Vienna and Prague.
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Boulevard (French, from Bolwerk – bolwark, meaning bastion) has several generally accepted meanings. It was first introduced in the French language in 1435 as boloard and has since been altered into boulevard.
In this case, as a type of road, a boulevard (often abbreviated Blvd) is usually a wide, multi-lane arterial thoroughfare, divided with a median down the center, and "roads" along each side designed as slow travel and parking lanes and for bicycle and pedestrian usage, often with an above-average quality of landscaping and scenery. The division into peripheral roads for local use and a central main thoroughfare for regional traffic is a principal feature of the boulevard. Larger and busier boulevards usually feature a median.
Baron Haussmann made such roads well-known in his re-shaping of Second Empire Paris between 1853 and 1870. The French word boulevard originally referred to the flat summit of a rampart (the etymology of the word distantly parallels that of bulwark). Several Parisian boulevards replaced old city walls; more generally, boulevards encircle a city center, in contrast to avenues that radiate from the center. Boulevard is sometimes used to describe an elegantly wide road, such as those in Paris, approaching the Champs-Élysées. Famous French boulevards: Avenue Montaigne, Montmartre, Invalides, Boulevard Haussmann. Frequenters of boulevards were sometimes called boulevardiers
In many places in the United States and Canada, municipalities and developers have adapted the term to refer to arterial roads, not necessarily boulevards in the traditional sense. In California, many so-called “boulevards” extend into the mountains as narrow, winding road segments only two lanes in width. However, boulevards can be any divided highway with at-grade intersections to local streets. They are commonly abbreviated Blvd. Some celebrated examples in California include:
In Chicago, the boulevard system is a network of wide, planted-median boulevards that winds through the south, west, and north sides of the city and includes a ring of parks. Most of the boulevards and parks are 3–6 miles from The Loop. Queens Boulevard, Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, all in the borough of Queens, in New York City, and Roosevelt Boulevard in the Northeast section of Philadelphia are typically referred to as “The Boulevard.” The section of Côte Saint-Luc Road that is located in Westmount, a suburb of Montréal, Québec, is also referred to as “The Boulevard,” as was the majority of Broadway (New York City) in the 19th century. Kansas City, Missouri, is famous for having more boulevards and avenues in the world than any city (if the term is used lightly) except Paris, France.
Nineteenth century parkways, such as Brooklyn’s Ocean Parkway, were often built in the form of boulevards and are informally referred to as such. In some cities, however, the term “boulevard” does not specify a larger, wider, or more important road. “Boulevard” may simply be used as one of many words describing roads in communities containing multiple iterations of the same street name (such as in the Ranchlands district of Calgary, where Ranchlands Boulevard exists side-by-side with Ranchlands Road, Ranchlands Court, Ranchlands Mews, etc.)
Melbourne has at least four roads named “the Boulevard.” These are, generally, long roads with many curves which wind alongside the Yarra River. In addition, the spelling of boulevard with an extra ‘e’ is common, for example the Southlands Boulevarde shopping centre in southern Sydney.
Tel Aviv, established in 1909, was originally designed along the guidelines set out by architect Sir Patrick Geddes. Geddes designed a green or garden ring of boulevards surrounding the central city, which still exists today and continues to characterize Tel Aviv. One of the most famous and busy streets in the city is Rothschild Boulevard.
Due to city planning and physical geography, the U.K. has a lack of boulevards. After the Great Fire of London, London was supposed to be formed of straight boulevards, squares and plazas which are seen in mainland Europe, but due to land ownership issues these plans never came to light. Boulevards in London are rare but examples, such as Blackfriars Road, do exist. Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, is one of only a handful of examples where boulevards are a key feature. This is due to Milton Keynes being built as a modern new town in the 1960s.
Tree lawn: Another use for the term boulevard is for a strip of grass between a sidewalk and a road, and located above a curb. Though in Europe the two are often adjacent, many residential neighbourhoods in the United States and Canada feature strips of grass or other greenery between the sidewalk and the road, placed in order to both beautify the street and to provide a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.