The block is a common term used to explain distances between two places, but very rarely do people know exactly how long a block is.
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If you have heard people referring to a block or have even used the term yourself to describe a certain distance, you may want to know exactly what it means.
If you are curious as to what a block is and how far it truly is, we have everything that you need to know.
How Long Is A Block?
Typically, a block is going to be about 300 to 325 feet long.
However, the length of the block is going to depend on the city that you are in.
This is the problem with using the term block as a unit of measurement.
All units of measurements are required to stay the same.
For instance, if you tell someone that a piece of paper is about a foot long, you will know that means it is about 12 inches long.
However, if someone tells you it is one block to get to the next convenience store, you will not really have a good indication of exactly how far that is.
Of course, if you live in the city and are used to these measurements, you will know about how far this block is, but if you are from out of town, be prepared for there to be some variation.
City Blocks From One City To Another
As we have mentioned, a standard city block is going to be about 315 feet long.
However, this varies depending on where you are located.
A block in Manhattan is about 250 x 900 feet.
For a block in Chicago, it will be more like 324 x 650.
Many cities around the nation have adopted the basic measurement that if you are going to walk eight north/south blocks, it will be about a mile.
However, if you want to go a mile in the east/west direction, it will take about 16 blocks to reach the one-mile mark.
When new cities are planned and developed, this is the standard way you will see these measurements done.
Some cities were built many years ago, and they may have some differences in their overall block sizes and measurements.
In addition, new housing developments may also have unique block sizes that vary from one area of the town to another.
However, most of the time, that measurement right in between 300 and 325 feet is where you will find the standard city block.
If you were an engineer, you would be more likely to think about the size of a city block in square feet.
To make things easier to determine and figure out when planning cities, this measurement is typically about 100,000 square feet for every city block.
When large warehouses and factories are built, it is not an exaggeration to fit a city block inside the building.
How Much Is A Block Away?
If you are lost in a city, you will often hear someone tell you that you just have to go up two blocks and then west two blocks.
This can seem like your location would be very close, but is it?
Understanding the distance of “a block away” will help you know how close you are and about how much time you will need to make it to your destination.
When traveling, this can be especially important so that you make it to your destination on time.
Remember that there is also the distance between the city blocks.
The length of the block does not typically count the distance of the road between the blocks.
Therefore, if each block is about 300 feet, you have to assume an extra 50 to 100 feet between the blocks that will make up the streets that you are crossing.
Also, it is essential to remember that city blocks are typically rectangular in shape.
One way will be short, the 300 or so feet, and the other way is more like 600 to 900 feet, depending on the city that you are in.
How Long Does It Take To Walk A Block?
Now that you have a basic idea of the distance of the block, you may be wondering how long it takes you to walk a block.
Most of the time, it should take about two minutes or so to walk a block.
If you are going to walk about ten blocks, give yourself a good 15 to 20 minutes to get this done.
One of the best ways to tell how long it will take you to walk is to use a distance tracking app like Google Maps.
These apps will tell you how long it takes to get somewhere walking, biking, and even riding in a car.
You will have to assume that the pace of the walker is fairly average.
Most of the time, this pace means that you won’t be breaking a sweat, but at the same time, you won’t be just strolling along either.
Think about an average rate of speed as you walk, and you will be able to manage walking a block in just under two minutes or so.
How Many Miles Are City Blocks?
The nice thing about measuring distance in miles as opposed to blocks is that you can get an excellent indication of exactly how far you need to travel.
Miles are a definite unit of measurement as opposed to a more estimated distance like a block.
Therefore, figuring out how far you need to go based on miles instead of blocks is going to be a bit more accurate.
On average, the basic unit that we use to determine how blocks covert to miles is that five blocks are about a quarter of a mile.
Therefore, it will take about 20 blocks to go one mile.
These are based on NYC city block measurements.
Ten blocks is going to be about a half a mile
For those who want to get their 10,000 steps in during a day, it is essential to ensure that you can get plenty of blocks in during the course of your workday.
Why Are City Blocks Different Lengths?
Looking at the evolution of cities is a very interesting subject in history.
The city that you live in could be a newer city only created within the last fifty or so years, or it could be something that has been around for hundreds of years.
Early cities started to develop in this block-like grid form, and things have not changed even after all of these years.
The blocks allow cities to stay a bit more organized and to properly plan for future expansion and growth.
However, in the early years, city blocks were built a specific way for certain reasons.
Let’s take a look at part of what goes into determining the length of a city block.
The weather in the early cities had quite a bit to do with the way that city blocks were created.
As you can imagine, there was no such thing as air conditioning, and these modern conveniences have really changed the way in which new cities are built.
In the original construction of most cities, the buildings were built to try and stay as warm or as cool as possible when the weather changed.
For instance, in climates where the weather was really warm, the homes were kept lower to the ground to try and get some of the earth to cool the house.
In addition, in areas of the world where the periods of darkness are longer, the buildings were made a bit taller to ensure that they were going to get plenty of light streaming in through their windows.
Weather modifications had to be made to keep people more comfortable and to keep them from struggling with the conditions in the outdoors as they tried to survive.
Type Of City
Some cities are made to be more industrial, and others have a mix of residential life and business.
The type of the city could change the length of each of the blocks.
If the city block is incredibly long, it could be set up that way because of the large trucks that need to park there or the number of people that it will need to house.
In addition, if the block is shorter, maybe it has to do with getting more traffic in and out of the city.
If stoplights are only every few miles, the city might be a smaller city with a lower population.
Overall, the type of the city and the number of people who will live there and work there are going to determine some of what the city block will look like.
Cars And Traffic
Modern city blocks are created with plenty of room to ensure that there is adequate parking.
Since the invention of cars, cities have had to be designed and modified to accommodate the extra traffic.
You have to remember that in older cities like Savannah, the buildings were typically going to have a few horses outside.
The rest of the traffic would be mostly pedestrian traffic.
Today, that has changed dramatically, and these older cities have had to be modified to be able to accommodate modern cars, trucks, and buses.
The older cities tend to have shorter blocks, where newer cities seem to have longer blocks.
The assumption in newer cities is that people will be using some sort of assistance in their traveling.
Whether they are taking a train, a bus, an Uber, or a taxi, it is not nearly as common to ride your horse into town to pick up your groceries.
Of course, there are locations where this is still possible, but it is not the norm, by any means.
Some city blocks are different in size because of preexisting structures or the natural lay of the land.
The structures that were already in place were considered in the layout of the streets, and therefore it led to city blocks that may not be the same distance as some of the others.
In addition, there are times when the land itself is going to impact the way that the city blocks are built.
In areas with lots of hills, mountains, or even water, not all the city blocks can follow the exact pattern or the grid.
Most of the engineers and city designers tried to plan this out before the city was initially built in order to ensure that it worked out and the blocks were done appropriately.
However, the preexisting structures and the lay of the land have a major effect on the design of the city’s streets.
It is a good idea to consider the time a city was built and its location to try and figure out the length of a city block.
Should I Walk Or Drive Five Blocks?
When you have to travel a certain number of blocks to get to work, a meeting, or a store, you may wonder if it is worth walking, driving, or getting a ride.
Really, this will depend on several factors, including your physical condition and wellbeing.
However, one of the things that you will want to consider is the actual distance that five blocks are.
Let’s assume that you are in New York City.
If you are in New York City, having to walk five blocks is the equivalent of having to walk a quarter of a mile.
If you have ever seen a professional track, this track would have to be lapped four times to reach a mile.
Therefore, each time you loop the track, you are doing a quarter of a mile.
The quarter-mile distance will go relatively fast and probably take you about five minutes or less to walk.
By the time you were to get a taxi or take your car and then try to find parking in the city, you would have been much better off walking.
Overall, walking a few blocks can be very good for your health as well.
You will burn calories and find yourself feeling slimmer and trimmer from getting these extra steps in during a day.
Don’t look at having to walk city blocks as a negative, but rather, think of it as a positive that will keep you outside and moving.
Hopefully, you can now better understand that a block is not an exact measure of distance.
Instead, a block is going to be an average distance of what it takes to get from one street to the next in a city.
In most cities, a block is going to be about 315 feet.
This will vary depending on when and where the city was built.
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However, to make sure you have a general idea of what it will take to travel from one block to the next, keep these numbers in mind.