Why We Drive on Parkways and Park on Driveways

We Drive on Parkways and Park on Driveways

Simon Whistler, host of Today I Found Out, explains the seemingly contradictive question of why we drive on parkways and park on driveways. The answer calls back to a time before cars existed.

The original definition of a parking place referred to the place where trees and shrubbery were planted. When automobiles became popular, the term parkway referred to a driveable thoroughfare that ran in between said parking places. Thus the reason we drive on parkways.

A driveway is defined as “a private carriageway for a motor vehicle alongside, in front of, or leading to a house, garage, or other building; a drive”. While the definition is much the same, the lengths of these “private carriageways” have significantly become shorter with suburban expansion. Thus the reason we park on driveways.

As it turns out, there’s a perfectly valid explanation for why we drive on parkways and park on driveways- the majority of words have been around longer than cars and many have seen their definitions evolve over time, as parkways and driveways have likewise evolved.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.