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How Long Is A Block (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 300 to 320 feet long

A block is a word often used in communications when discussing two places in a city. This system of address references is most common and pronounced in the United States of America. Whether it is New York City, Manhattan, or Chicago, blocks are a common way of denoting distances between two places.

People not well versed with this popular American system find it difficult to cope up in conversations with people using these terms. This makes it imperative for the people to know and understand the system well who intend to settle in any of the places where the word is used in popular culture.

How Long Is A Block?

CityLength Of Blocks (In Feet)Length Of Blocks (In Metres)
Manhattan264 feet × 900 feet80 m × 274 m
Chicago330 feet × 660 feet100 m × 200 m
New York City264 feet × 750 feet80 m × 229 m

The length and breadth of blocks differ from city to city. There are no ideal or exact dimensions of a block in any of the cities. On the contrary, these figures are relative or indicative of the actual dimensions of the block in a metropolitan city.

In the urban and fashion city of Manhattan, a block is almost the largest as compared to the blocks in other cities. Stating in the metric system, a block measures about 80 m × 274 m, while when measuring in the imperial system, the same block would measure 264 feet × 900 feet.

Chicago is a city in Illinois and is one of the largest in the United States Of America. In the imperial system of measurement, a block measures about 330 feet × 660 feet which when converted in the imperial system of measurement is 100 m × 200 m.

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New York City is another city on the eastern coast that widely uses the block system of address. When the blocks are measured, they might average about 80 m × 229 m in the metric system of measurement and about 264 feet × 750 feet in the imperial system of measurement.

Why Is A Block That Long?

The system of blocks has been developed over the years. It is not an entirely new system. As new cities settled, this system grew.

When new cities settled, they settled in a grid format or block format. This is from where the block system got its name. These blocks help to build the cities in a more organized way and pose no problem in the expansion of the city.

A block can be covered within a walking distance in two to three minutes. The basic idea behind the creation of these blocks was to make transportation feasible and seamless. When the blocks can be covered in just a couple of minutes, transportation does become quite easy.

Another reason blocks are so long is that distance is not the real driving force behind those distances. On the contrary, the distances between the cross streets of these blocks determine the length of these blocks. This makes the blocks appear longer.

The length of the block varies with changes in the city. In addition to that, the particular street on which the block is located also influences the block pattern. However, people tend to assume that the area enclosed in a city block is less than or equal to a hundred thousand square feet.

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There were several factors at play that result in the irregular lengths of blocks. Factors such as the climate of the area, traffic faced by it and the type of city widely influence the length of the blocks.


An ideal block has dimensions of 300 feet to 320 feet. A well-planned and executed block helps in the future expansion or modification along the route. Such a block poses no problem in its renovation and also eliminates chaos and traffic along the route since there are several points for U-turns.

Blocks are the products and were conceptualized as those cities were planned. Different cities and places have different lengths of blocks which are widely influenced by the local conditions.


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