1st Avenue North

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The "Heaviest Corner on Earth" at 1st Avenue North and 20th Street

First Avenue North is an east-west street running through downtown Birmingham. The westernmost section by that name ends at Center Street, although the road continues further west as Cotton Avenue Southwest. The easternmost section ends at West Boulevard along Roebuck Municipal Golf Course. First Avenue North is the only east-west Birmingham street to run continuously from Center Street to Roebuck. It is also a two-way street for its entire length, the majority of which is four to five lanes wide.

Between Carraway Boulevard (formerly 26th Street) and 34th Street, 1st Avenue is on a viaduct which runs beside Sloss Furnaces. Between 42nd Street and 44th Street, 1st Avenue is separated from Messer Airport Highway by only a narrow, landscaped median. Messer Airport Highway is not accessible from 1st at this point, the closest links being 41st Street and 45th Place North. Two gas stations at either end of the narrow median use concrete barriers to prevent motorists from cutting through. First Avenue is also a primary street through the Woodlawn neighborhood.

U.S. Highway 11 runs along 1st Avenue from 9th Street in the east to between 86th and 87th Streets in the west. At this point in the west, the road forks, with Highway 11 continuing along Parkway East while 1st Avenue, the lesser route, continues for a block and a half to West Boulevard. U.S. Highway 78 also runs along 1st Avenue between 9th Street and 24th Street.

In addition, 1st Avenue is fully accessible from and to Interstate 59. It is directly accessible from Interstate 20 eastbound and provides direct access to I-20 westbound. It is accessible from the northbound side of the Elton B. Stephens Expressway (Highways 31 and 280). It passes under Interstate 65 without providing any access.

The curbstones installed in the early 20th century on 1st Avenue North between 18th and 21st Streets were quarried in Lane Park. The first electric "thoroughfare lighting" was installed on 1st Avenue North on poles spaced 200 feet apart. The lighting was upgraded with new, taller poles on 100-foot spacings between 32nd and 85th Streets under the city's 1945 contract with the Birmingham Electric Company.

See also

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Notable locations

For an alphabetical list of locations, see the 1st Avenue North category.

Smithfield

Downtown Birmingham

North Avondale

Woodlawn

Woodlawn City Hall at 5523 1st Ave. N.

Wahouma/East Lake

North East Lake/South East Lake