Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26868119

The interior minister also showed a number of slides and photos illustrating where he said police snipers were firing from. He named two buildings on Khreshchatyk and Kostyolna streets, saying other spots were still being investigated.

I would like to know why is there not a definite article such as the in front of Khreshchatyk and Kostyolna streets? Or, do you think, it's totally alright as far as grammar goes? If so, could you please explain the rules governing this particular usage?

An example where street names are used along with articles. Source: http://rt.com/news/157884-shooting-mariupol-eastern-ukraine/

The outlet also reported that “on the Lenin avenue, two people were seriously wounded – one in the head and another in the stomach. A huge pool of blood is next to the “Arbat” café. It’s not known whether the wounded people have survived. Witnesses say they were driven away in a passenger car. The fighting is on next to the main police department, gunfire is heard. Two armored vehicles blocked the Artyom street.”

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    In English we typically don't use the definite article in front of street names. The exception is in California, the highways are frequently referred to as The (Highway Number) and certain named highways elsewhere (The Beltway, The LIE, etc.) – David M Apr 3 '14 at 16:46
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    George Street, Park Lane, Fields New Road ... are all proper nouns, and each individual orthographic word is capitalised. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 3 '14 at 16:49

Since the question specifically referenced the BBC, this answer addresses British English. Elements may apply to other variants too.

In British English, we don’t generally use an article with names. A street name is a name, and doesn’t generally take an article (whether definite or indefinite).

There are exceptions. I might ask a stage artiste, “Are you the Harry Houdini?” but even there Harry Houdini is standing for “the famous person whose name is Harry Houdini.”

Street names are similar. Most towns have a road which is labelled “High Street”, and that is usually referred to as “the High Street” because there is only one and it’s the most important. But that’s the only street which customarily gets an article.

Roads are different, particularly where their name indicates their direction. We do speak of the Old Kent Road, the Edgware Road and the like. We might talk of the Hailsham Road and that might be labelled “Hailsham Road” but it’s the Hailsham Road because it goes there. Most Roads don’t get an article, and if the name is not “Road” it’s very rare. The Mall is an example; I can’t think of any other.

Titles always get a definite article, because by definition we’re referring to something of which there is only one (or at least, one “default” which doesn’t need further clarification). Thus in the same way that we might refer to the Queen, the President, the Aga Khan, we can refer to “the A68”. If the Department for Transport labels another road “A68”, then the title moves to the new road and we might refer to the original as “the old A68”. However, just as people’s names don’t change if titles do, the name of the road — e.g., the Matlock Road — generally wouldn't move with the title.

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  • Tsk. There are dozens of roads starting with "The" in my town, and I'm sure that will be the case throughout the land. Incidentally, the percentage is much higher in a nearby town that's much older, so perhaps there's at least a tendency for the definite article to be used less often when naming roads today. – FumbleFingers Apr 3 '14 at 18:25
  • Or more often, given that almost all the examples are new housing estates? However, I think my distinction between names and titles, together with the Houdini example (The Hawthorns = the street they ripped out hawthorns to build), could be brought to bear in many of your roads. – Andrew Leach Apr 3 '14 at 18:37

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