A pet peeve for years has been the tendency of Washington real estate developers to use "Eye Street" as an address when the perfectly serviceable "I Street" is not only more accurate but far less ugly.

The Oliver T. Carr Co. has graven the word "Eye" on the southern frontage of its International Square building near 18th and Eye--er, 18th and I--but was inconsistent in not using "Kay" street on the north side.

And now comes the Charles E. Smith Management Co. in advertising leases in another new building down the street, "1250 Eye Street."

A woman who answered the phone in the Smith office, and who identified herself only as Pat, said she thought she knew the answer. "My father used to have an office on I Street," she said. "It's to save confusion from First Street," where much of her father's mail used to go.

Phil Carr, senior vice president of the Carr Co., had another explanation. "Just one of the judgment calls, I guess," he said. "I think it was a marketing thing--it was easier to read in a presentation packet."

Which doesn't explain why, elsewhere in town, the Jarvis Funeral Home often lists itself in death notices as being on "You Street." Who'd confuse You with U?

The issue of Eye versus I has been around for decades. Long ago, a member of the old D.C. Board of Commissioners was asked whether he was affronted by "Eye."

Not at all, he responded, adding (if memory serves): "Washington has enough I's already."