Translation:The girl steps out onto the street and walks down to the water.
I swear, every time I see "utca" I accidentally translate it as "road". So it is 100% my fault, but aren't road and street pretty much interchangeable? Even as a native English speaker, I only get a faint sense that there's probably some minor difference that I can't quite put my finger on. So, why the insistence on utca meaning street?
In Hungarian, út is usually a major road, like a highway. Utca is a city street.
If you do a google image search for each word, you'll see the difference.
It would be a nice feature if both "road" and "street" were accepted since they can be used somewhat more interchangeably in English, but I do see why they are trying to maintain a distinction. "Street" could never be used for út, so I think they are reserving "road" for út and "street" for utca. If they used "road" for both meanings in the English sentences then it would be harder to guess which Hungarian word they want.
To build on that... yes, "utca" is a city street. It is only used for city streets. That is the general term for it. And just to step out from a house to whatever roadway is outside, just to indicate that your are outside, not inside the building or within the lot (garden, whatever), you use "utca". Even if it is a major road in the city. Generally, in a city, you are either inside something (building, etc.) or you are "az utcán".
Now, even within a city, there are smaller streets and major roads. So, you can talk about "utca" and "út" within a city, too. You see it especially in the names of those roads and streets. Major ones tend to be called "út".
And there are of course several more specific street and road types.
"Út" can also be a match for "way". Not "utca".
I've always thought of streets and roads as different things in English (US). A street is in a town or city. A road is something you travel on through a less dense area, and it tends to be a lot longer.
That said, when it comes to naming streets and roads, all bets are off. I live on "X Road," and it's a tiny street in the middle of the city.
Yes, those things between settlements are "út". But major arteries within human settlements can also be called "út". So yes, they are usually longer and more significant. You would call them boulevards and avenues. Hungarian uses those terms very very sparingly. All those things are rather "út". But they are of course always mentioned together with their names, inside settlements. So, one could argue that they are actually all "utca", only their name is "út".
You can definitely be on any "út" or "utca" in any town and ask "Elnézést, ez milyen utca?". And they might tell you "Ez az utca a Rákóczi út".
The French course is pretty insistent on keeping "(city) streets" and "roads" separate.
Is it only me or does the -hoz/hez case seem better translated with the towards preposition in English?
You're right, "toward" is often a good way to translate -hoz/-hez in English.
Duolingo sometimes enforces "utcára/utcán" as "in/into" the street and sometimes as "on/onto". I wish it would be consistent one way or the other.
the fact is you can say both in the street (UK) and on the street (US), so that should indeed be taken into account by Duo...