How I heard the lenghts were developed.
Just a comment on how the cross lay line was told to me. The cross lay concept was developed for your normal 2 1/2 story bedroom community. This concept applies to about 80% of America.
The front of the fire building belongs to the Truck. We Enginemen concede the front since we get to actually put out the fire and their ladders are limited in length. Since the ladder has the front of the fire building the engine parks one house adjacent to the fire building in either direction.
One 50'length of hose is used to go from the spot where the engine is parked, down the street to in front of the dwelling. The second 50' length of hose goes from the street to the front of the dwelling. The third and fourth lengths are the interior operational lengths, one hundred feet of hose is usually enough to cover all areas of a standard dwelling.
As the line is stretched the distances are usually shorter than the preset lengths. That extra approx. 20 to 30 feet of extra hose, when properly stretched gives you additional interior operations length.
The cross lay design works 80% of the time in normal America. If the fire conditions or building design requires more hose then what the cross lay can give the stretch should come off the back. Allot of engine utilize the reverse lay. The reverse lay is 150' of 1 3/4 hose reducer adaptered from a 2 1/2 hose lay of 500' to 750' depending on your response area needs and distances between hydrants. The Reverse Lay allows the engine to drop in front of the fire building and proceed to the hydrant.
The design of the cross lay has exact lengths for a reason. making the lay 250' or 300' defeats the ability of a minimum manpower hose line stretch. I guess a 300' cross Lay could be an option if all your homes were set back over 100' with large front lawns. But that's not norm. If your district isn't made of McMansions or 6 story "H" types, I think the saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it." applies here.