I have 2 layers, one representing streets, and one representing pipes. The pipe layer has a street field that I want it to be automatically filled (I want the pipe to show the street that it's on) I tried performing a spatial join based on 'closest' but I encountered the following problem: many pipes never intersect the center of the streets they're on (they are usually parallel), and, at the spatial join, those respective pipes don't get the needed data from the street they go along but from the ones that are perpendicular (cause they intersect the pipes, so they have one point that is closest).
I've face a similar problem and created a programmatic tool that would:
You can repeat 2 and three until you've found a certain number of pipes. The idea for shortening the center line is to eliminate the cases where you other perpendicular lines that you do not want.
Check a less ugly scheme:
Another approach is to just buffer, intersect and compare the angles. You can safely set a threshold of what "parallel" is. You will never have straight and parallel lines in this cases (some will be parallel, but that depends on digitizing). You take only the pipes that have similar angles to your centerline.
You could try using the Near geoprocessing tool: