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Thread: Need solid arguments for smaller driveways.

  1. #1

    Need solid arguments for smaller driveways.

    I'm new in the planning field and just started working for a small town (5500). I am meeting with several local developers who want to build 30+ feet wide driveways. Basically coming straight off the three car garage to the street with 3 foot wings. I would gladly accept some reasons why this is not good for the community, public works, and developers (if there are any good reasons). I want to be well informed when I meet with them.

    Currently our ordinance does not allow driveways wider than 24' in the right of way, because of 3' wings, they can expand to 30' at the street. But the past few years they have gotten away with wider driveways.

    Thank you so much for any input.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    How wide is the typical lot in your community?

    We have lots of people who want to widen their driveways, but disallow it as it takes up too much of the frontage of their lot to promote pedestrian usage of the sidewalks in front of their house.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Maybe I am just old, but are wing driveways the old school kind where you would had two narrow strips of concrete with either grass or stone in the middle?? I kind of miss those driveways. There were advantages to them in terms of permeability and water run-off.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Maybe I am just old, but are wing driveways the old school kind where you would had two narrow strips of concrete with either grass or stone in the middle?? I kind of miss those driveways. There were advantages to them in terms of permeability and water run-off.
    I think the wings he's refering to are flares at the end of the drive in lieu of radii. How long will this drive be?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I'll be the stickler on this. Does the proposed design meet your code? If so, well that the way it is.

    BUt 30 ft. seems pretty wide. I would guess my two car garage driveway is maybe 16 ft

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by livesimply
    I would gladly accept some reasons why this is not good for the community, public works, and developers (if there are any good reasons).
    1. poor pedestrian safety at curb
    2. cost of concrete
    3. stormwater runoff/impervious surface
    4. less yard space

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Try

    18 foot wide at the street and adding a bulb out to allow a third car to just be able to access the third bay of the garage (a car, not a boat or big truck, but a car). Since this third car bay, depending on where it is located in relationship to the entrance to the home may only be used for storage anyway, or some pet project of the home owner. If the third bay is located away from the home entrance, that is better.

    Since you appear to be in the NE, the rest of the yard should be nicely landscaped and planted. Here in the SW most of the driveways in suburban or urban settings seem to be 24 feet wide with interior expansion of drives for third car bays.

    Also, you may not want to cover water meters, sewer lines, other utilities or water lines with the paved drive.

    I like tandem driveways in urban settings and 18 feet at the street in suburban settings, and of course anything goes in the rural areas
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    To elaborate on what a couple of other people have briefly noted: if more than ~10% of the lot has impervious ground cover (including the house), it substantially interferes with stormwater runnoff; promotes mudslides, especially in hilly, dry areas; makes flash floods occur more frequently and with more strength/speed/ferocity; prevents adequate groundwater recharge which can promote subsidence...etc.

    I gathered some links once on the topic: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=12559 You could check that thread for more info on the water aspect of it, if you are interested in that angle.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    You could always figure out your total storm drainage capacity and use that to calculate how much storm drianage is allowed to be released per acre. The lots would be allowed to release a certain amount of water based on size. Once you have that amount, you could calculate the amount of impervious surface is required to meet the maximum discharge of storm water and tht could be equal to the amount of impervious surface allowed. Of course, if you don't have time to calculate that kind of thing, you could do what the others have said.

  10. #10

    Thanks!

    Wow, this is awesome!!

    I didn't think I would have such a wonderful response--and in such a short amount of time. I will definitely use many of the ideas all of you presented to me as now I feel much more prepared than before meeting with the community's developers.

    I have to admit being a one person planning department and new, cyburbia gives me the opportunity to learn from all of you who have more experience and ideas.

    Our average lot frontage is 60-85. We actually have a fairly dense development fabric due to topography, so large driveways and many close together definitely pose a stormwater and safety problem, not to mention paved front yards.

    Thanks again, I'll post here in about a week after I have the meeting and let you know how it went.

    And if you have any further ideas, I'm always open to them.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    I think there are alot of good ideas here- and certainly a 30 foot wide driveway is pretty wide and I think it would look bad. But if the average lot width is 60 to 85 feet that's less than half the lot- there is still plenty of room for open space. While I would probably attempt to sell them on the fact that buyers like open space/yard area, I don't know that there is any reason to ttry to deny them from doing so. Especially since stormwater should theoretically be able to be handled through a storm sewer or on-site detention.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    I like tandem driveways in urban settings and 18 feet at the street in suburban settings, and of course anything goes in the rural areas
    I like tandem driveways (assuming you mean shared driveways) but they always end up being problems, especially if the neighbors don't get along. And many times there wasn't an easement recorded so "umpteen" years later, John Doe decides to put up a fence right down the middle of the driveway, which is along the lot line.
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    controlling access

    Funny, nobody has raised the safety question yet.

    If driveways are 30' wide and lots are only 60' to 85' wide, that means that 1/2 to 1/3 of each frontage is driveway. This makes it very difficult for a driver (or pedestrian or bicyclist) to anticipate where vehicles will be entering the roadway. We have standards for both minimum and maximum width of residential driveways and commercial driveways (commercial are wider), but in no case do we allow a driveway wider than 32' (and that's for commercial driveways).

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