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Thread: Reverse lots, The biggest crime?

  1. #1

    Reverse lots, The biggest crime?

    I was wondering how you guys feel about reverse lots. From my understand a "reverse lot" is "A lot intended to have its rear yard abutting any road frontage." In my opinion, this is one of the worse types of development which can occur in a city as it kills pedestrian activity along the main road.

    How do planners fell about this concept?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Reverse frontage lot, I think these are pretty ugly, but unavoidable in alot of cases. Most ordinances do no allow new residential uses to access roads of a certain classification, so you get an internal loop road with a bunch of back yards facing a through road.

    Buffers or fencing are almost always used. I don't think they "kill" pedestrian activity along a main road.

    Let's be real here, if there is development going on, there isn't a whole lotta walking going on, if you know what I mean. But generally most municipalities will require a sidewalk to be installed along the portion of the tract that fronts on the main road as well as the new road.

  3. #3
    I see what your saying... Why not setback the residential lots 50-75 feet from the road. This will leave space for future commercial or middle density development to front the main road instead.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    We have a few in lil' old Dodge. I find it nice when a highway has strip commercial on only one side. We have lately made them "no access" rear yards to prohibit driveways, and so residential accessory structures can be in what otherwise would be a street "front" setback.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I couldn't agree more. I can usually think of an alternate pattern for nearly every one of these developments that I have seen. It is awful for the homeowner - no real "backyard" privacy, and awful for the street. I think it is far more attractive to see the fronts of houses, or even multi-family or commercial uses.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Seeing you are from Toronto, go out to Brampton and north on Hwy 10 or Bramalea Road. Would you rather have thousands of driveways accessing these arterial roads or backyards? Sometimes it only makes sense, remember not all roads are intended to provide access to properties, nor is it always a good idea.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
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    Hate 'em. I'm a transportation planner and I don't buy that argument Donk, about how not every road should be providing access to properties. If places like Brampton were developing "properly", the higher-density uses (apartments, townhouses, etc.) would be built along these arterial roads, and the low density residential would be internalized.

    Reverse lotting kills any opportunity for pedestrian activity along these streets, and you end up with basically what are "traffic sewers".

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Originally posted by OfficialPlanner
    I see what your saying... Why not setback the residential lots 50-75 feet from the road. This will leave space for future commercial or middle density development to front the main road instead.
    If the world was developed by people like us who think logically then yes, this would be a great idea. However, most municipalities don't want it. They want the commercial separated from the residential. People don't want to live near commercial because of all the truck traffic, dumpsters, etc. It's really a no win situation. Plus, the commercial uses all want monster parking lots in the front capacity for 2x more vehicles than will ever be in the lot.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Originally posted by Tranplanner
    Hate 'em. I'm a transportation planner and I don't buy that argument Donk, about how not every road should be providing access to properties. If places like Brampton were developing "properly", the higher-density uses (apartments, townhouses, etc.) would be built along these arterial roads, and the low density residential would be internalized.

    Reverse lotting kills any opportunity for pedestrian activity along these streets, and you end up with basically what are "traffic sewers".

    Sure, every road should be providing access to properties, but the problem lies when the roads don't keep pace with development. We build on farms, and there are nothing but 2 lane roads with a 20' cartway in these areas. It takes 25 years to widen this road but it takes 2 years to build out a development.

    It's a vicious cycle that never ends. Transportation planning is merely reactionary. If there was really any planning going on there would be nothing bu 8 lane highways everywhere, because we are eventually going to need the capactiy.

  10. #10
    maudit anglais
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    I think it's a larger problem than just having roads keep pace with development - the transportation system as a whole has to respond. By building reverse-lotting communities with strict separation between commercial and residential and industrial, you're already putting non-auto modes at a disadvantage.

    Yes, I realize the car is the mode of choice for most people, and will likely remain that way for a long, long time - but if you don't build to accommodate a balanced transportation system then yeah - you're going to need your 8 lane roads everywhere, and everything that entails.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I'll take the argument that roads are to provide access to properties to an extreme. Look at the cost of the new Trans Canada Highway in NB - 500 million (before graft and kickbacks). Why? Because of 1700 driveways accessing a road that's main purpose was to move traffic. We have so many examples of roads being accessed improperly here that I strongly feel that some / many roads should have fewer access points. Maybe it is because we don't really have many "super" highways. In more densely populated areas this may not be the case.

    I only used Brampton becasue it is close to TO and I am familiar with it. I did not intend to say that what they did was proper.

    While having properties back onto major roads is not ideal from a visual or community standard, remember that we have to move the fools that chose / are forced to live there in the first place.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    Yes, okay - highways shouldn't be providing access every 10 feet. I've worked in jurisdictions where that's the case and it's awful. Usually always a former provincial highway that's been downloaded to the municipality. Once the access is in though, it's a bitch to take out.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    OK, here I am in a "second tier" suburban ring. There are no sidewalks. That's how people like it and they vote for the elected officials that take a stand against them. Arterials have recreation trail on one side if we're lucky. I'd prefer to have mommy pushing little Johnny's stroller on their side street rather than on the arterial and if double fronting is what it takes, it's what we do

    *sigh*

  14. #14
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    Unfortunately we are the planners, the ones who are blamed or receive credit for the way places develop. In nyc the first zoning laws were enacted by politicians for well connected wealthy 5th avenue busnessmen to keep warehouses ,(and their workers) from encroaching on midtown 5th avenue. In the early 19th century many similar laws were passed all over the country. Since the politicians and their backers all drove cars, the laws favored auto travel and separation of rich and poor. When blacks got their rights in the 60's (school deseg.) people moved out to the suburbs, and made sure that affordable housing, apartments and even strangers parking on the streets were outlawed by zoning.
    Government is supposed to take the long view and do what is best for society at large. When the private market ruled transportation in nyc ,subway lines were built first and development followed. Today there are less subway lines in the city than there were in the 40's, and less than half of nyc households own a car,(5 boroughs). When Robert Moses built the parkways to the beaches he made sure to build the overpasses low enough so that people couldn't travel by bus to his parks. Yes it was what the locals wanted, just as segregating the poor in urban projects was what the extablishment wanted.
    As you know the dot controls transportation spending and almost every planner and politician owns a car or is provided with a free one as a job perk. In the new suburbs where alot of the jobs are, there are many freeways but even bus service is scant. If workers are lucky they can travel in a van provided by the company for an hour or 2 to their jobs. It's hard to blame walmart for building expansive parking lots when we've been requiring them for decades. In the suburbs we also require each house to have it's own off street parking, wouldn't want them to walk to the street to get to their car or they might end up walking to the store 5 houses away. Oh , I forgot that 's outlawed too. Better keep widening those roads.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    No sidewalks, bturk? I can't imagine that, I'm pretty sure it's a requirement here that all residential streets are constructed with sidewalks. But perhaps it works here because we don't have the sorts of traffic volumes you have on your arterials. When I visited Brisbane, Australia last year I was puzzled at first by the high fences alongside many roads - then I realised there were residential developments on the other side and the fences were 3metre+ sound barriers. So ugly. I'm starting to see more of these developments in New Zealand where suburban streets turn their backs on local roads. This just highlights the need for better cooperation between transport and land use planning - sure people might not want to walk along busy roads, but that doesn't mean we should assume that people don't want to walk. In the right conditions they will walk.

    People have driveway access onto our national highway, State Highway 1, without too many problems except accidents sometimes occur where visibility for merging is poor. But then again, SH1 is at times only 1 lane each way!!! The widest, busiest roads are the ones between cities, and local roads tend to be only 1 or 2 lanes each way. Ah, the joys of living in a country with a total population of only 4 million...

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