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Elements of Urban Design - Alleys

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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I want to get everyone's thoughts and opinions on the topic of alleys. I think this forgotten and much maligned urban design component is very important for a humane urban form. Its presence is a sign of very sophiscated urban design.

I live in Chicago, the city of alleys, and it is a great place to put all the nasties of urban living: cars, utilities, garbage, etc.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,051
Points
50
I wish that we had more alleys here. Our city is over 250 years old, and it has been a built environment hundreds of years. We have half streets, but we have houses on them. I agree, they are needed part of cities. They can provide access to off street parking, *or access to parking garages, place for deliveries, and for trash removal.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Philly is full of them but you wouldn't dare call them "alleys".
All the owners of the grand homes on the A and B streets subdivided again and again so that many alleys are shoulder to shoulder trinities and rowhomes.

The cartways are often 5ft., sometimes less, so many are roped off and some retain their street name and residences but have been converted to ped. only.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Alleys are a fundamental part of good urbanism. As stated found in old urbanism they are a sought after ingredient of new urbanism.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
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29
Dittos, but boy do public works and police departments hate them (expensive to maintain and difficult to patrol).

We will only permit them, reluctantly, if completely privatized.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Alley...or driveways as we call them in Philly are great.

A great place for kids to play, trash pickup, parking cut around one-way streets, etc. I couldn't imagine living without them.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
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34
The alley is one component of New Urbanism that I am reluctant to advocate. I'll take on public works on other issues, but they are correct in saying that it is an extra expense to construct and maintain. Buyers are often unwilling to accept them, and you are limiting shared backyard lot lines (with their social aspects, too). In my experience, in new development, alleys are best limited to serving a small number of homes, in special circumstances.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
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29
Never thought about the backyard socializing aspect. You actually have people talking over their rear fences? Everything is fenced in with six (or eight) foot tall wooden fences or masonry walls out here. In this type of situation, maybe the alleys themselves allow neighbors to see each other more than they would, frankly.

Police and Public Works, though, hate alleys.
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
One of the very few things that I liked about living in Savannah were the alleys. One of the places I lived in the Orlando area had alleys and they were so great. No trash cans out on the street and the front of the house just looked so much more tidier. Plus, extra parking areas.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
My last house had an alley. I agree its a great way to hide the nasties. They truly are the athletic supporter of the urban form. ;)

At my last house, alleys were public right of way, privately maintained like sidewalks - abutting owners had to do sweeping and snow removal, the city would do major construction projects and assess the abutters.

My alley was two blocks long due to unique physical geography. I was smack dab in the middle, with uncaring neighbors to the east, only the west was remotely passable all winter. All wheel drive became essential.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
BKM said:
Never thought about the backyard socializing aspect. You actually have people talking over their rear fences?
Actually I met all my neighbors across the alley before I met my neighbors across the street. Most fences were low pickets and not high security types (you want your neighborhood watch captains to see who's in your yard when you're not home right?)
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
there are alleys in DC and many parts of Arlington, they work well and dont seem to have the crime issues i was always told alleys have.

They are a fantastic functional part of an area and live beside one no problem.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
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34
BKM said:
Never thought about the backyard socializing aspect. You actually have people talking over their rear fences?
Growing up, we always socialized with the neighbors on all sides. We would usually cut through yards rather than walk around the block to get to friends' houses. Our rear neighbors eventually put in a fence for their dog, but also put in a gate.

Here I don't really know my backyard neighbors. The closest ones are more than 2000 feet away.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
I have never lived with an alley, but visited the house my dad grew up in and it had an alley. I listened to all of his amazing ‘50’s childhood stories, many which revolved around racing, or some event in the alleys….

I would like an alley.

Is there a safety issue?
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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55
safety issue?

I think the question of safety is a function of the people/neighborhood, not instrinsic to the nature of alleys.

In my small hometown, we had alleys in the areas that were subdivided in the late-19th to early-20th centuries, and they were always clean. I loved racing through them on my bike. It seemed a cool secret way to get around town.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
San Francisco has a lot of residential lanes that are basically inhabited alleys. Especially in parts of the city with heavy traffic/big streets, they can be a pleasant refuge. They are some of the coolest residential streets in the city.

The city bordering Fairfield to the south (Suisun City) has one neo-trad alley project. Some of the alleys have second dwelling units on them, which I like. The homeowners pay hefty assessments, so the alleys are maintained and landscaped.
 

Suburb Repairman

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7,400
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33
alleys are good for communities

Alleys are great for cities attempting to facilitate New Urbanism and pedestrian friendly developments. The public works costs can be minimized since alleys allow people to park behind houses rather than on the street. The streets themselves can be narrower since on-street parking isn't necessary.

In my experience and from what I have heard from others, cities trying to implement alleyways will have more success refering to them as "rear lanes". The term "alley" has bad conotations with many citizens. They associate them with the crime and homeless people, even though that is not the case in most situations. "Rear lanes" congures up images of a narrow country lane.

Alleys are a tough sell in most suburban areas. The suburb I work in flat-out forbids them. We're currently working on a Comprehensive Plan and the citizen committee sounds fairly progressive, so there may be hope for New Urbanism.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
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2,449
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25
I'm not convinced.

Is it really necessary to hide these activities? Sure, removing parking from the street could be a good thing, but alleys as places to play?? Alleys as pedestrian friendly??? Part of having a pedestrian-friendly area is that activities going on in the street create interest for pedestrians. Activities occurring in the front yard bring neighbours outdoors, facilitating interaction. Sounds to me like you'd only see other walkers or people driving past in cars if alleys were a regular feature.

How hard is it to store your trash out of sight somewhere then bring it out at collection time??

To me, it seems like a backward way of doing things, and I thought New Urbanism aimed to encourage active fronts on housing. Granted though, alleys/rear lanes are rare as hen's teeth here. And so are high fences as described by BKM.

I guess I'm influenced by my involvement in crime prevention and therefore have sympathy for the police anti-alley perspective.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
JNL said:
I'm not convinced.

Is it really ncessary to hide these activities? Sure, removing parking from the street could be a good thing, but alleys as places to play?? Alleys as pedestrian friendly???
Oh yes. Alleys, or "rear lanes" are a very organic part of urbanism I can't think of one neighborhood in my city in which allys are not used.

Currently I live in a dense neighborhood of row houses where the alleys work as a type of communal back yard. Garages are located there (In addition to on street parking), hey allow access to the small back gardens, and are always full of kids playing basketball or throwing a football around (Better there than in the street where they can hit my car). I'm actually suprised how many kids play there, considering that there is a massive city park only 1.5 blocks away.
 

JNL

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2,449
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25
I'll have to take your word on it biscuit!

I still don't see why these things should take place out the back. If the street is not safe enough for kids to play in their front yards, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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55
alleys=NU=alleys

The values presented by the marketers for New Urbanism, I think, have mislead people to think alleys are a function of New Urbanism, when it is really a function of sophiscated urbanism which the NUers have co-opted.

My favorite part is the conituous pedestrian environment at the front of houses. It helps to reduce curbs cuts for every house on a block down to nearly zip, which can facilitate greater safety.
 

de-bug

Member
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15
Points
1
I have almost always lived in a house on an alley. Growing up, the alleys were 'sideloaded', if that's a term. In other words, the rhythm of the block was house, alley, house, house, alley, house. Probably 3 alleys to a block, with 4 houses to an alley.

My old house and the one I just built are both on 'backloaded' alleys. Personally, I find the backloaded alleys to be more problematic. In terms of convenience, it's hard to attach the garage to the back of the house on a narrow lot and have much of backyard. In terms of crime, I also feel that this backloaded design enables it a little bit more (something I'm concerned with since there've been at least 5 thefts on our block the past couple of weeks, all from the backs of the houses). My guess is that there are fewer eyes on a backloaded alley, because there are only backs of garages and houses facing it. Plus, the length of the backloaded alley is longer than a sideloaded one, giving more places to hide.

Personally, I'd like to see the sideloaded alleys again. It gets the garages away from the front of the street while (I think) cutting down on crime (more windows facing the alley, plus a shorter, more visible length) and enabling an attached or detached placement of the garage along with a backyard.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
"Rear Lanes"

"Backloaded"

I am surprised this thread has not degenerated yet.



I am unconvinced on the value of alleys, despite all of the personal experiences above. I have also experienced alleys. What they offer, particularly outside of dense urban neighborhoods, can easily be replicated in the street, front yard, or elsewhere in the neighborhood. Many New Urban neighborhoods make sparing, or even no use of alleys. They are but one element to choose from, among many alternatives.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
JNL said:
How hard is it to store your trash out of sight somewhere then bring it out at collection time??
Far too hard for some people

JNL said:
I guess I'm influenced by my involvement in crime prevention and therefore have sympathy for the police anti-alley perspective.
Alleys might present problems if they are infrequently used and provide concealment from view. However, on the flip side they provide convenient access for the cop on the beat to be motoring through areas that around here would otherwise be hidden by 6' privacy fences. I'm not aware of a law enforcement stand against alleys nor of a CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) commitment to end there use.

Now the IACP (Intl. Assoc of Chiefs of Police) probably would come out against them. The collective common sense of that entire organization would amount to less than that of a grape fruit.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
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34
Runner said:
Far too hard for some people.
Nonsense. We require that garbage cans be screened in a side or back yard, and garbage may only be put out the day before pick-up. It is enforced. After a citation or two, everybody catches on. Besides, I don't think you really mean to suggest that an unsightly mess of trash is not appropriate for a public street, but is perfectly acceptible in your New Urbanist playground/residential lane/pedestrian-friendly alley.

Your argument for police enforcement is also a weak one. From a squad car, you can see just as well into a back yard screened by a 6' privacy fence whether you are in an alley or a street. As far as crime conducted in the open, most will either happen inside of cars or in secluded locations. Alleys provide those locations with less activity, and roads are easier to patrol. Don't underestimate the intelligence of a grapefruit.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Most alleys here in chicago are a straight shot for a block. Police cars can easily get down them. I do admit that they are more lightly used than the street, and there are many times when there's no one in my alley (I've never seen any children play in it but I live near a very nice park). I'd actually like to see crime statistics for alleys. I'm sure they increase home invasions, but the question should be by how much.

They solve so many city problems (car storage being most important), that they might be worth a few break-ins.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Michael Stumpf said:
After a citation or two, everybody catches on.
Some will never catch on.

Michael Stumpf said:
I don't think you really mean to suggest that an unsightly mess of trash is not appropriate for a public street, but is perfectly acceptable in your New Urbanist playground/residential lane/pedestrian-friendly alley.
No, your correct but on trash day even the neatest of persons leave a mess.

Michael Stumpf said:
Your argument for police enforcement is also a weak one. From a squad car, you can see just as well into a back yard screened by a 6' privacy fence whether you are in an alley or a street.
Actually no, seeing over/around/through a 6' fence will be far easier considering potential activity of interest may be directly on the other side of the fence versus on the other side of the fence and the lot/house, etc. You are also forgetting other senses that are used: hearing and smell. Alleys have the potential to put the cops and other enforcement personnel closer to the action (for better or worse).

Michael Stumpf said:
As far as crime conducted in the open, most will either happen inside of cars or in secluded locations. Alleys provide those locations with less activity
True, alleys do have the potential of violating the "eyes on the street" principle.

Michael Stumpf said:
roads are easier to patrol
Roads or alleys are going to be similar to patrol, both can be driven by patrol car, ridden by a bike cop, or walked by foot.

Michael Stumpf said:
Don't underestimate the intelligence of a grapefruit.
I won't, that’s why I said less than a grapefruit. I'll hold that no one has ever been guilty of overestimating the collective intelligence of the IACP.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Thanks for the help

Thanks for the comments. I think it is time for this thread to say by-by. It doesn't need to be a fighting match.

Hello, Bruce
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
mendelman,

No ones fighting, just discussing with conviction. You'll see a lot of that around here. Welcome to the debates :) It's all done without intention of ruffling any feathers.

Although, I guess if you are a police administrator your feathers may be a little out of alignment with my IACP comment ;) If you are I appologize it was not directed at you.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
JNL said:
I'll have to take your word on it biscuit!

I still don't see why these things should take place out the back. If the street is not safe enough for kids to play in their front yards, then that is a problem that needs to be addressed.
It's not that the street is not safe enough, althoughI'm sure many aren't, it's that there are no front yards in my neighborhood - All the houses are built "zero lot line." Even the neighborhoods where people have front yards they tend to be very small because of the extremely hilly geography here in the city. This has been addressed through an extensive system of large parks.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
I can understand why some suburban homebuyers may not want alleys; typical buyers might dislike anything that may convey the idea of density and the "old neighborhood". But how is it that public works, police and fire officials would be against alleys?

It would seem to me that anything that gives these guys more access to fulfilling their services would be fine. Not all neighborhoods in Chicago have alleys, and I've talked to Streets and San guys who wished they did. And I've had developers balk when I've told them that a new development must have an 18' alley right-of-way, as preferred by Police, Fire, Streets and San and CDOT.

Alleys don't work everywhere, but it seems they could be used a lot more.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
What about placing alleys into a historical context? Weren't they used for access to horse barns, back in the day before cars? Horses poop, so didn't it make sense to put them in back and out of sight? Perhaps I'm wrong about the specifics, but I think my point is clear: examine the history of why alleys were placed where they were and then determine if they are appropriate for today's motorized world. Perhaps they are just an anachronism.

But what about the relationship between land use and transportation? If residential areas have low levels of daily auto trips, then what's the harm in having the driveway lead to the road?
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
Alan said:
But what about the relationship between land use and transportation? If residential areas have low levels of daily auto trips, then what's the harm in having the driveway lead to the road?
They can work on some occasions but the reason to avoid the front loading is to shift priority back to the pedestrian. Without alleys you may end up with something like this (view actually shows front of house - talk about curb apeal):
690hillsofhays_1.jpg
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
Runner said:
They can work on some occasions but the reason to avoid the front loading is to shift priority back to the pedestrian.
Sure. But how often are the cars backing out of and pulling into the driveways? If it's a neighborhood full of single-family homes, then the queing of automobiles through the driveways and into the streets is minimal. As long as there are sidewalks, then pedestrians will have no trouble moving past all the driveways. The amount of auto traffic through a neighborhood is minimal and the sidewalk provides a safe and comfortable realm away from the street. This can be achieved without a dependence on alleyways.

Regarding the pic:

690hillsofhays_1.jpg

Are you saying alleyways are appropriate in farm country?
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
Alleys

Living in the southwest most of my life, only new, expensive subdivisions have alleys. If the purpose is to have an attractive streetside, I think sidefencing with doors are adequately discrete housing for trash cans. Municipalites can enforce earliest put-out and latest put-back times for cans.

On a side note, with those newer developments, I found those no-trash can and no-car frontage rules a bit oppresive and pretentious. Sure, it makes the neighborhood eye-pleasing. But I noticed that none of those neighborhoods that are supposed to be more "street-friendly" featured porches, and sometimes, sidewalks. It's like a house with museum-quality art and marble-tile floors -- classy, but not necessarily encouraging of human contact...or inviting. Streetlife was nil.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
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25
Allen wrote:
Are you saying alleyways are appropriate in farm country?
I don't think that's farm country. Notice the sidewalk extending a few feet off the driveway. I think the thing is located in soon-to-be suburbia, but it dosen't have any neighbors yet.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
Granted, that is an ugly house. Yet many New Urban neighborhoods do have front-loading garages and driveways to the street. They impose design controls to ensure that homes like that one are not permitted. Again, alleys are just one technique. They may be appropriate in one place but not others. Not everything built needs to look like a turn-of-the-20th-century city neighborhood.
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
Alley Materials

Not exactly this post but close.

Now, at times there are problems with people speeding through alleys at speeds that may be relatively low but, because of such a confined space, are very dangerous.

Newer alleys where I live are concrete, however in some of the older neighborhoods a cobblestone alley is retained. While this surface is not the most smooth and ill suited to normal car-ways, can this material be adopted for alley construction. It is very durable, no car will go too fast on cobblestone, and it definitley adds character to urban neighborhoods.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
biscuit said:
[Bthere are no front yards in my neighborhood - All the houses are built "zero lot line." [/B]
I'm starting to get the picture now, it sounds very different to what I'm used to. Zero lot lines are not very common here - even older inner city houses tend to be set back a few metres.

Apart from 'driving my girlfriend home', where are you based biscuit?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
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3,904
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25
JNL said:
Apart from 'driving my girlfriend home', where are you based biscuit?
The steel city, Pittsburgh, PA

Here's a photo of the neighborhood (not my street) where I'm currently living. I'm going to be moving out this winter when my lease is up and hopefully buying a place with more closet space before I get married...the girl has a lot of shoes.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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55
NU=alleys=NU

Michael Stumpf said:
Granted, that is an ugly house. Yet many New Urban neighborhoods do have front-loading garages and driveways to the street. They impose design controls to ensure that homes like that one are not permitted. Again, alleys are just one technique. They may be appropriate in one place but not others. Not everything built needs to look like a turn-of-the-20th-century city neighborhood. [/QUOTE

Once again, we need to remember that alleys are not solely a component of New Urbanist developments. "New Urbanism" is a simple marketing ploy by DPZ.

I hope that people do not think that alleys must be in all new developments or that we must retrofit suburbia or anywhere else. Alleys are a sophistcated component of urban design. If a developer is going to do a high density development (8+ units per acre) they should defintely consider utliizing alleys. Especially for single-family development. At these densities, the number of curb cuts would become excessive.

In terms of historical context, I think it was more a function of the level of transportation technology which dictated the use of alleys. We were a much less mobile society 80+ years ago, so if you wanted to be able to maximize the utility of your property, alleys give you access to two instead of one sides, particularly for block interior lots, and one needed to be as close as to the train lines or the street cars.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
Re: NU=alleys=NU

Mendelman,

Just a few things about your post.

...alleys are a sophistcated component of urban design...


How are they sophisticated? And even if they really are sophisticated, who cares? What function do they serve in the 21st century? Don't get me wrong, I love old neighborhoods with alleys - I'm just playing Devil's Advocate. Saying that they are sophisticated does not make them sophisticated.


If a developer is going to do a high density development (8+ units per acre) they should defintely consider utliizing alleys. Especially for single-family development. At these densities, the number of curb cuts would become excessive.


Please, define "excessive." Perhaps eight units of single-family detached homes to the acre is excessive and compromises the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the local community. Get rid of the density and you eliminate the "excessive" curb cuts.


We were a much less mobile society 80+ years ago, so if you wanted to be able to maximize the utility of your property, alleys give you access to two instead of one sides, particularly for block interior lots, and one needed to be as close as to the train lines or the street cars.
...which is why alleys in the 21st century are anachronistic. How many subdivisions built in the last 50 years have train lines going down their streets? Not too many, right? Probably just a few.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Alan said:
Sure. But how often are the cars backing out of and pulling into the driveways? If it's a neighborhood full of single-family homes, then the queing of automobiles through the driveways and into the streets is minimal. As long as there are sidewalks, then pedestrians will have no trouble moving past all the driveways. The amount of auto traffic through a neighborhood is minimal and the sidewalk provides a safe and comfortable realm away from the street. This can be achieved without a dependence on alleyways.
Are you saying alleyways are appropriate in farm country?

I've seen plenty of subdivisions sprout up with houses on quarter-acre lots and each driveway has 3 or 4 cars in it. On the collector roads within the subdivision the traffic is astounding for the number of households in it. The speed is even worse. The back and forth traffic is particularly accute during the summer in neighborhoods with a lot of teenagers.

People without small children don't normally walk around subdivisions. They need a reason. If primary uses aren't located within a 5-10 minute walking range of a household the sidewalks are not going to get used. They're also not going to be used if the sidewalk is lined with garage doors and/or the trip to the store or doctor's office requires crossing some busy arterial not designed with the pedestrian in mind.

Every suburban house in north america was built in farm country.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
jresta said:
I've seen plenty of subdivisions sprout up with houses on quarter-acre lots and each driveway has 3 or 4 cars in it. On the collector roads within the subdivision the traffic is astounding for the number of households in it. The speed is even worse. The back and forth traffic is particularly accute during the summer in neighborhoods with a lot of teenagers.

People without small children don't normally walk around subdivisions. They need a reason. If primary uses aren't located within a 5-10 minute walking range of a household the sidewalks are not going to get used. They're also not going to be used if the sidewalk is lined with garage doors and/or the trip to the store or doctor's office requires crossing some busy arterial not designed with the pedestrian in mind.

Every suburban house in north america was built in farm country.
Ummm... okay. But we're talking about alleys. Do you have anything to say about them?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
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25
His point is, I think, that you need density to reduce auto-dependence, and you often need alleys to make such density work.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
jordanb said:
His point is, I think, that you need density to reduce auto-dependence, and you often need alleys to make such density work.
...or parking garages, either above or under ground.

But what about those towers in major cities that house all those people? Where are the alleys for those structures? If we're talking about achieving density with single-family detached homes, then sure, alleys can help get to density. But that seems inefficient to me. How about an eight-story structure with first floor commerical and offices and the remaining seven floors be either apartments or condos, all located next to a transit line? That's probably a better wat to get to density.

Some one please tell me how alleys are relevant to the design of a detached single-family home subdivision in the 21st century. I feel they are anachronistic, yet I would like to be shown otherwise.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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to Alan

I live in a four-story mixed use apartment building. We have an alley which bisects our block and services the rear of almost all properties on the block. It works great for the temporary storage of trash particularly.

In terms of large mixed-use, muti-story buildings, such as present in Chicago's Loop, they are serviced by alleys. The alleys are efficent for pickup/delivery of goods and trash removal. Since one ROW services the buildings on the block, the delivery and trash trucks will not need to circle a block to service each building. This can also be applied to the large apartment/condo buildings on the shoreline up and down Lake Michigan. The trash from that level of density would be horrid, if it were put on the curb. The results would be the streets of NYC on any given morning.

As for the use of alleys for single-family developments above 8+ unit per acre, they need to be strongly considered because the curb cuts required would be a great imposition on the pedestrian (sidewalk) environment. At such denisty, one needs to start thinking more for greater separation of pedestrian and the car.

Could you explain why you think alleys are anachronisms?
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,208
Points
28
Re: to Alan

mendelman said:
Could you explain why you think alleys are anachronisms?
In detached single-family home neighborhoods that have attached garages and are at densities of no more than two dwellings per acre, they seem supefulous. The functions of alleys in this scenario can be replaced by putting trash to the curb and by parking the car in the garage, without forcing additional development costs to the developer. Further, excluding alleys in the development makes the job of the police force, firefighters, and trash trucks much easier.

At higher densities I will freely admit that there may be benefits of the alley that go beyond "sophisticated" urban design. I am not against alleys per se, but this discussion has been all over the map and I'm trying to tease-out situations in which alleys may or may not be appropriate or cost-effective. The thread started with very little focus and I'm trying to explore how practical alleys really are. Again, I want to emphasize that I'm not against alleys - I just want this interesting discussion to go beyond its original broad scope and into territories that consider alleys and their surrounding contexts.
 

mendelman

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Yeah,
I suppose my start of this thread was open ended.
 
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