August 31, 2006

OUR FRIEND, THE CAR

Door closing on 'dull' design (Melissa Leong, National Post, August 31st, 2006)

Last week, Carl Zehr drove through a new subdivision in Kitchener and saw a wall of garages.

He looked at the rows of semi-detached homes with double-car garages in front, separated by swatches of concrete and small tufts of grass.

"When you looked at these in multiples, side by side if you were looking [down the street], you saw nothing but garage doors," said Mr. Zehr, Kitchener's Mayor.

"There has to be a better way."

On Monday, the city's municipal council voted unanimously to ban two-car garages in front of semi-detached homes, beginning in 2007. Mr. Zehr said the new zoning bylaw is not simply about ridding communities of what urban planners and architects call "snout houses."[...]

"When you build garages, what you get is not only an unpleasing building that looks at times like a car wash, you also create a situation by which a large segment of the sidewalk is paved -- not leaving room for trees," Mr. Friedman said.

"The street is, therefore, very dull. Developing something like this is an anti-social statement."
Valerie Shuttleworth, director of planning and urban design in Markham said the town was one of the first in Greater Toronto to wage war on the garage.

In the mid-'90s, the town set limits on the size of garages and began developing communities with lanes to access detached garages behind houses.

She said she didn't get to know her neighbours until she moved to an area without front-facing garages.

Of course, the modern tragedy is that most folks would trade the neighbours for a third SUV any day.


Posted by Peter Burnet at August 31, 2006 6:55 AM
Comments

I live in an area where all the houses have garages to the side or back necessitating driveways that run between every house. There'd be a lot more yard if the garages were out front. But in contrast to the article, it's a lot more private having the garage out back. I prefer it that way as neighbors are a bug, not a feature.

Posted by: RC at August 31, 2006 7:41 AM

I don't want another SUV but have you met my neighbors? Heck yeah I'd make that trade.

JP

Posted by: jefferson park at August 31, 2006 9:00 AM

Garages are for storing lawn equipment.

Posted by: oj at August 31, 2006 2:27 PM

In the mid-'90s, the town set limits on the size of garages and began developing communities with lanes to access detached garages behind houses.

Too bad such a design is statistically correlated with an increase in residential burglaries.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 31, 2006 7:48 PM

Papaya:

Really? Hey, did you know that people who live under four-inch thick bulletproof glass domes surrounded by four armed guards are statistically less likeky to be mugged than the rest of us? What did we ever do before statistics?

Posted by: Peter B at August 31, 2006 8:39 PM

They're called "alleys" and used to be between every pair of streets in older residential areas. Not only did they provide access to garages in back of the lot, but it's where the garbage trucks had their route. No need to move the cans to the curb once a week, either.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 31, 2006 11:08 PM
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