Saturday, February 02, 2008

Stupid Development Tricks

One of the rather depressing development trends here in Philly, where there has been a lot of rehabs and teardowns/new construction, is the proliferation of street level garages on major streets. I have nothing against people owning cars and understand that people want parking spots, but they really lead to the deterioration of the quality of a block. It takes away what was a public on-street parking lot and takes it private into the garage (some enterprising owners understand that they now have two spaces - the garage and their private space in front of it). They're a pedestrian hazard. String a few of them together and they make an eyesore. Blocks with lots of them tend to be dead zones, and in urban areas dead zones tend to attract crime (less foot traffic, fewer witnesses around).

While I actually think developers overestimate the demand for garage parking in the city - they do take away a significant amount of square footage of a house and on your typical Philly lot make for a rather strange and unappealing ground floor - I'm not against them altogether. Just put them in the back, off an alley.

So you know, Philly residents get cheap permit parking for on street spots, so lacking a garage or other private spot doesn't mean you can't park or require an expensive lot space.

....Visual aids. Here's a particularly ugly example. Remember that these lots are right up against the sidewalk, they usually aren't set back at all.

And here's what happens when you string a few together and completely kill the block.