If I had $5 for every time someone cursed the parking situation in my neighborhood in Philadelphia, I would be a very, very rich woman. Like many older row house neighborhoods, ours was not made to accommodate hundreds of cars. Cars were simply not around when the neighborhood was being developed. Fortunately, many row house neighborhoods allow for the residents go without a car, but if you find you’d like one anyway, parking can be a traumatic experience.
A few years back, Philadelphia thought it would solve the car parking problem by requiring new homes to include off-street parking a.k.a. garages. This is a great idea except that in older lots, it requires the garage to be built on the ground level with a driveway to the street. Although it is nice to have your car protected from the elements and random parking violence, it eliminates the street parking and cancels out any greater good.
My favorite solution is how it’s done in Middle Village, NY. The row homes are built on the garages that you access from a common rear alley. Plenty of parking remains on the street, your car is protected, no one has to look at your ugly garage door, and everyone is happy. But to implement this arrangement, the block has to be designed this way. It’s very hard to construct such parking within a pre-existing footprint.
I pass a lot of garage doors on my daily commute. Some are so ugly, they actually provoke people to cross the street and cause young children to cry in horror. But, fear not! It doesn’t have to be so. There are beautiful garage doors that will not only raise your curb appeal, but will also make the entire block look great.
RowHouse Magazine’s rules for avoiding an ugly garage door are simple:
- Buy something that looks like an actual door
- Keep your garage door in good repair
- Try to coordinate with your neighbors