Re: Parking (more complete version)
From: Jim Snyder-Grant (
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 11:52:46 -0500
(Pressed Send instead of Save by mistake on an incomplete version an 
hour ago..)

The scoop on parking at New View (Acton MA):

We had a number of households who really wanted drive-up parking. There  
were a variety of reasons, but most of these households (including mine) 
are one or more  of: older, disabled, with multiple kids, or used to and 
comfortable with drive up parking. We ended up with about 1/2 of the 
houses, on one side of the site, having drive-up parking and/or attached 

Our site is on a hill that has a steep section in the middle. Our main 
driveway snakes up one side of the hill, and drains into parking lots 
near the top and bottom of the hill. Houses at that side of the hill 
have drive-up parking: this is about 1/2 of our houses.

The houses are arranged, roughly speaking, in 4 clusters. In all but one 
of these clusters, the area in the middle of the clusters is carfree, 
and the area between the clusters is car free, so that there is a big 
pedestrian area for informal socializing, kids play, etc. The cluster 
have the layout of cul-de-sacs, but instead of a road looping through 
each cluster, we have a sidewalk (aka Spring Peeper Lane).

The houses that are farther from the parking lots generally enjoy better 
views and have less traffic noise, but they do have extra lugging to 
deal with. Many of these households share large wheeled carts that 
generally live near the parking lots or in front of co-owners houses. We 
also have a spine road up the middle of the hill that is accessible for 
emergency vehicles, and deliveries as needed. 

When we were doing individual site selection, acess or distance from 
cars was one of major factors determining who lived where.

Are the people living in the car-access zones less involved in the 
informal life of the community? I would say yes, generally speaking. I 
do not know which came first though: sometimes the desire to have a car 
near by is because you know that you will be very busy with 
out-of-neighborhood life a lot, and in our burbs that generally means 
hopping in the car. (Exception: West Acton Center and Idylewild 
Farmstand are within walking distance). 

I'm on the car-side, and I mostly see people at more planned gatherings: 
picnics, potlucks, committee meetings, etc. I have fewer regular 
journies through the interior of the community. But, I expect that to 
shift after the common house is up.

Sometimes I call us New View carhousing, because of all the time we 
spent thinking about cars. But wandering through the community last 
weekend, I realized how much I enjoyed our large car-free area and had 
started taking it for granted. 

jimsg [at]
Jim Snyder-Grant
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