parking and common house placement
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 14:02:16 -0700 (MST)
>I'd like to ask others on the listserve their opinion about whether it's 
>really necessary to have people pass the common house on the way from 
>the parking lot to their homes....I seem to need to transport a lot of stuff 
wherever I go.  
>I liked your design that puts the common house in the middle, 
>where everyone can see it and get to it easily.  
>Louisa Thompson
I'm at RoseWind Cohousing in Port Townsend WA. We are an up and running 
community of 24 households. Our site plan is a Planned Unit Development 
within the City limits, and we were constrained in a number of ways by 
rules about fire engine access, ambulance access, etc etc. The net result 
is that we can all drive to our homes, vs our original plan to just have 
parking lot(s)/garden carts. And this has NOT destroyed community here. 
It has either been neutral or a benefit to many of us. 

Being able to drive (usually one car, with somewhat more removed parking 
for additional car or guests) to our house has made it much easier for 
those who are less mobile, but also for those with sleeping children, 
groceries, goods being moved to or from, etc. 

As far as community is concerned, we all park outdoors (nobody built a 
garage) and can flag each other down in our yards, including when people 
are coming or going to their car. I can see at a glance who is home, who 
has guests, and such, so in that respect it also connects us, like seeing 
if someone's lights are on or off at night. 

We had originally considered placing our common house in the middle (the 
houses are roughly around the edge of a central commons). However, this 
was in conflict with our desire to have a car-free center (all those 
driveways and access roads are on the perimeter). Having the common house 
in the middle would have meant that anyone needing to drive to it 
(mobility impaired, lots of supplies for cooking a meal, etc) would be 
bringing a car in, plus it would mean trucks in and out of the center for 
garbage, recycling, yard waste collection, UPS/FedEx/Postal (our 
mailboxes are there>, as well as meter readers, propane delivery, repair 
and service vehicles. Plus we would have needed to provide the necessary 
access for fire trucks (which would have had to come far enough from the 
road to then require a whole engineered turnaround). We moved the CH to 
the perimeter, along a street, with a good-sized parking lot that is well 
used. And our central field is car free: the children run and play there, 
the dogs chase balls, our gardens grow. Most of us can see the CH from 
our homes. Almost none of us need to pass it to reach our homes. 

Our CH is used quite often: this week has seen potlucks Wed, Thurs, 
Saturday, TGIF snacks Friday, discussion circle Monday, team-cooked meal 
Monday, several meetings of committees or personal uses, like a singing 
group rehearsal. 

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature) (very active peace movement here- see our 
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