Battling City Hall on Narrow Streets & Alleys
I would be very interested to learn from others how to deal with local government on the issue of narrow streets and alleys. From what I have learned through my own experience development is battling city hall on three fronts:
- Engineering - conventional engineering standards for residential streets are auto-focused, with little (if any) attention being given to the pedestrian. Engineering departments won't look at anything else because its not "in the book".
- Public Works - Narrow streets and alleys create problems (in their mind) with things such as snow removal, on-street parking, public -vs- private streets, etc.
- Fire Dept. - Fire Depts. will stick to the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) requirements which call for 20 feet of unobstructed street width. They may even specify that they require more than that. I am having a city tell me that they require 26 feet of asphalt street width, basing it on APPENDIX D in the UFC which is not a mandatory part of the code. They argue emergency response time for fire safety while diminishing the bigger issue of life safety based on vehicle speeds associated with auto and pedestrian accidents.
How does one successfully navigate the gauntlet being imposed by these three municipal departments to get street and alley standards that both developer and government can be comfortable with? While there may not be clear cut answers to this question right now, I have to believe that there are countless success stories which can be shared which have helped generate movement towards narrower street and alley standards.
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