Not Your Grandfather's Alley
So many advantages to be found by building the simple alley again. Garage doors come off the front of the house and go in the back. driveways go in the back and another parking space is now available at the curb in front of the house. Electric, gas, phone and cable TV services go in the alley so you don't have a transformer and a clutch of green/grey utility pedestals in the front yard.
Unfortunately, just because something is simple doesn't make it easy. Some fire departments would like to reserve the possibility that they could drive fire trucks down the alley so they would like it engineered to accomodate the movements of a 40 foot ladder truck. No. the fire hydrants are in the front, (so fight any fires from the front just like you would in places without alleys). The design vehicle for a modern alley should be the garbage truck. the turning radius of the garbage truck should guide the geometry of the alley pavement. Some places have side-loading trucks that require two trips through the alley or require all the cans to be arranged by the residents on one side of the alley.
Stay tuned for more technical particulars on alleys. (photo by Sandy Sorlien)