I'm fortunate on this blog to have commenters who not only are willing to share their wealth of knowledge on the topics I post about, but who frequently include links to streetview images of their own choosing which, due to the limitations of Blogger's commenting system, can't be easily displayed there. Many of these examples are so interesting and relevant that I often want to feature them in a post of their own. I've finally gotten around to doing that here, using some of the examples submitted in response to last Friday's post on townhouses and parking (I may add to this list as time allows).
Nicolas Derome, who has a series of posts at the Strong Towns Network exploring the urban form of Toronto and Montreal that I recommend checking out, contributed examples of contemporary attempts to integrate townhouses and parking from both of those cities:
Nicolas notes that in the above Toronto example, since the streets are private, widths of only 20 feet, rather than 25 or 30 feet, are permitted. The technique of recessing garage doors while emphasizing pedestrian entrances is presumably intended to mitigate the visual effect of the garages: is it an improvement?
From Alai comes this example of parking subtly integrated into Craftsman-style San Francisco rowhouses. I agree with Alai that this is a better result than the example I showed from the Sunset neighborhood, and in fact many San Francisco townhouses of the first half of the 20th century did make creative efforts to incorporate garages elegantly and unobtrusively:
Another example from Nicolas shows a parking approach taken in Montreal, where a narrow driveway is used to access below grade parking, which is then decked over to provide a spacious patio area. This is very similar to one of the townhouse parking approaches described by Nathan Lewis (see Solution Three), and requires no more than the excavation of a basement-sized area:
Finally, another example from Nicolas featuring Alcorn Avenue, not far from Toronto's central business district. The street appears to have a mix of rowhouses from throughout the 20th century, including several from the 1980s with front-loading parking. The overall result is very successful though, due in part to the narrowness of the street, in part to the effective use of limited greenery, but more than anything to what Marc describes in the comments as "organic variation - [where] each house and door [is] designed by a different person." This variation, Marc notes, communicates a human presence even where garages are present and noticeable.
This sort of variation was also cited as a sign of urban health by Jane Jacobs, of course, whose own home was located within walking distance of Alcorn Street. As she wrote, "a successful city district becomes a kind of ever-normal granary as far as construction is concerned. Some of the old buildings, year by year, are replaced by new ones – or rehabilitated to a degree equivalent to replacement. Over the years there is, therefore, constantly a mixture of buildings of many ages and types." When redeveloped piecemeal, rather than at once, each new building adds to the texture of the street, and the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Thanks again, everyone, for all the interesting comments.