March 31, 2008

Alley(s and) Cats

My wife and I live in an above-garage apartment in an older part of town with decent size lots, houses on the street (as opposed to garage maws), a nice grid layout and alley-ways which all of those things allow for.  Our "granny-flat" apartment backs up (literally) against one such and "working" from home as I do I am continuously surprised at how busy it is with all the necessary, good busy-ness of keeping a town/neighborhood running: repairmen, garbage pickup, green waste pickup, utility vehicles, and cats.  Yes, cats.  I don't know if there is any research on the subject but from my 3 months of observation I would have to wager that the presence of alleys reduces the incidence of cat vs. vehicle encounters quite dramatically.  Today, they were doing a little alley maintenance - grading and smoothing things up a bit: 

The alley is often criticized for its lack of neatness, but that is its essence: it’s where all the messy stuff goes. From garage doors to trash containers, transformers, electrical meters, and telephone equipment, the alley takes them out of public view, something that is all the more necessary these days with the advent of recycling bins and cable TV boxes. Also, by handling many of the neighborhood’s underground utilities, alleys allow streets to be narrower and to be planted with trees, which becomes difficult when water, sewer, gas, electricity, cable, and telephone are all placing demands on the front right-of-way. Alleys are also appreciated by the fire chief, since they allow firefighters another path to the building. Alleys may also provide direct access to backyard granny flats, giving them an address independent of the main house.

- Suburban Nation, pp. 81-82

No comments:

Blog Archive