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Architecture/Steep Driveway in Boston


from basement to street
from basement to stree  

close up of slope
close up of slope  
This site came up on a google search, linking to another steep driveway problem in Boston.  In answering you mentioned that you had solved a similar problem so I hope you can help with ours.

The contractors who renovated the property installed a garage into the basement.  The only access to the garage is from the main street, therefore the car has to cross the sidewalk.  Previously the contractor made a shallow slope which cut across the sidewalk, but the City ruled it was dangerous and violated the ADA, therefore they tried again with a much steeper slope.  However, this means that most cars are grounded when trying to get over the slope.

Can you suggest a method by which we can extend the slope at a shallower angle so that the car would not get grounded at the top or scrape the floor at the bottom at the bottom?

Can you suggest other methods that may help?  As an alternative we thought of removable ramps, but we would prefer something permanent.

Do you know how I can find architects in the Boston area?

Many thanks,

steep drive
steep drive  

Sorry to take so long getting back to you.  This is a difficult problem and as I sifted through a few semi-plausible alternatives, only one really stands out as practical.  I don't know how high your garage door is, but if it is high enough, then you should extend that steep slope into the garage and shorten the bottom of the doors to accommodate.

I included a quick sketch.  

Best of luck with this,
Steve Major


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Stephen Major


I can answer questions in the following categories: architectural design, architectural woodwork, structural design, building construction, kitchen and bath design. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer. PLEASE provide photos whenever possible.


30 years in the building design and construction field, with emphasis on residential and light commercial projects. This includes over 10 years performing property condition assessments on commercial and industrial properties.

Author of "Architectural Woodwork - Details for Construction" published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (now Wiley).

BS Cornell University.

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