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I own a row home in an urban area in which on street parking is a nightmare. We have a small (20' wide x 25' long) backyard that abuts an alley. Both sides are hemmed in by tall fences. I am thinking about converting some/all of it to a driveway/parking pad. Ideally, we would have enough parking for 2 cars (tandem would be okay), but I do not think it is big enough.

How big does a driveway need to be if you are pulling straight in/out of it?

What about if we did some sort of parallel parking spot for a single car?

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The size of a standard parking spot depends on where you live. For example, in the US the width will usually be between 8 and 10 feet, and 18 to 20 feet long. But in a European country where the average vehicle is smaller, the average parking spot will also be smaller.

Something to consider when designing your parking area: space outside the "lines". You need to have room to open your door and get out without causing damage to the car or whatever is next to it. Make sure to account for that.

Additionally, you need to think about turning room. If the alley is narrow, you may not be able to turn in to your parking spot if the spot is too narrow, especially with another car in the next spot.

  • Any idea what reasonable "outside the lines" numbers might be? – StrongBad Sep 26 '16 at 18:27
  • The only right way to find out for your particular case is to drive in and out from all likely directions, both forward and backward, using typical vehicles, and have someone mark on the ground where the corners of your vehicle are at any given time. This was our standard practice when I was a builder concerned with the actual function of a new home. – isherwood Sep 26 '16 at 19:49

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