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Old 08-09-2013, 12:17 AM   #1
doctorbonez
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Default Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I recently bought a house with a short steep driveway that goes into a detached garage.

The house is on top of a hill, the the driveway is sloped up from the street up to the garage. I have a lowered miata (that i purchased after the house purchase - didnt expect not to get it into the garage).. I need to attack the driveway at a steep angle to just get the car onto the driveway - but when I try to drive into the garage, the bottom of the car scrapes the 'ridge' where the driveway levels off leading into the garage.

here are some pictures of the garage/driveway.






Can anyone think of some creative solutions so I can get my car into the garage?

some solutions I've come up with:

Best/most expensive: excavate driveway/garage floor - may need to rebuild garage. (probably not an option - im guessing this will run in the 15-30k+ range esp if i need to rebuild the garage)

Cheap/ghetto/ridiculous fix: cut a notch in the 'ridge' so that the oil pan/exhaust/etc will clear the ridge and get into the garage. not an option for obvious reasons.

build or buy a custom ramp from the ridge to the garage that will gradually even out. the parkign surface in the garage will be raised (if i leave the middle open it can even give me a 'pit' to work on my car) - something like this: http://kwik-lift.com/uses.html or http://www.restorationramps.co.uk/ph...ocument&part=3

Since I live in an area that sees a fair amount of snow in the winter - getting UP that driveway is probably going to be a problem also - so I was considering hiring someone to excavate the area between the driveway and the steps - and repave it into a flat area that is approximately level with the street so i can pull in during snow/freezing rain.

The problem will be how the excavated/flat will merge with the severe slope of the driveway... I can always build a retaining wall, so there is an abrupt drop off (with some kind of fence so i dont drive off of it) - but is there more elegant solution?

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Sell the car.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Start your driveway more to the side where the steps are. Be careful of this as you will still need room to turn into the garage. The longer you can make the driveway the least amount of slope you will have. Do you understand what I am saying.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by plow View Post
Sell the car.
If I sold the car, I'd probably end up picking up a Z3 M coupe.. and would probably run into the same issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 70redbee View Post
Do you understand what I am saying.
Yea, I understand what you are saying - however, even with a gradual slope, it'll make it difficult to manage in the setting of a snowstorm/icestorm. I have the type of job where I NEED to be at work when I am on - no ifs ands or buts (ie: can't call out, and there is no such thing as 'snow days'). so I was considering just excavating/flattening that area to ensure I have no issues getting in/out. (will be safer for the wife/kid as well since we can't access the house from the garage and need to walk outside.)
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

In the bottom picture- right about where the car is sitting in the driveway- the driveway needs to be built up with blacktop. This would give the driveway more of a crown or a "hump" (so to speak) in the middle. That way it would be more of a straight shot into the garage.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

You might also want to try larger sized tires.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

How do you get to work in a lowered car with 10" of snow on the ground?
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

It should be criminal to make a driveway that unusable.

Short of redoing the entire driveway with a lot of fill and hoping it doesn't break down in the future I can't think of any viable options.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Get rid of the slope, flatten and level the area. Install four post lift. Use lift to get into garage, and to work on the car. Park two more cars on/ under lift.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

How about lower the floor, flatten the drive, and enjoy more headroom in the garage?
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Easiest, cheapest solution, assuming you keep the car, is to install a hydraulic suspension lift kit.

Ramlft has a kit that is popular, and is on one of my cars (the one with 2" of ground clearance).
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 70redbee View Post
Start your driveway more to the side where the steps are. Be careful of this as you will still need room to turn into the garage. The longer you can make the driveway the least amount of slope you will have. Do you understand what I am saying.
This is the first thing I thought of.. change the approach. You could do alot with this idea. When looking at houses I always check to see if they are Low-Rider friendly.
My current house, I picked the lot because the driveway was supposed to have the least amount of pitch to it.... once the dust settled, the driveway is steeper than I would have wanted, but its too late now..but its not "that" bad..


Quote:
Originally Posted by BoostAddiction View Post
Easiest, cheapest solution, assuming you keep the car, is to install a hydraulic suspension lift kit.

Ramlft has a kit that is popular, and is on one of my cars (the one with 2" of ground clearance).
Hydraulic? If this route, I would go air bags...
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

If I were you, I'd simply raise the car to a drivable level. The trend of lowering cars until they can no longer be driven on normal streets just makes no sense. What fun is it owning a car like that?
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:55 AM   #14
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How do you lower a Miata :-)
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:10 AM   #15
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary S View Post
If I were you, I'd simply raise the car to a drivable level. The trend of lowering cars until they can no longer be driven on normal streets just makes no sense. What fun is it owning a car like that?
Maybe it's a track day car?

Probably the most sensible thing to do is redo the driveway to be semi-circular so you have a longer approach, the first 20 feet of which could be much less steep for the winter emergencies, although you might get home to find it full of snow from the plow.

Clearly, however, this situation calls for the nuclear option... tear out the driveway and garage, excavate so you now have a 3-story garage that's deeper and a nice, low slope driveway.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:14 AM   #16
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Lightbulb Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I've got the solution . . . . but you're not going to like it !!

Cut out swath to garage, along with all the dirt that follows that curved path heading to the road (ie MAJOR earth moving equipment). Then tear out garage floor and continue digging down and just make the garage super tall as you'll concrete the walls to garage and repour floor once you get the whole thing lower. Some "mo money" will need spent putting in roll-up garage door. Obviously a very large retaining wall will need to follow that curve up to road. Bury drainage pipes to handle any rain runoff.

This will give you extra parking outside the garage and more of a flat entrance to garage.

FINALLY, with all that garage height, you can install 4 post lift and put more cars in there !!

Don't ask how much . . . you'll have to scratch back of some GOOD FRIENDS in the earth moving and concrete business.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Take out the rocks and shrubs and drive over your "lawn"
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I would have to say the best/easiest route would be to curve the driveway around closer to the sidewalk. Where the car is sitting in the picture could be flat and level that down as it snakes around to the street. You would definatly need a retaining wall next to the street, but probably your only option.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Fletcher View Post
In the bottom picture- right about where the car is sitting in the driveway- the driveway needs to be built up with blacktop. This would give the driveway more of a crown or a "hump" (so to speak) in the middle. That way it would be more of a straight shot into the garage.
I think this is the simplest solution. Look at the shape of a motorcycle ramp, like this:



You probably don't need that much of a hump in the middle, but a little bit can make a big difference.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I agree easiest, most cost effective solution would be to crown the driveway. Looking at the second image, I would shoot to raise the area where the second tire sits about 8: to a foot, then round it out the the road and the garage.

This solution still sucks, but at least you could get the car in.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:37 AM   #21
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

A car guy would have never bought that house.
When we were house shopping- I can't tell you how many times my wife would show me a house all excited about it & I never made it out of the car.

There are no easy or cheap options here.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:39 AM   #22
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

doctorbonez - At what point does the municipal road right of way stop and your property start? My guess is that it's about where the rear bumper of your car is in the second photo.

I think any solution that involves the regrading of your driveway out to the existing paved road surface or a retaining wall will require discussions with your Town ... which may not be easy.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:10 AM   #23
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I live on the coast. So the first thing that comes to mind is a modified boat lift. Put 2- metal post at rear off car. Attach lift cables to the rear of a set of metal ramps (similar to what you see on a car carrier.). The ramps will sit pretty much flat on the driveway so you can drive up on them without bottoming out. Then using the remote for the lift you can raise the rear of ramp and drive in the garage. This would cost $7,000-$8,000 here.

I have 2-concerns with this solution. First, looking at the photos, I think you live in a subdivision and probably inside of a city. You would probably violate the covenants of the subdivision if you put up a lift in your driveway. Likewise, I doubt you could get the city to issue a permit for an outside lift.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:16 AM   #24
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

More than likely, there's ledge, so lowering the floor would take a lot of dynamite/ jackhammering.

I'd do something like this (image credit: BigMike-BiTOG)



except obviously as long as your car. Have the end of the ramp's angle kinda mirror and intersect with the driveway's angle. The rest of your chassis will slide through the middle of the two ramps. You can stick 'em down somehow to be a semi permanent part of the garage floor. You could also put in a pre-owned alignment rack.

Also evaluate if backing the car in will somehow provide advantages unthought of. For example if you backed over your lawn and hit the apron of your garage floor at an angle you may do better, then you can cock the wheel at the last second to straighten out.

Last edited by eljefino; 08-09-2013 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:30 AM   #25
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Lift kit for the vehicle for clearance.
Floor mounted winch in the garage for impassable weather (Helps with ingress and egress).
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:40 AM   #26
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

^^ Damn, those ramps must weigh 50 lbs each!
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:45 AM   #27
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Sell the low rider, take up 4 wheeling, buy a jeep.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:48 AM   #28
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorbonez View Post
If I sold the car, I'd probably end up picking up a Z3 M coupe.. and would probably run into the same issues.
Do it. Do it now. ;-)
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:13 AM   #29
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Sell the low rider, take up 4 wheeling, buy a jeep.
I was going to suggest that but the garage ceiling might be too low for a lifted Jeep!
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:44 AM   #30
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Sell the silly toy and get a 4x4.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:32 PM   #31
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

what kind of suspension on it? it it has coilovers, just raise the ride height. In my last house I had to raise my ride height to get over the transition from the drive way to garage.

Not anymore thankfully.
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:11 PM   #32
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Put an air suspension kit on the car and you can set your ride height where you want it, then raise it to max height, to get in the garage. It will handle and ride better with the air suspension as well. http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com/part...Pro_Plus/18302
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #33
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I have a race car with low clearance at the headers and the ladder bars that would bottom out at the top of my trailer ramp. I solved this by attaching a pair of 36" long 2x12's to the trailer door. I simply put my car on the ramp stopping a few inches before the headers bottomed out and mounted the 2x12's going forward at that point. I cut the ends at an angle so the car drives over the boards easier. This lifts the rear of the car up and over the high point without any trouble.
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

A friend of mine has a brand new ZO6 Corvette.

He had his old, cracked cement driveway which runs down hill into his garage removed and replaced with a blacktop drive. He went over the slope with the contactor no less than three times to ensure the Vette wouldn't bottom out.

Yep, you guessed it - the made it too steep and the car was stuck in the garage for over three months till they finally came back, ripped out the new blacktop and redid it correctly.
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:46 PM   #35
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

small retaining wall needed for this
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #36
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Make a what you guys call a tetertoter, seesaw, that the pivot is at the door entrance, cars own weight as you move slowly pivots the balance????
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:34 PM   #37
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Easy, simple and cheap. Lay down some 2"x12" ( or 2 2"x6" to get 12" wide) wooden planks along the route where the wheels run. About 8'-10' feet down the driveway and the same into the garage. So when you drive into the garage, your wheels will be on the planks. The angles will still be the same, but the undercarriage will be dropping down into to space between the planks. Attach the planks with masonary nails, and paint black with anti-skid paint so they won't be slippery. Painted black they will not be noticable. Depending on how much room you need to clear the undercarriage, you may only need planks on one side or may need to double them up to be 4" thick.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:46 PM   #38
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Build another garage on top of the existing one, but orient the door to the side or toward the house. Make another drive to the right of your concrete sidewalk. Drive up, turn 90 degrees and pull in!
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:56 PM   #39
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I think the simple solution would be to call some concretors in to have a look at it. Ask them if they can install a concrete driveway that is steeper at the road, and then levels off a bit into the garage. The steepness at the beginning may be a little difficult in snow, but I think it's going to be the only real solution.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:11 PM   #40
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Similar to a couple of other suggestions:
*L* shaped driveway that starts to the right of where the steps are now, retaining wall on the left side of the existing driveway & on the street side. Large flat area directly out front of the garage.
Top of the L to be at street level, bottom part of the L to be the flat area in front of the garage doors. Picture the letter L laid flat towards you & rotated 90deg counterclockwise (if you see what I mean?) Like Kels idea, but bigger/better

Could even extend the garage out onto the street side of the new flat area & rotate the doors 90deg so they face towards the right side of the property. Double bonus: bigger garage & driveway not so steep.

If your property extends to the right of the steps far enough, you should end up with a driveway about as steep as the long sloped part of the steps (which will need to be relocated, maybe the other side of the tree).
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #41
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Put some 22 inch wheels with spinners on the Miata. Might as well buy Yoself a grill, and wear Your pants real baggy. Or, buy a pickup, or Jeep.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:29 PM   #42
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZRX61 View Post
...extend the garage out onto the street side of the new flat area & rotate the doors 90deg so they face towards the right side of the property. Double bonus: bigger garage & driveway not so steep...
I really liked Jaimie's redneck approach--maybe could smooth some rough edges.

But the massive retaining wall and backfill project with extended garage is a very attractive bucks-up fix.

Either heavily impacts a lovely property whose streetside face should be seriously considered.

4x4 or AWD.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:33 PM   #43
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Originally Posted by kweber1911 View Post
I would have to say the best/easiest route would be to curve the driveway around closer to the sidewalk. Where the car is sitting in the picture could be flat and level that down as it snakes around to the street. You would definatly need a retaining wall next to the street, but probably your only option.
That's my thinking, too.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:19 PM   #44
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Repositioning the driveway would be the easiest & most cost effective method.

Crude drawing, but it should give you the right idea.

Blue would be retaining walls, red would be new pavement for driveway.


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Old 08-10-2013, 12:50 AM   #45
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Just get you a good running start!
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:09 AM   #46
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Good suggestions here, but rather spendy unless you are really getting hung up. Do you have to get a running start and nearly high center, spinning tires? Or does it just scrape and bump a tiny bit? If the first, then a car change or expenditure of serious dollars sounds in order. If the latter, I would try two things:
1- grind down the lip where the driveway meets the garage floor. As long as you are grinding outside where the garage seal hits, it should not cause an issue. Round this over as much as possible. FYI - the 9" grinder from HF is inexpensive and works well for a single use project such as this.
2- pull the car into, but stop just short of scrapping. Then get out and check to see what is hitting. Maybe it is something that can be cut, bent, or removed for clearance. Think exhaust. If its the frame, this wont help you.

You may need to do both of these or maybe a combination of one of my ideas and a slight car height change???

Good luck!
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:10 AM   #47
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

It could be worse:

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Old 08-10-2013, 09:17 AM   #48
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Scoop out the driveway and re-pour, level with the street. Build a new garage on this pad, right in front of the existing garage. Convert the existing garage to a shop.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #49
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Repositioning the driveway would be the easiest & most cost effective method.

Crude drawing, but it should give you the right idea.

Blue would be retaining walls, red would be new pavement for driveway.


^^THIS^^. Probably not the most "cost effective" idea, but it would solve your winter parking issues. As for the garage skirt, you could cut a portion out and level the floor with the driveway, or use some ramps to go over it.
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Between the house, garage and cars will there ever be enough time???
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:04 AM   #50
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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It could be worse:

This is a HUGE "FAIL" ! LOL.
The architect should be shot, the builder should have his license pulled and be shot and the municipal inspector should lose his job and be shot!
Seriously, though ..How the Hell????
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Between the house, garage and cars will there ever be enough time???
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #51
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

You say your miata was lowered. How hard would it be to put it back to its original height.

If you live on a steep hill and it snows a lot, you may want to get rid of the miata and get a vehicle that can handle a snowy hill with ease.

BTW, Nice house!!!

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Old 08-10-2013, 12:39 PM   #52
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It could be worse:

Must be a jeep owners house!

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Old 08-10-2013, 01:06 PM   #53
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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It could be worse:

I was waiting for someone to post this old picture. It's been floating around the internet for years, but I've always thought it was a photoshopped picture. It can't possibly be real. Nobody would build like that and nobody would buy a house built like that.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:30 PM   #54
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

^^^ I would have thought so too but here's the neighbourhood that it's in.

5028 New Bridge Road, Fayetteville, AR 72704

https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sou...12,358.77,,0,5
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:30 PM   #55
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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It could be worse:

Can you even pour concrete at that much of an angle?

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Old 08-10-2013, 05:38 PM   #56
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Can you even pour concrete at that much of an angle?...
Sure, in a form.
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Old 08-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #57
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I was waiting for someone to post this old picture. It's been floating around the internet for years, but I've always thought it was a photoshopped picture. It can't possibly be real. Nobody would build like that and nobody would buy a house built like that.
I've seen some driveways in Austin, TX that are like that, but in reverse. Also imagine a 90 degree turn at the bottom to go in your garage. Miss the turn and you go off a cliff.

During the few times in winter when they get some ice, you see a LOT of cars parked out in the streets.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:30 PM   #58
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I was waiting for someone to post this old picture. It's been floating around the internet for years, but I've always thought it was a photoshopped picture. It can't possibly be real. Nobody would build like that and nobody would buy a house built like that.
It's not shopped.. I saw an entire thread, with multiple shots of it.. unfortunately, it's real.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:01 PM   #59
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Here's the actual house in Google Street View-

http://goo.gl/maps/NvwqZ
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #60
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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It could be worse:

It looks altered with photoshop to look bad, even after reading the comments to the end of the thread, after comparing it with the google images. The perspective of the upper far corner of the second driveway in the thread image looks off (I've worked with photoshop for years). There are different numbers of sidewalk sections between the driveways in the two images. The google image driveways look far less steep and the second driveway has an easing of its angle meeting at the sidewalk. You can argue that the first driveway does or doesn't have the easing in the google image, but I think it does. The thread image has no easing in either driveway. The lengths of driveway and numbers of sections between the road and sidewalk in the two images is different. There doesn't look to be the same number of upper driveway sections in the two images either.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:53 PM   #61
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I worked in land development for 40 years and never saw a driveway like the one above. I couldn't tell you how many subdivisions we developed but if an Engineer ever presented grading plans to us like that he'd be fired.

Here's what the Fayetteville City Engineer had to say about the above driveway.
(Post #41 of ... http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...t=25606&page=2 ) ...

Why would someone slightly scrunch the photographs horizontally, since the original aspect ratio is dramatic enough? I know this for a fact - I'm the one who took the photographs. There is no digital altering of any sort other than these posted photos being a little too narrow. Although that was several years ago, 2003 maybe?, I've just now stumbled across this very interesting thread.

I was City Engineer for Fayetteville at the time, and was stunned to see such a ridiculous driveway being constructed. The white car in the photo, our department vehicle, does look a little too narrow in these posted photos. Of course, the Mayor and all sorts of people were immediately notified of this insane situation, and I sent several photos out to disbelieving friends. I'm guessing that's how they ended up on the internet, and were even seen in a military presentation in Korea!

ESI out of Springdale was the site engineer, and Riggins Construction was the developer and homebuilder. We called them immediately to try to find some sort of after-the-fact solution, which you eagle-eyed folks have spotted. The best we could come up, short of demolishing the houses and rebuilding with 2-stories, was to move the sidewalk closer to the street and then tear out and repour the driveways. It didn't gain them much, but I suppose every degree counts in this instance.

At the time, Fayetteville did not have any maximum driveway slope regulations - so much for assuming common sense would prevail! I always thought the market would keep these houses unsold for years, but they sold shortly after being completed - I would have loved to see them struggling to move in.

I will try to locate the original photos and post them. To paraphrase, "no planning or construction mistake is totally useless, it can always be a bad example!"

Gary
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:29 PM   #62
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

More pics of the same driveway to show it actually was that steep !







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Old 08-10-2013, 11:49 PM   #63
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Thanks PC06, no wonder I couldn't reconcile the images as the same driveways!
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:57 PM   #64
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I lived down the street, in Ore Lake, MI, where spec builders did a similar thing in siting a house. Like a lot of folks, they plopped a preplanned house plan down on a site for which it was never intended. The result was that the driveway slope would have been like the example above.
So they closed off the garage door opening and made it living space. Brought in a driveway alongside the house and left it with no garage.
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Old 08-11-2013, 03:02 AM   #65
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Arrow Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Originally Posted by wssix99 View Post
It could be worse:

You have got to be shitting me?!?!?

How is this even possible?!


I'm blown away by this. When we were looking at houses I was hesitant to get the house we had because of a little steeper drive way... looking at that picture above I'd simply tell the agent no and start walking another direction..lol No way I'd ever consider that possible ever... Where is that picture taken from via location wise??

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Old 08-11-2013, 07:03 AM   #66
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

In new subdivisions a lot of purchasers buy off of plans long before the subdivision and houses are built. For most people, understanding site grading based on their review of an engineering drawing is very difficult. I've never seen anything as bad as the one above but we used to get customers that would complain about grading that was well within the design standards that were specified by the municipality.

Most buyers would visit the subdivision while it was under construction and before their house was even started and that's when the complaining would start. Believe it or not another fairly common complaint was about the street name.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:12 AM   #67
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I lived down the street, in Ore Lake, MI, where spec builders did a similar thing in siting a house. Like a lot of folks, they plopped a preplanned house plan down on a site for which it was never intended. The result was that the driveway slope would have been like the example above.
So they closed off the garage door opening and made it living space. Brought in a driveway alongside the house and left it with no garage.
That's a good point. That is a badly graded site and that is definitely the wrong type of house for it. Rather than a bungalow, a 2 storey front yard walkout would have reduced the drive way grade significantly. That style doesn't appear to be in other parts of the neighbourhood that I can see from the Google maps so you're right, the builder just "plopped" down its standard product.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:25 AM   #68
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Originally Posted by doctorbonez View Post

Any thoughts?
Yes, As suggested by PCO6, you need to pay a visit to the Bldg Dept.

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doctorbonez - At what point does the municipal road right of way stop and your property start? My guess is that it's about where the rear bumper of your car is in the second photo.

I think any solution that involves the regrading of your driveway out to the existing paved road surface or a retaining wall will require discussions with your Town ... which may not be easy.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:56 AM   #69
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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More pics of the same driveway to show it actually was that steep !







Only cure to this crap . . . . is a BULLDOZER !!!
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:59 AM   #70
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Yes, As suggested by PCO6, you need to pay a visit to the Bldg Dept.
AGREE. It's better that you visit them before they visit you!
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:12 AM   #71
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Only cure to this crap . . . . is a BULLDOZER !!!
That's kind of what they did. They bulldozed the original driveway and sidewalk. If you're suggesting the house be bulldozed ... you're right!

According to the City Engineer (post #61) they removed the driveways (more than 1 house) moved the side walk closer to the street then repoured the driveways. That would allow for a lower draiveway grade but not by much. That's also not good because the utilities (hydro, water, gas, cable, etc.) are typically placed in trenches below the boulevard. If they ever have to repair or replace a utility it will likely require ripping up the sidewalk and replacing it. Normally the grass boulevard would be ripped up which is a LOT less costly.

The pictures above are from before the sidewalk was moved.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:24 AM   #72
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

WTF, If I bought a house pre planned and it ended up like that heads would roll
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:36 AM   #73
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Wink Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Driveways . . . hell, I say BULLDOZE the whole damn house and start over.

That steep lot / driveway renders the garage useless for it's intended purpose . . . storing vehicles that can be driven in and out easily. Even carving out all that soil and re-building house as 2 story with drive-in basement would not be cost effective. Best solution . . . BULLDOZER !!

If the bureaucracies forced me to own that thing, it would not take long for a "mystery" fire to occur and burn the whole thing!! There are restaurants that have the "mystery fire" setup down to a science. There was an ice-cream shop that burned with "kitchen fire" and just so happened they rebuilt the business 1/2 mile down road on better location, that also allowed them to implement new building format (ie their goal overall)!! During road construction, another hamburger shop had "mystery fire" in kitchen that coincidentally forced them to remodel the entire time that the road construction was happening!! Third example was taco restaurant that had "mystery kitchen fire" during road construction which allowed their remodel to magically be completed when road was done!! I'd bet my left nut that these businesses also had business continuation insurance so that all normal profits during rebuild also were paid !!

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Old 08-11-2013, 11:56 AM   #74
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Back to the original question....the cheapest, quickest, simplest solution is a combination of those suggested above by eljefino, Red Goat & Jamie K.

Get a couple of 16' treated 2x12s. Lay them on the garage floor so that the ends just clear the garage door. I'd fasten them to the floor by drilling a hole through the 2x12 near each end....and into the concrete. Hammer a t-nut to the underside of the 2x12 and install a bolt from the top side to make pegs to locate the 2x12 to the floor. This allows you to move the boards out of the way for cleaning the floor - or any other time you don't want that obstruction on the floor....but makes it easy to put the boards back into the correct position, and prevents them from moving around.

As soon as your front wheels get inside the garage, they'll kick the front end up - and probably give you the clearance you need. If that's not quite enough clearance, just screw another 2x12 on top of those to give you a 3" lift instead of 1.5". If you think it's needed, you can always cut an angle on the end of the 2x12. That probably won't be needed if one layer is enough...but might be better if you have to add a layer.

Doing this only costs a few bucks, is completely DIY, doesn't make any permanent changes to your garage (other than 4 easily patched holes in the floor), doesn't show from the outside, and can be completely undone in a minute.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:35 PM   #75
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Repositioning the driveway would be the easiest & most cost effective method.

Crude drawing, but it should give you the right idea.

Blue would be retaining walls, red would be new pavement for driveway.


Thanks for all comments - I like this solution the best. In fact I was out tonight speaking to one of my neighbor oldtimers who have been here for years - and apparently they have discussed amongst themselves for years how to best deal with my driveway- I'm curious why our previous owner (who was a MD, so im sure $$ isnt an issue) never did anything with it. The two solutinos they came up with were - to lower the garage floor or to begin the driveway near the steps, and build a couple of retaining walls as p_mori drew up.

As someone mentioned earlier in the thread - the town owns the first 8 or 10 feet - so we'll have to apply for a variance. hopefully they will not be hard to come by.

BTW: in my research for solutions to my steep driveway - I came across that rediculous picture as well - thought it was shopped - interesting to read that quote from the city engineer!
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:02 PM   #76
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Go back to the factory suspension and go with a higher profile tire.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:02 AM   #77
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Thanks for all comments - I like this solution the best. In fact I was out tonight speaking to one of my neighbor oldtimers who have been here for years - and apparently they have discussed amongst themselves for years how to best deal with my driveway-
I don't think this will work out well for you due to lack of space between the garage and road. You probably have enough room (and can draw on paper) a curved driveway following the steps, but you really need a wider space/pad in front of the garage so you can pull cars in/out straight and park more easily. Allowing for a turning radius as you go up the ramp by the retaining wall will also require more space.

You might try laying this shape and your garage out on a flat parking lot to see how all the curves lay out and if you have enough pad space in front of the garage.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:15 AM   #78
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It looks altered with photoshop to look bad, even after reading the comments to the end of the thread, after comparing it with the google images. The perspective of the upper far corner of the second driveway in the thread image looks off (I've worked with photoshop for years). There are different numbers of sidewalk sections between the driveways in the two images. The google image driveways look far less steep and the second driveway has an easing of its angle meeting at the sidewalk. You can argue that the first driveway does or doesn't have the easing in the google image, but I think it does. The thread image has no easing in either driveway. The lengths of driveway and numbers of sections between the road and sidewalk in the two images is different. There doesn't look to be the same number of upper driveway sections in the two images either.
Yes that image isn't 100% truthful for sure. Looking at the google link there is obviously a shitty incline but not to that degree.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:24 AM   #79
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I was out tonight speaking to one of my neighbor oldtimers who have been here for years - and apparently they have discussed amongst themselves for years how to best deal with my driveway- I'm curious why our previous owner (who was a MD, so im sure $$ isnt an issue) never did anything with it. The two solutinos they came up with were - to lower the garage floor or to begin the driveway near the steps, and build a couple of retaining walls as p_mori drew up.

As someone mentioned earlier in the thread - the town owns the first 8 or 10 feet - so we'll have to apply for a variance. hopefully they will not be hard to come by.
If you were to pay a visit to the Bldg Dept you might find out the previous owner did attempt to address it.
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Old 08-13-2013, 02:28 PM   #80
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Yes that image isn't 100% truthful for sure. Looking at the google link there is obviously a shitty incline but not to that degree.

I can assure you it is not photo shopped, maybe a bit of a weird angle or compression due to shape, but nothing that changes it significantly. Google street view shows the house after it was "fixed". Notice on the first picture (and the one with the truck) vs. steet view that the sidewalk is much closer to the road currently. The house was built around 2004. I don't remember the exact details but my boss at the time (civil engineer, not associated with the project design) was consulted as an expert when lawsuits were being considered and a solution was being sought, I don't believe they had graded the lot according to the subdivision plans. There was a lot of bickering over who was at fault. They had to tear out the sidewalks and driveways, then regrade and redo the sidewalks and driveways to improve the situation. If you look at the aerial photo on google maps you can see how the sidewalk cuts in weird on that block, much closer to the road than the rest of the subdivision. I drove a 93 4runner with a 5 inch lift with 35 inch tires, and when I tried the original drive my hitch hit, of course 4runners have a long rear end, but really.... I can't find the pictures from it, but it was bad.
EDIT - see this has been cleared up in post 61

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Old 08-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #81
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I can assure you it is not photo shopped, maybe a bit of a weird angle or compression due to shape, but nothing that changes it significantly. Google street view shows the house after it was "fixed". ...
Yeah, I was wrong. Not p'shopped at all but two different driveways. Doesn't excuse the idiots who built the first one though! Funny thing is, on that Bldg Dept website several posts down some joker tries to take credit for p'shopping it after all....
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:57 PM   #82
srmofo
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

2X10s Bolted To The Garage Floor.

By Raising The Front Of The Vehicle Before It Bottoms Out, You Essentially Give The Car A Lift.

TheOnly Issue With This Is The Trip Hazard Created When The Car Is Gone
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:22 AM   #83
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I like the curved drive approach w/ retaining wall. You may have a bit of trouble with a variance as the retaining wall may interfer with snow clearing equip.

Another idea is to dig out and build another garage at street grade to the right of the existing one. Kinda funky and would require another retaining wall in between the two drives due to the elevation step.

So, me thinks that if the city doesn't play ball with you then, as mentioned, a good idea would be to make existing garage a shop and build a new lower garage lower and in front of existing. Personal entry would be tricky in the winter as you would have to walk down a bunch of steps.
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Old 08-31-2013, 03:01 PM   #84
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Originally Posted by srmofo View Post
2X10s Bolted To The Garage Floor.

By Raising The Front Of The Vehicle Before It Bottoms Out, You Essentially Give The Car A Lift.

TheOnly Issue With This Is The Trip Hazard Created When The Car Is Gone
I was just going to post this same thing. gotta change the angle and you'll be all set. this is really your only option other than digging something out to make a nice arc to the driveway
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:45 PM   #85
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Sell this house and move?
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:44 PM   #86
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Sell this house and move?
This is the best option. I have a crowned drive way and it makes parking on it a bitch. Should also mention that you will get into the garage without scraping but you might not make it into the street or on the drive way with out scraping the front bumper. Wifes car scrapes all the time now.
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:45 PM   #87
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I think I would look into demo the current garage and rebuilding at street level. If that is to expensive I would think p_mori7 suggestion would work ok.
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:34 AM   #88
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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Back to the original question....the cheapest, quickest, simplest solution is a combination of those suggested above by eljefino, Red Goat & Jamie K.

Get a couple of 16' treated 2x12s. Lay them on the garage floor so that the ends just clear the garage door. I'd fasten them to the floor by drilling a hole through the 2x12 near each end....and into the concrete. Hammer a t-nut to the underside of the 2x12 and install a bolt from the top side to make pegs to locate the 2x12 to the floor. This allows you to move the boards out of the way for cleaning the floor - or any other time you don't want that obstruction on the floor....but makes it easy to put the boards back into the correct position, and prevents them from moving around.

As soon as your front wheels get inside the garage, they'll kick the front end up - and probably give you the clearance you need. If that's not quite enough clearance, just screw another 2x12 on top of those to give you a 3" lift instead of 1.5". If you think it's needed, you can always cut an angle on the end of the 2x12. That probably won't be needed if one layer is enough...but might be better if you have to add a layer.

Doing this only costs a few bucks, is completely DIY, doesn't make any permanent changes to your garage (other than 4 easily patched holes in the floor), doesn't show from the outside, and can be completely undone in a minute.
I agree that this is a quick and inexpensive solution. You just need to make sure to get the widest 2x12, so it is easier to align your wheel up to the lumber.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:19 AM   #89
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Can you put concrete in front of the garage at a slightly different angle than the floor and the drive? It will give you three angles rather than two. If all you need is an inch or two this could be enough. Maybe just a sheet of steel or something if front of the door would be enough. I use a 2x6 to get lowered motorcycles on my lift without bottoming out it does not take much. Good luck.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:03 AM   #90
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I think I would look into demo the current garage and rebuilding at street level. If that is to expensive I would think p_mori7 suggestion would work ok.
I would also try to make the floor close to street level. Hopefully without demo. It is the only real solution that doesn't violate the right of way of the city. It has the added benefit of making the garage taller for storage in the attic.
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:09 PM   #91
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Reed View Post
Back to the original question....the cheapest, quickest, simplest solution is a combination of those suggested above by eljefino, Red Goat & Jamie K.

Get a couple of 16' treated 2x12s. Lay them on the garage floor so that the ends just clear the garage door. I'd fasten them to the floor by drilling a hole through the 2x12 near each end....and into the concrete. Hammer a t-nut to the underside of the 2x12 and install a bolt from the top side to make pegs to locate the 2x12 to the floor. This allows you to move the boards out of the way for cleaning the floor - or any other time you don't want that obstruction on the floor....but makes it easy to put the boards back into the correct position, and prevents them from moving around.

As soon as your front wheels get inside the garage, they'll kick the front end up - and probably give you the clearance you need. If that's not quite enough clearance, just screw another 2x12 on top of those to give you a 3" lift instead of 1.5". If you think it's needed, you can always cut an angle on the end of the 2x12. That probably won't be needed if one layer is enough...but might be better if you have to add a layer.

Doing this only costs a few bucks, is completely DIY, doesn't make any permanent changes to your garage (other than 4 easily patched holes in the floor), doesn't show from the outside, and can be completely undone in a minute.
You may have to replace these 2x12 from time to time. This is because your car will be sitting on these lumbers all the time. Lumbers are not concrete, and will not be able to sustain the heavy car weight forever, these lumbers will eventually get crushed. And you will have to replace them when that happen.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:08 PM   #92
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

Nope - how about saw cutting about 12" into the garage and a few feet on the driveway then excavating the area. Then pour a new "slanted" area between the two, giving a more gradual pitch into the garage. If the area that is hitting the bottom of the car is at the garage concrete area only, cutting out and re-grading that area would work.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:14 AM   #93
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

I would guess that, at some point in the last 18 months, DoctorBonez either solved his problem or gave up. Even if he hadn't, he hasn't been logged on to the site since 8/21/13 either.
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:45 AM   #94
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Default Re: Short steep driveway - can't get into my garage!

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I would guess that, at some point in the last 18 months, DoctorBonez either solved his problem or gave up. Even if he hadn't, he hasn't been logged on to the site since 8/21/13 either.
Maybe he bought a small helicopter....
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