Copyright © 2013 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
We've been in our house for about 13 years. E and I bought a tiny house and did a lot of renovation to make it a substantially larger place. The layout is nice and the backyard is substantial and it's a nice walk to school. There's a problem and we've been aware of it for a while - the road in front of our house is marked as 30, but according to the most recent traffic survey, the average speed that cars go is 45. There's a bend up the street - if you work out the stopping distance at 45 mph from that point, it's past our driveway. This wouldn't be a problem if there was a sidewalk on our side of the street - but there isn't.
If you think about one of our goals of having Alice be able to live independently, we know that if she's crossing the street, she's going to get hit by a car. It isn't a matter of if, it's when. The cars drive too quickly and the road is too well traveled. We already have evidence of it - our next door neighbors own a dog who has three legs because it was hit by a car. When Alice took transport to school (ie, "the short bus"), we dealt with drivers passing the stopped bus with its lights going on a daily basis.
E tried to work with our ward representative to see if we could get the road changed - a speed hump, better signage, lights, etc. In consulting with traffic engineers and the town there is no solution that the town can afford.
So for the past year we've been watching the local real estate looking for something that meets our space needs and is an easy walk to a bus stop. The houses we've seen are either too small or out of our price range or both. Our realtor suggested looking at a new development in town and we've decided to get a house built to meet our needs as best as possible.
This will be it:
Alice's room will be over the garage.
So, what are the criteria that we've worked from? First, the street is quiet. Second, there's a sidewalk in front of the house and it's an easy walk to the bus stop. Fourth, a finished basement with an escape window:
Why? We're anticipating that at some point in the future the basement might be converted into a small apartment/efficiency. With the means of egress, it will do that quite well. Alice's room has nice light and easy to access closets:
It's going to be a challenge to manage the transition, but we take the kids by to follow the construction and walk around the neighborhood. It's a difficult decision since we've invested so much time in our current place, but this is the right choice to make.