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Narrow driveway?

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by rjpryan, May 6, 2014.

  1. rjpryan

    rjpryan Member

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    Has anyone here had to deal with the narrow driveway between two houses in an old city issue? I'm in Pittsburgh, and my driveway runs slightly uphill between two brick houses. Minimum clearance is approximately 101". Is this even feasible to drive a Model S up? It seems like it would physically fit, but maintaining that kind of narrow clearance on either side of the car (11.8" on either side with the mirrors folded in, 7.4" on either side with them folded out) seems incredibly challenging and nerve-racking. Especially given the slight slope of the driveway and the winter conditions here. There is a garage at the back which is why I would want to drive all the way up.

    Here's what I'm working with – the driveway will be repaved within the next month or two.

    image002.jpg image001.jpg

    Thanks!
     
  2. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    That sure looks narrow, but will look much less scary with a flat, paved surface. With the mirrors folded in, that might be challenging but I think you could do it, and over time it would get easier. The rearview camera would be extremely helpful for backing out (or in), depending on whether you can turn around in front of the garage.

    I would totally volunteer to bring OUTAGAS over there to try it out, but she is having her windshield replaced as we speak!

    Anybody else out there with a similar experience? It's one thing to navigate a narrow garage opening, but running a fifty-foot gauntlet between buildings is something else entirely.
     
  3. Ardie

    Ardie Member

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    I have a similar problem with a narrow driveway, and our past (and present) cars bear the scars of inattention on the side mirrors and bumpers. Even the distance sensors will not save every miscalculation.

    If you have more than 6" clearance per side, then it is doable (watch out for the gutter downspout!), but be -very- careful when traversing the tunnel-of-terror at night or in bad weather.
    I had thought of putting in some kind of tire guide, similar to a car wash system, but it isn't really practical or feasable, especially if you own more than one car.

    After a few months of this, you'll probably be able to zoom down the driveway at 8+ mph without thinking about it.
    All bets are off if there is a 2nd driver...

    -- Ardie
    10" curb feelers come to mind.
     
  4. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    dude I drive through NYC every day in and out and I have less clearance than that with trucks and cars on either side. sometimes an inch or two at most. you'll be fine , you just need to go VERY slow. and get some good lighting. I'd probably prefer to do it with the mirrors extended as it would be very easy to tell how much space you have on either side, assuming you're going in a straight line of course. it'd be pretty hard to back out without having the mirrors extended you won't be able to make sure your rear wheel wells aren't about to scrape the sides. that'll be extremely difficult to do if you dont have good lighting back there though.
     
  5. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    With practice that should be easily doable. I have a small footwall on one side very close (less than 12") to my car when I back in to my garage.

    I'd leave my mirrors out personally.

    Maybe put some tire guides into the pavement about 6" from each wall, help nudge you into place.
     
  6. Newscutter

    Newscutter Member

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    I agree. Dimensionally you have the room. If you're repaving anyway, have a rounded curb incorporated into each side, drain down the middle (to prevent ice accumulation in the tire track area). No problemo!
     
  7. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Yep and bring the curbs far enough in so that you feel them before it's "too late" for the mirrors.
     
  8. rjpryan

    rjpryan Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone — the tire guides option might actually work. Rounded curbs on the edges sound reasonable and would not limit the driveway to this car as other cars, most of which will be narrower, would still fit down the middle. The winter is still terrifying though as there is a slight slope on the driveway.
     
  9. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Will you be getting winter tires?
     
  10. rjpryan

    rjpryan Member

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    Probably. Not 100% sure though.
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    If you're worried about traction on your driveway with all season tires then winter tires might help as well as overall safety. Good luck on your project.
     
  12. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    My "Pittsburgh Driveway" was a primary reason for my installing winter wheels and tires. They definitely helped eliminate slippage on the steep uphill portion, even on a couple inches of fresh, slippery snow. You have plenty of time before making that decision, however!
     
  13. siai47

    siai47 Member

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    Although it may be an illusion, the breakover angle near the front of the house looks pretty severe. If you are repaving, you might want to cut some of the "hill" down at that point. If you are thinking about getting air suspension, this might be one of the reasons to have it (along with winter snow).
     
  14. Newscutter

    Newscutter Member

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    In my Wexford neighborhood my house is known universally as "the house with the scary driveway".

    Pretty steep slope from street to the garage... downhill. Have never slid into the house but SOMEONE did years ago as the structure on one side will readily attest (if you know where to look).

    I strongly recommend you look into draining that area between the houses (if not the whole length of the driveway) to insure you don't get the overnight refreeze where you don't want it. The curbs will help with directing you car but they'd also trap water flow and you need to plan for how it gets out. Ever consider heating embedding heating cables? Pretty inexpensive if you're starting from scratch.

    As for winter tires-- get 'em. As long as you swap them off when the weather warms they'll not wear excessively. Even on dry winter roads their treadwear should be comparable to summer-- it's the warm roads that kill them, not dry cold roads. You'll be doubling your summer tire life too! Win-win!
     
  15. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    A couple of key points:
    ** I could not find if you stated if you have adequate space to turn the car around in the back yard. If you have a turn-around area, then this may be doable. I would probably loose my nerve trying to back through this narrow chute, especially up-hill.
    ** Adding some key lighting and reflectors would be a great idea.
    ** Slightly rounded curbs on both sides of the drive would be a very good addition.
    ** Agree with Newscutter's comments about adding the under-paving heating prior to re-installing the paving. Dry pavement is premium for control, eliminates refrozen ice. Also might consider a bit of built in traction/grooves installed on the sloped paving.
    ** Strongly recommend the air suspension package.
    ** It appears that the next door neighbors drain from the downspout could be a potential problem. Maybe you suggest that you could help him out re-routing part of the downspout to the rear of his house instead of in "the narrow path" and also add an underground French drain to the bottom of the drain to route water around/under/toward the front of his property.
    ** Winter tires would be a must, not just for at home.
    ** Sub-Zero package would be a great feature to have.
     
  16. rjpryan

    rjpryan Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. Hopefully this thread will be useful to others wrestling with similar conundrums.
     
  17. dgrah

    dgrah New Member

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    Hey Ryan,
    How did the narrow driveway resurfacing project turn out? Did you end up using tire guides? I'm in the exact same situation here in Seattle but with 96 inches at the narrowest point. Would love your experience to draw from.
     
  18. madodel

    madodel X at the end of a rainbow

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    Why not just paint white lines on both sides and let the X drive itself through there. It amazes me at how much better my X keeps in the lane than I can myself. Of course it will take it at an Auto-pilot minimum 20 MPH which would be really scary but over with real fast. ;-)
     
  19. widepipe

    widepipe Member

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    I also live in Pittsburgh and have a small garage in a tight alley. I was worried about clearing it. Tesla was kind enough to let me borrow a car and try it. They took my insurance information, so they would have presumably filed a claim if I screwed up the car. Thankfully, it fit, so I put my order in. :)
     
  20. MrBoylan

    MrBoylan Member

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    I went the other way with a Model X order. Tesla let me have a Model S overnight to test in my narrow NYC driveway. It just barely fit, but bringing an X (5 inches wider) in that small space would have been even more nerve-wracking. So it looks like I'll be waiting for the Model 3.

    20160214_132250-models-tight-driveway.jpg
     

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