Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/40
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD
wider than ordinary avenues of liberal width or enough handsomer to entitle them to be properly designated as boulevards. Moreover some of them are so located that they are convenient in direction for heavy traffic, and it will therefore be exceedingly difficult to prevent heavy teams from using them. For these reasons, some of these so-called boulevards ought to be widened so that two driveways can be provided, one of which can be reserved exclusively for pleasure vehicles. To properly carry out the essential idea of beauty in connection with these boulevards, there should be agreements, between the property owners and the city, restricting the adjoining lands to prevent houses from being built within certain distances from the side lines of the boulevard. If this building-limit line is only ten feet from the boulevard it will add materially to the value of the latter and will be practically no injury to the value of the land; but in general the building-limit line should be twenty or thirty feet from the boulevard, and wherever the owners can be induced to arrange for deeper lots, the building-limit line should be forty, or better, fifty feet from the boulevard. This is an exceedingly important matter, and ought to be carried through at once, while the lands are still generally owned in large tracts. Many of the finest and most expensive boulevards in the country are now being seriously injured in appearance, and some even ruined, by a failure to act in this matter. Stores and apartment houses are being built right out to the line adjoining residence properties where the houses are set well back from the line, but whose owners have no recourse against this outrageous damage to the beauty of their surroundings. In the City of Washington the same purpose has been accomplished, not by means of restrictions, but by the absolute ownership of the front dooryards by the city as a legal portion of the streets. Licenses are then granted from time to time to the lot owners to fence in and occupy these areas between the sidewalk and the fronts of the houses as front dooryards, but in such a way as not to be injurious to the effect of the street as a whole or to neighboring property owners. This method of accomplishing the purpose in view has the great merit of obviating any possible objection on the part of the owners or purchasers of land or their legal advisers, which might be raised against such a restriction in a deed. It is easily applied where parkways or avenues or streets are laid out through cheap lands, but when land becomes valuable it is usually easier to carry out the restriction method.