I say go with the 17". The same 215 40 in any tire if you're worried about driving in alleys so you won't be flying anyways. Comfort won't be affected too much between a 40 and a 45. There is a diffeernce on comfort between a 15" and 17". I know because I swap out every winter between a 205 55 15" and a 215 40 17". Get a tire that has a good tread wear rating and is somewhat Performance orientated like Toyo FZ4, Pirelli P7000 (might be over budget), Falken Azenis, Nitto Neo Gen, Kuhmo, etc. there are many tires that you can get + mount and balance for your budget that you will be more than happy with. I have the Nitto Gens. $500 including mount and balance in a 215 40. They seem like they will wear out fast, but they are more than making due.