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Neighborhood Celebrates Phoenix’s First Gated Alleys

A neighborhood in north central Phoenix celebrated the first pilot program designed to prevent criminal activity and illegal dumping.

Coffee, donuts and smiles were shared just off 15th Avenue north of Butler on Saturday morning. Luke Bevans lives in Royal Palm, the first neighborhood to install gates to close their alleys to outsiders.

“About two years ago, we had somebody come down my alley which is on Lawrence Lane, hop a fence from the backyard and expose himself to two little girls,” he said.

After that happened, Bevans and other neighbors approached the city about gating their alleys. Councilwoman Debra Stark worked with various departments to make it happen.

“We do want to run a pilot program to see how it’s working because there are some issues when you give everyone a key, how are you going to manage that?” she said. “So, there are some things — logistic issues — that we have to look at.”

Phoenix council members will evaluate its impact in six months. A second pilot program will launch next year in the Sunnyslope neighborhood. Stark said each gate costs $2,000 with the money coming from donations and grants.

Bevans said a great deal of thought went into the design of the 12 gates in six alleys in Royal Palm.

“If you tried to leverage yourself by pulling yourself over, there’s a bar on top that spins that doesn’t allow you to leverage yourself over the gate," he said.

“It’s been a long process,” said Stark. “But it’s a good process because it was very thorough and very well-vetted. I’m anxious to see the results as we monitor the process.”

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.