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More gated alleys coming to Phoenix neighborhoods

Gated alleysare coming to more Phoenix neighborhoods after the City Council approved more money.

What started as a pilot program in late 2018 to prevent criminal activity and illegal dumping keeps growing as more neighborhoods request gates to limit access to alleys. Since the council approved half a million dollars for gate installations last September, nearly 140 neighborhoods have asked for them. 

Surveys from residents with gated alleys reveal no fires or graffiti in the first year. While three neighborhoods reported illegal dumping, encampments or criminal activity, they also noted a decrease in activities since gates were installed. According to a city report, an alley captain from District 3 commented they “feel so much safer, more comfortable leaving home or being home alone.” And an alley captain in District 4 explained their neighborhood constantly had to deal with illegal dumping issues before gates were installed.

Some reported issues with the locks, including four that had been cut and locks that were jammed due to being pried open or faulty locks. City staff had contractors, “add a metal plate to deter this activity and are working with lock companies to find additional solutions to these issues.”

On Wednesday, the council approved using federal community development block grants as available to install gates within the 19th Avenue and 27th Avenue corridors, which have been hot spots for violent crime, drug use and trespassing. More than a dozen neighborhoods have requested gated alleys in those locations but there is no more funding from last year’s $500,000 allocation in the general fund.

Members also approved a process for neighborhoods to install customized gates.

To be eligible for the customization option, the requestor must:

  • Partner with an established non-profit or business registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission. This could be a neighborhood organization, if they have nonprofit status. 
  • Agree to receive prior review and approval of the gate design, which must meet or exceed the Gated Alley Program design standards. 
  • Agree to separately fund any costs beyond the average installation cost per standard gate. 
  • Agree that the city will reserve the right to remove or replace the gates with standard gates if they are not maintained in good appearance and working order. 
  • Agree that if the gates are not completed within the fiscal year in sufficient time for the city to expend the funds, the funds may not be available.
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.