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Phoenix council to consider $750,000 to expand gated alley program

Phoenix leaders will soon be asked increase the budget to lock down more alleys.

In 2017, after a man walking through an alley jumped a backyard fence and exposed himself to children, Phoenix launched a pilot project. Residents in two neighborhoods installed locked gates to block public access to alleys behind their homes. Since then, 200 alley segments have been gated.

While resident feedback has been positive, Yvette Roeder, deputy neighborhood services director, said vandalism has led to a three-lock system.

”One lock for the fire department, one lock for the utility company and one for the resident. Additionally, staff has already replaced the previous lock to one made of boron carbide, not quite kryptonite, but boron carbide, a much stronger material that will be much more difficult to cut or break.” 

If the council approves the $750,000 request, the money would come from Neighborhood Block Watch grants and cover 145 more alley segments for the fiscal year that ends July 2024.

After a neighborhood requests gated alleys, the process can take 7 to 10 months. 

City staff steps to gated alleys

  • Coordinates an informational meeting with the neighborhood to explain the process and provides guidance to the neighborhood liaison on how to acquire consent signatures from other residents/property owners.
  • Reviews requests for completion and provides feedback if requests are incomplete.
  • Conducts an initial visual audit of the alley to determine feasibility.
  • Manually enters location description of alley segment and other pertinent information in the database.
  • Informs Public Works to begin their review process that determines if solid waste service can be moved from alley to curbside and manually enters the result of the review in the database.
  • Coordinates and facilitates frequent meetings with partner City departments for discussion of completed requests.
  • Requests Planning and Development (PDD) staff to begin the permitting process, which starts with PDD staff assigning a unique address to every alley segment to issue a permit.
  • Informs Public Works that the alley is in the permitting process with PDD, so they may begin their notification about the neighborhood’s solid waste service change from alley to curbside.
  • Works with contracted vendors to receive their price quote on gate installation and then works with the accounting team to create and process the Purchase Orders once the quote from the vendors is received.
  •  Performs another site visit to the alley with contractors for guidance and directions before construction starts. Throughout the construction phase, staff receives reports from the contractors and discusses the progress which is entered into the database.
  • Schedules a final cleanup of the alley with Public Works and schedules a final inspection with the Fire Department.
  • Sends notification and instructions on locks to every property owner and/or resident. 
  • Locks the gate.
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.