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'Taking control of their neighborhoods': New Phoenix program offers to put gates into city alleys

The program allows neighborhoods to petition the city to erect a gate outside alleyways.

PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix has allocated $500,000 toward a program that will build gates outside of alleyways in neighborhoods looking to curb criminal damage and illegal dumping. 

On Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council approved implementing a citywide Gated Alley Program, which allows the residents of a neighborhood to petition the city to put up gates outside specific alleyways.

After piloting the program in specific areas, Phoenix is expanding the service for more neighborhoods to go through the process of building a gate outside an alleyway.

To qualify for the program, a neighborhood alleyway must meet the following criteria:

  • Contiguous fencing exists along sides of alley (minimum of 5 feet)
  • Limited current vehicle access and use
  • Limited conflicts with existing obstacles (irrigation lines/power poles, utilities) 
  • Neighborhood must submit a signed petition from a certain number of property owners living along alley segment
  • The Public Works Department must be able to provide refuse service via the street and not alley
  • The alley cannot be private property or just public utility easement
  • At least 50% of adjacent properties must be single-family residences
Credit: 12News
Illegal dumping has been an ongoing issue in central Phoenix for years. The Gated Alley Program is intended to cut off access to certain alleyways.

RELATED: Neighbors in central Phoenix fed up with illegal dumping

The issue of illegally dumping garbage and furniture in alleyways has been prevalent in Phoenix for years. 

Back in 2020, the city reported getting up to 185 calls for reports of illegal dumping on a weekly basis. The city has even resorted to setting up hidden cameras to catch violators in the act of dumping items.

Councilwoman Debra Stark said the idea for the gating program originated after an incident involving a man who exposed himself to two young girls. 

"The neighborhood insisted that we needed to do something and so we started a pilot project for gated alleys," Stark said. 

With the approval of this new program, the gate installations will now become a regular city function rather than a neighborhood grant program.

City officials say they will be collecting data to measure how effective the gates will be at reducing crime and illegal dumping. 

Councilwoman Betty Guardado said several neighborhoods in her district have already begun the process of submitting applications to set up gates outside an alleyway.

This program is meant to empower residents and have them get involved in safeguarding their communities, she said. 

"It's about taking control of their neighborhoods, so their kids can safely walk to school and play in their backyards," Guardado said Wednesday. 

A portion of the program's funding will be reserved for low-income neighborhoods. 

The city also has a process in place for neighborhoods to erect alleyway gates with their own funds. 

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Un nuevo programa en Phoenix ofrece instalar puertas o rejas en los diferentes callejones de la ciudad

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