Alley Maintenance Program
COVID-19 and City Maintenance
The City of Boulder Transportation Maintenance Department maintains alleys on an "as needed" basis. Alleys, typically constructed of a sand/stone material mixture called road base, are assessed annually and priorities are set for maintenance activities. These activities may include potholing, reconstruction or grading, with the majority of alleys getting graded on an annual basis.
Alley Maintenance FAQ's
I received your mailer. When will my alley be graded within the window you provided?
We give the window to try and help narrow down when we will be in your area. However, we currently cannot provide a specific scheduled date for this work. We utilize the same crews and equipment for many different street maintenance functions, many of which are deemed higher priorities. Our schedule can vary as a result of weather events, emergency work, and other priorities that divert us from scheduled alley maintenance. With 628 lane miles of paved streets, alleys amount to about 4% of the transportation network, and higher-use facilities often must be prioritized first. The window is the best estimate we have.
It’s possible we may still be coming to your alley. We plan our work as efficiently as possible by addressing alleys with the same types of treatments and in the same areas as much as possible. All alleys are broken into schedule windows to help us give better timeframe estimates for when we will be in your area. Different surface types are maintained differently and require different materials. If you live next to a dirt alley, it will be graded or inspected during the window provided on the mailer. If you live next to a private alley or you, or a neighbor, have privately installed rock in the alley, the city does not maintain it. Paved alleys are maintained as necessary by request. Therefore, depending on the needs for differing alleys and ownership of maintenance responsibilities, we may not be servicing nearby alleys at the same time.
What actions does your team take to maintain the alleys? (i.e. grading, pothole filling, adding material, reducing dust, etc.)
Dirt alleys that are owned and maintained by the city are inspected one to two times per year. If necessary, crews will perform grading and compacting operations. Paved alleys that have potholes are patched as requested.
How will I know if you have already inspected my alley and/or done work?
If your alley was inspected but was not identified as needing maintenance, there will be a pink “X” on the alley apron (concrete entrance in the ROW) on either end of the alley. If maintenance was performed, you will notice the soil has been disturbed and any vegetation down the center is removed. The vegetation is generally removed as a byproduct of grading and not necessarily targeted.
What should I do about my trash cans if I have alley pickup?
Trash cans should not be in the path of travel in an alley at any time. Please keep them as close to your house as possible. We will do our best to move cans that are left out in the alley, understanding that sometimes it is the trash pickup company that leaves trash cans in the alley.
What if I have plantings/flower beds adjacent to the alley? Will you disturb/replace them?
We only do work within the City’s right of way. If you have vegetation that you have planted in the right of way, it should not be there. However, there are rare occasions when the unpredictable happens to private property. If there is damage to private property, please contact our Risk Management Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Inquire Boulder.
Will I be able to access the alley that day with my vehicle or do I need to park on the street?
When equipment is in the alley, cars should be parked on the street so city crews can more efficiently finish their work. Traffic impacts are minimal and city staff will make efforts to ensure access is maintained.
What if I am not satisfied with the maintenance performed in my alley?
The alley was maintained to industry standards and to cover city responsibilities for the alley. Dirt alleys, paved alleys, and streets are not serviced in the same way. This is due to the maintenance types and needs of different surface types and service levels provided for different levels of use. Unpaved alleys will generally be the lowest service level street in areas where they exist due to the low overall volume of use. There is sometimes confusion about what services the city can provide in alleys. The city cannot afford to provide customized services in alleys and must treat each neighborhood equitably. Due to other considerations with alleys and city budget reductions, we are not considering upgrades to alley surface types.
What can be done if my alley was recently maintained but has quickly deteriorated again?
You can always submit an Inquire Boulder ticket about the damage (www.inquireboulder.com). Please include pictures so we can prioritize it with the rest of our work. Good photos can sometimes save us an inspection trip. Please remember that unpaved alleys will respond to weather events differently than paved surfaces.
I live at (insert address). Will you fix my alley?
Eventually, yes. We have a program that breaks the alleys into zones. We ensure every alley gets inspected one to two times per year and determine the maintenance needs. If we reactively bounced around the city, our efficiencies would be negatively impacted, and we would not be able to perform as many services. In addition, we stick to our zones and programmed timeframes in order to ensure each alley and neighborhood get equitable treatments.