Alley FAQs

What is an alley?

Both state law and city ordinance define an alley as a "Public way that does not exceed thirty feet in width".

In Saint Paul,  alleys are designated as either paved, oiled, unimproved assessed (these are alleys with a gravel surface that Public Works maintains), or unimproved not assessed (this can be gravel, dirt, or ungraded alleys that Public Works does not maintain).

Please note:  An asphalt-surfaced or oiled alley may be considered unimproved if the work was done in the past by a private contractor/property owner and Public Works has never maintained the alley.

Who is responsible for clearing the alley of snow and leaves?

Responsibility for this type of work falls to the abutting property owners, acting as a collective.  A common practice for many alley users is to pool their resources and hire a private snow removal service.

I would like a street light in the alley, who do I contact?

Alley lights are installed and maintained by Xcel Energy at the request of adjacent property owners.  It is up to the adjacent property owners to arrange for alley lights directly with Xcel Energy and to pay the cost of installation, maintenance and operation of the alley lights.

For alley light problems or installation:

Will the city put a "No Dumping" or "Slow, Children at Play", etc. sign in an alley?

No. The City does not install either of those signs in alleys.

What is the speed limit for alleys?

Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit for alleys is 10 miles-per-hour.

Can I park in an alley?

Parking in alleys is permitted so long as the parked vehicle does not block access for other vehicles using the alley, or attempting to enter/exit the alley from adjacent private property or public right-of-way.

Someone is blocking my alley, who do I call?

Call the Saint Paul Police's non-emergency number at 651-291-1111.

Who is responsible for cleaning up the trash in an alley?

Saint Paul Public Works' Street and Bridge Maintenance Division will respond to this type of request. Contact 651-266-9700.

Is it required to have address numbers on the alley side of my property?  If so, why?

Yes, property owners are required to display their address numbers on the alley side of their property as an aid to emergency vehicles.

I'm interested in having my alley improved.  Where do I start?

Alley improvements are 100% assessed against the parcels that abut the alley.  An improvement requires submission of a petition to the City Council requesting a public hearing to consider approval of the work and assessments.

Interested property owners can begin the process by requesting a petition form from the Public Works' Street Design and Construction Division at 651-266-6080.

Please note:  Residents with alley maintenance concerns for an alley that is already designated as improved should contact the Public Works' Street Maintenance Division at 651-266-9700.