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Saint Paul has 330 miles of alleys. Both state law and city ordinance define an alley as a "Public way that does not exceed 30-feet in width."

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

Historically, the City of Saint Paul has never plowed, salted or sanded alleys in winter. Residents must determine how and when to plow their alleys. Many residents in Saint Paul work with their neighbors to hire private contractors to plow their alleys. Pushing or shoveling snow into the streets is not allowed.

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Alley FAQs

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    Both state law and city ordinance define an alley as a "Public way that does not exceed 30-feet in width."

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

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    Historically, the City of Saint Paul has never plowed alleys. Keeping alleys clear of ice, snow and leaves is the responsibility of the abutting property owners, acting as a collective.  Many alley neighbors pool their resources and hire private contractors to remove snow. Snow may not be pushed into the streets.

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    Alley lights are installed and maintained by Xcel Energy at the request of adjacent property owners.  It is up to the 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, contact Xcel Energy:

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    No. The city does not install those signs in alleys.

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

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    Parking in alleys is permitted only if 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.

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

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    Public Works will respond to this type of request. Contact 651-266-9700.

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    Yes.  Property owners are required to clearly display their address numbers on the alley side of their property to assist emergency vehicles, as well as garbage and recycling vehicles using the alleys.

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    Alley improvements are 100% assessed to the property owners.  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.

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2019 Alley Plowing Study

The City Council requested that Public Works conduct a study to better understand current alley plowing situations and examine potential options for city coordinated alley plowing. Saint Paul Public Works partnered with the University of Minnesota to study the costs and feasibility. More than 7,800 city residents participated in a survey, sharing their current arrangements, perceptions and expectations of alley plowing in Saint Paul.

Historically, the City of Saint Paul has never plowed alleys in winter. Residents must determine how and when to plow their alleys. Many residents in Saint Paul work with their neighbors to hire private contractors to plow their alleys.

Study Documents

Last Edited: January 11, 2021