What is an Alley Captain?

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 informally work with their neighbors to hire private contractors to plow their alleys. Plowing, pushing, or shoveling snow into the streets from alleys, driveways, parking lots, or sidewalks is not allowed.

The person who coordinates the alley plowing and collects payment from the adjacent property owners is often called an "Alley Plow Captain or Alley Plowing Coordinator." Not all alleys have a designated alley captain.

Please note that city staff do not know which alleys may or may not have a designated alley captain. It is best to check with your neighbors to see how alley plowing efforts are coordinated in your area.

About Alleys in Saint Paul

Saint Paul has approximately 2,225 alleys - roughly 330 miles. Alleys were never engineered by the city and come in many different configurations, including dead-end alleys. Alleys are made with different materials throughout the city and 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).

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

Alley Captain Contact Sign Up

Please complete this form to be included in alley captain communications. Complete this form with the specific information that you would like to share.

This alley captain list will be shared with City of Saint Paul staff, District Councils, and other alley captains as requested for future communications.

Shared Materials

Please see some of the shared samples of emails, letters, flyers, tracking forms, process descriptions, etc. that alley captains have shared with the city as resources for other alley captains. 

If you would like to share any materials or resources on this website, please provide them as a PDF format and remove any information (e.g. contact names, numbers, accounts) before sending them to: publicworksinfo@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Note About Plowing Costs

While many people ask about an "average" or "reasonable cost" for private contracted alley plowing, city staff cannot make recommendations or estimates about a "good cost." The cost of alley plowing can vary greatly due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: the alley length and width, the surface type of the alley, the frequency of plowing, the threshold amount of snow that triggers plowing, and other factors such as salting, snow removal, and the length of the contract. 

Note About Plow Contractor Lists

Plow companies do not have to be licensed to operate in Saint Paul. The city does not maintain a list of private plow contractors, but highly recommends that plow drivers are bonded and insured.

Materials Shared at Alley Captain Conference (October 14, 2023)

Examples of resident letters, emails, flyers, contracts, collection templates, process, etc.:

Instructions to use the Ramsey County Property Records webpage to help identify property owner name and mailing address. This can be used to help contact business and/or rental property owners.

Last Edited: November 29, 2023