Tackling city-related maintenance issues in our neighborhoods

Q: My alley is in terrible shape. How can I get the city to fix it?

A: Call 311, and Street Services will determine what kinds of repairs it needs to be passable.

In our neighborhood, most homes were designed with rear-entry garages. So, alleys are of particular concern in our neighborhoods, sustaining lots of wear and tear.

Alley repairs are done by service requests. Residents call it in, a city representative comes out and surveys the condition of the alley and decides where to go from there. “That’s really the only way we do it,” says Ben Cernosek, assistant director of Street Services. “We don’t program funds for alley repairs.” The city often can repair bad spots of an alley by resurfacing an area with asphalt or replacing a piece of concrete. “We can patch it up as best we can to make it passable,” Cernosek says. Hazardous situations typically are resolved within 24 hours while minor, non-emergency repairs take a few days. Overall, the department aims to complete a repair within 90 days of receiving the call. However, a total reconstruction must be paid for through a capital bond program, which can take years. Fortunately, the 2012 bond program does include some alley reconstruction — but only a handful of what’s needed. “They want to see a brand-new alley. That takes significant funding.” The alleys that need reconstruction are added to the growing needs inventory list for future bond programs.­

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