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ACTIVATED ALLEYS Cities around the globe are rethinking how they use alleyways. Using these narrow, pedestrian-scaled thoroughfares for trash collection alone is a huge waste - if activated and beautified, alleys can help communities enhance goals related to walkability, economic development, sustainability, health, and more.

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Small and intimate in scale, alleys have the “bones” to be welcoming pedestrian environments. Landscaping and design treatments can help enhance an alley’s function as an enticing place to walk, bike, gather, and manage stormwater.



»» Pavement Markings: Due to low traffic speeds, alleys can be ideal places for bicycle travel. The shared nature of the street can be communicated through signs or pavement markings. Careful attention must be paid to visibility at intersection crossings (not shown). »» Colored treatments: Can be used to further define the alley and simulate the effect of special pavers, which may be part of longer-term capital upgrade projects (not shown).


BARRIER ELEMENTS: Physical barriers (such as flexible delineators or planters) can be used to restrict access to alley if desired.


SIGNS: Can be used to help brand the alley and educate people about various design elements, such as rain gardens or street trees.

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LANDSCAPING ELEMENTS: Planters can add greenery and improve drainage. PROGRAMMING: Programming and / or commercial activity draws people into the alley and keeps them there. Allowing commercial businesses to open into the alley will make for a more active, interesting, and economically productive alley space (not shown).

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3 Above: Garden Walk alley in Long Beach, CA (Street Plans). Key features include public art, landscaping, and pedestrian-scaled lighting. Alley improvements were a collaborative effort between the City of Long Beach, the East Village Association, and local business sponsors.


Tactical Urbanist's Guide to Materials and Design v.1.0  

The only materials and design guidance for Tactical Urbanist demonstration, pilot, and interim design projects. Funded by the James L. Knigh...

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