Alleys!  Seriously... Alleys! It's Those Things You're Driving On!


Alley Cats, really! Are you addicted to getting in and out of your garage? 

Are you addicted to going to work, or to the grocery store, or to your kids' soccer practice? 

Do you NOT have a driveway that connects to the nearest street? 

Because a LOT of us have that scenario ... and it can be quieter, and kind of nice to have your house right next to the residential street, which increasingly are becoming secondary collector/arterial streets. 

And those alleys that many of us rely on to get in and out of homes with our cars when we can't walk or bike or Bird or flap our wings and access the school, workplace, theater, supermarket, etc., they've become STREETS. 

So, when we have our City neighborhood council asphalt blitzes every few months from the Bureau of Street Services (BSS), those "fix my alley" requests really come into play. 

Let's give the BSS some credit--they may be the BSS, but they don't "B.S." around. They get things done, analyze what can be fixed, and what cannot be fixed as well. 

Many of the asphalt fixes are "large" and not "small" asphalt fixes. Alleys are usually one of the "large" repair jobs, and they're tagged and put on a list which might take years to get to...but not because the BSS wants it that way. 

And certainly not because WE want it that way.  

But where to get the money to fix these--the city/county money we just voted for ourselves goes but a little bit to the asphalt repair needed for our streets and alleys, let alone the major resurfacing and repair our alleys really. 

Here are a few ideas: TIMP funds, gathering up funds from those living next to the alleys, and even developers. And particularly for those developers who weasel out of their parking and other infrastructure mitigation funds. 

But alleys aren't going away. We're still using them, even if the City and the rest of us take them for granted. 

So, the next time we complain about sidewalks, streets, medians, and the like, don't forget ALLEYS. 

Be an ALLY to your local ALLEY. Your quality of life might just go up because of it. 


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)