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Would You Eat In A Downtown Phoenix Alley? New Program Could Bring Dining, Artwork

Published: Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 7:29am
Christina Estes/KJZZ
A pilot program will allow downtown Phoenix property owners to add murals, lighting, and dining areas to alleys.
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The alley activation program is designed to invite pedestrians, bicyclists, and shoppers to relax and socialize.

A city subcommittee approved a one-year pilot program Wednesday to allow what’s called “alley activation." It involves converting all or part of an alley into a clean, safe, more inviting space.

Sandra Hoffman with the city’s planning department explained the two types of activation: minor, which includes things like murals, potted plants and temporary seating, and medium, which allows more elements, “Including private and public gathering areas, temporary fencing along vacant lots, banners, shade screens, food and non-alcoholic beverage service.”

Councilman Michael Nowakowski pushed for a study group to consider the alley activation program. He said police have been getting calls about drug deals in alleys, among other things. In other cities, like Sacramento, Nowakowski said they’ve transformed alleys into outdoor dining areas and wine bars.

Property owners who want to activate alleys must notify other property owners within 150 feet and get city approval, which involves several departments reviewing plans before making a recommendation.

The program covers alleys from McDowell Road to Sherman Street and Buckeye Road and 7th Street to 7th Avenue.