Alleys are small-scale streets that typically only carry low numbers of vehicles

Alleys are small-scale streets that typically only carry low numbers of vehicles accessing adjacent properties. Their character varies across the city, from residential to service alleys.

Alleys should be designed to a pedestrian-scale speed and level of detail wherever possible, to calm traffic and emphasize pedestrian use. Alleys may also include seating, landscaping, and pedestrian lighting to create usable public spaces.


Russian Hill AlleyRussian Hill Alley Typical Alley SectionTypical Alley Section



  • Low vehicle speeds and volumes
  • Desire to create generous pedestrian realm through designs that emphasize shared space
  • Narrow right-of-way; limited sidewalk space
  • Need for service access to adjacent businesses and residences

Additional Guidelines

  • Alleys should be designed as shared public ways wherever possible.
  • Where alleys are not designed as shared public ways, they should incorporate raised crossings across the alley entrance and special paving across the entire right-of-way wherever possible.
  • Tree grates and site furnishings should be considered in high pedestrian volume areas, or as capital and maintenance budgets allow.
  • For specific stormwater control measures, see Stormwater Overview.


Standard Improvements

Click for more details about each standard improvement


Case by Case Additions

Click for more details about each case by case addition. Numbers correspond with typical plan below.


Typical Alley PlanAlley as standard street. Also see Shared Public Ways. (See above for Case by Case Additions)