Ever think about your back alley? Really think about it? Andre Chabot does. On December 17, council passed the Ward 10 alderman’s motion to refurbish Calgary’s vast network of eroded alleys.
Chabot says he’s received numerous complaints about his ward’s alleys since coming to office in 2007. Ward 10 covers a large part of east-central Calgary and contains a number of older neighbourhoods.
“Because it seemed like such a common theme amongst so many different people that lived in different parts of my ward, I thought, you know, maybe we should do something more comprehensive,” says Chabot.
Currently, gravel alley repairs are done by grading the roadway with whatever material is there, but new gravel is rarely added. Crews typically work on an alley once every two years.
“So much gravel is actually washed away, it’s just washed down into the road and swept up by street cleaners. It’s at the point where it’s mostly clay,” says Chabot. He explains that to improve drainage, crews cut a trench through the center of the alley.
“They’re cutting deeper and deeper vees, and so it becomes very difficult then to enter some of those garages [in the alleys],” he says. “It creates such a steep slope that the cars are bottoming out.”
The city will conduct a scoping report to determine how many alleys need to be overhauled and how much it will cost to carry out the project over a 15-year time frame. The report is due next April.