Jane Slager, of Mukilteo, a loyal devotee of Street Smarts (OK, she’s also my stepmom) does a lot of deliveries for Meals on Wheels, a program of Homage Senior Services.
Many of these deliveries take her into or through alleys.
Are there rules for navigating alleys? she wondered. Are they one-way roads, for example, with one direction that drivers should travel through them (even if they’re not marked as such)? How do you determine who has the right-of-way if you meet someone going in the opposite direction, like a garbage truck? Are there any differences in how to approach an alley in a commercial area versus a residential area?
Since Everett has a considerable number of alleys, I turned to the city staff there for some answers.
Aaron Snell, an officer for the Everett Police Department, responded: “Alleys were not designed for general travel but created to facilitate access to utilities and the rear of a residence or business. They are considered a non-marked roadway with the same rules that narrow roads have. Unless specifically indicated, alley driving is two-way. As thoroughfares are narrow, right-of-way is difficult to establish and both drivers are responsible for safe driving and common courtesy. Whomever can safely pull aside should do so. Large vehicles are difficult to maneuver in tight spaces and they should be given some leeway.”
A couple of other alley rules:
There is no posted speed limit, which indicates they are 25 mph.
And cars are not allowed to park in alleys.