During last week’s Borough Council meeting in Conshohocken, Mayor Bob Frost brought up the issue of people utilizing the alleys to save time while driving in Conshohocken. Frost brought the topic up because a boy was recently struck by a car exiting an alley while he was walking down the sidewalk, which the alley crosses.
This led to a much larger discussion about the alleys, their history, and how they are maintained and utilized. We are going to address that in another article. Today we are going to focus on people using them as roads.
Alleys are actually private property. Property lines meet in the center of the alley. So if you are driving on an alley, and don’t live along the alley, you are actually driving through someone’s back yard without permission. During the discussion at Borough Council, it was expressed by Council member Bob Stokley (R, Ward 6) that people often use the alleys to avoid getting behind trash trucks.
Maintaining the alleys is the responsibility of property owners. Not all alleys are maintained to the same standard. At least one is mostly grass and not paved. The benefit of living along an alley is that you can park behind your home in a driveway or garage, which frees up more parking on the street.
Since the alleys aren’t roads, they do not have signage such as speed limits, stop signs, etc. There are also not signs telling people to not use them as a proper road. So basically someone can drive their car through an alley and reach the next block without a sign cautioning them to stop before they cross the sidewalk and street. We made a video to demonstrate the problem:
The result of the discussion was that the mayor, after discussing the issue with the Chief of Police Michael Orler, would likely issue an emergency order to place a stop sign at the location of the accident. According the Borough’s solicitor, Michael Savona, the mayor has the authority to issue this type of order and it will be in effect for 90 days once the order is received.
During this period, the Borough is going to have the proper departments make an inventory of alleys and intersections and a plan will be developed to address the issue throughout the Borough. Also according to Savona, the Borough has the authority to regulate any entryway into a public street, so it could place stop signs where the alleys enter the roadways.
If you live along an alley and want to share your experience with traffic coming through your alley, feel free to share in the comments here or on Facebook. One resident we spoke to about the issue said he was constantly worried when walking his toddler around Conshohocken due to the potential for cars coming out of an alley. So if you walk or drive around Conshohocken and have any specific locations that are of particular concern, please share those as well.