Alley Improvements

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Report a Problem

If you see or hear of an issue like poor drainage in a public space, pot holes or a tree or plant debris in an alley report it to 311.

Tired of potholes, puddles and flooding?

Alley with Potholes

Solve the problem once and for all by getting your alley paved.

A paved alley means easier access to your garage, an end to standing water, and a reduction or elimination of backyard flooding.

Your gravel alley will be excavated and paved with eight-inch concrete pavement. Also, a storm sewer and drainage structures will be installed. Anyone interested in getting an alley paved may do so through the Special Assessment Process.

What is the Special Assessment Process?

When a project is constructed through the Special Assessment Process, the cost of the project is shared between the City of Evanston and the property owners on the block. The City pays 50% of the project cost with the property owners paying the balance over a 10-year period. The assessment cost to each owner is generally based upon the "unit cost" method, which apportions the cost equally to each residential unit.  Other methods are allowable and are used when appropriate, but the unit cost method is the current standard.

Alley Unpaved

What is the procedure for participation? 


Call Evanston 3-1-1 or 847-448-4311 to request a petition be sent to you. Circulate the petition among the property owners and file the petition with the City Engineer after a minimum of 51 percent of the property owners abutting the alley have signed it.

What happens after the petition is filed?

The City Engineering staff will review the petition for accuracy of tax payer/owner information along the alley and submit it to the Board of Local Improvements (BLI) of the City of Evanston. The BLI will direct that a survey, plans and estimate of cost be prepared by the Engineering Department. The BLI will call a public hearing to consider the proposal and to give each property owner affected an opportunity to register his/her opinions in favor of or against the improvements and to ask questions.

The BLI will review the comments and make recommendations to the Administration and Public Works Committee of the City Council. If approved, the project is forwarded to City Council for final approval.  If the project is approved by City Council, the Law Department will file the necessary documents with the Cook County Court System and the Capital Planning and Engineering Bureau will bid the project. The contract is awarded to the lowest qualified bidder.

When is payment due?

After the project is completed, the Engineering Division will direct the City Collector to send out itemized statements and accept payments. The payment of the assessment can be made over a 10-year period in annual installments, with no more than 2% above the 10 year Treasury Note Yield. However, the assessment may be paid off at any time without penalty.

Alley Grading and Maintenance

Each year, starting in the spring, Evanston’s more than 300 unpaved alleys are periodically graded by the City. This is done to eliminate potholes and ruts caused by vehicles, weather and other factors. The process improves travel and reduces puddling. Learn more about alley grading and maintenance.