Green Alley FAQs

1.) How long will the construction last?
Alleys that do not contain water and sewer utilities will each require about six weeks to reconstruct, depending upon weather and the contractor's schedule. Alleys that do contain sewer and water utilities could take eight to ten weeks to reconstruct. The City and the contractor will work with abutting property owners to facilitate access to garages and the rear of properties for as long as possible. It is anticipated there will be two- to three-week timeframes where access is prohibited to facilitate the installation of the pavement or utility.

2.) My property doesn’t flood and the water from our alley all soaks into the ground now. Why is my alley being reconstructed?
All alleys and other impervious surfaces throughout the watershed contribute to the flooding problems throughout the watershed. When stormwater runs off your property, it enters the street and storm sewer system. The capacity of the system can be exceeded in major rain events. The project takes a comprehensive, watershed-wide approach to reducing the amount of stormwater that enters the system and to increase the capacity of the system to prevent flooding and private property and public infrastructure damage.

3.) Where can I park during construction?
During construction, abutting property owners will need to utilize available on-street parking or make other arrangements with neighbors to park. The City understands this is inconvenient for the short term. The contractor will try to facilitate access to abutting properties for as long as possible.

4.) Where will my trash, recycling, and yard debris be picked up during construction?
If these collections are made in your alley, you will have to place the materials out on the street, instead of the alley for a period of time. You will be notified when this will be necessary.

5.) What will happen to my landscaping/flowers near the alley?
Because the right-of-way (ROW) is not private property, any landscaping in the ROW is subject to disturbance. The City and the contractor will work with the adjoining property owner to try and minimize disturbance when possible. However, any trees and shrubs in the right of way are subject to removal by the City.

6.) What if my driveway and/or sidewalk connects to the alley?
When constructing the green alley, the City will transition the pavement so that existing driveways and sidewalks are accounted for. If the existing driveway is gravel, the City will construct a concrete apron that extends to the property line. If the driveway is paved, the City will transition to the paved driveway/sidewalk as far as the property line. Any improvements requested beyond the property line will be the abutting property owners’ responsibility.

7.) Who owns alleys?
All of the alleys in this project are in the public (City-owned) right-of-way (ROW), an area owned by the City to allow for the installations of utilities and roadways.

8.) Will there be ice in the alley?
There will be situations where ice will build up in alleys, but likely less than a traditional surface. The new permeable pavers will help reduce the ice, especially if the winter season has the freeze/thaw cycles Dubuque usually experiences. The stone aggregate beneath the pavers allows water to infiltrate even in the winter months.

9.) Will the pavers settle or shift?
By design, the pavers will initially settle about a half inch. They are installed with this initial settlement in mind. Additional settling or shifting is minimal because concrete collars or bands are installed along the edge of the alley to hold the pavers in place, and because of the significant amount of clean stone aggregate underneath the pavers. These are engineered pavement systems and perform much better than the current patio pavers used today and the old brick streets from years ago.

10.) What type of maintenance will the City provide in the future?
The City will provide for regular alley sweeping and vacuuming in order to maintain the permeable nature of the pavers. Additionally, the City will replace loose or broken pavers if they should occur. The City will not plow alleys in residential neighborhoods.

11.) Will stormwater be diverted through my property?
The Green Alley project is not intended to divert water through your property. However, if the natural lay of the land currently has water running through your property, Iowa law requires you to continue to accept that water. The permeable pavements of the alleys should reduce the runoff that may travel through your property.

12.) Will the Green Alleys eliminate street flooding?
No. Streets are designed to convey stormwater, as well as vehicles. It is standard engineering practice to design a street to carry half a lane’s width of water during significant storm events. However, other phases of the flood mitigation project are designed to increase the capacity of North End storm sewers and streets to help reduce the street flooding that can sometimes occur.

13.) Are Green Alleys a beautification project?
No. The Green Alleys are a stormwater management and water-quality project. The fact that the alleys look attractive is a bonus.

Related Links
• Green Alley Reconstruction
Questions or Comments?
Email your questions or comments to or call 563.690.6068.