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2017 DC Clean Alleys Initiative

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The Department of Public Works (DPW) will identify and beautify alleys (with the exception of alleys in flood zones) in Wards 7 and 8 of the District of Columbia between May 1, and June 3 as part of its DC Clean Alleys initiative.

There are 938 alleys in Ward 7 and 600 in Ward 8 that do not lie within a flood zone. The blighted alleys in these areas are sites for illegal dumping, abandoned vehicles, household trash, foliage overgrowth, rodent infestations, and illegal drug activity. DC Clean Alleys will provide concentrated resources to beautify many of these 1,538 alleys in order to make the alleys more accessible for emergency response vehicles, DPW trash and recycling trucks, other vehicles, and pedestrians to safely traverse through the public space.

The initiative is funded by a grant received from the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Cleanings will take place during weekday afternoons and evenings, as well as throughout the day on Saturdays.

Alleys located in flood zones are not included in the grant due to federal regulations; however, DPW will clean those alleys as a part of its regular alley cleaning schedule. Crews will rotate throughout the city and regularly clean residential alleys once every six weeks between March and October. In between cleanings, residents are asked to maintain the public space that abuts their property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What aspects are residents responsible for regarding alley cleaning?

Throughout the year, home and property owners are required to cut back trees and plants located in their yard to ensure the shrubbery is not blocking the alley.

How is the grant beneficial to the District?

The grant is used to fund the activities that benefit areas where at least 51% of the residents are low and moderate income.

What time of the day will the alleys be cleaned? On which days will they be cleaned?

Monday-Friday from 3:15 PM until 9:15 PM; Saturday from 7:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

What type of work will be done?

DPW will be removing overgrowth or shrubbery encroaching into alleys (or public space). If residents do not cut back their own plants and shrubbery, DPW will provide the service between May 1, and June 3.

Should I do anything before the Clean Alley team arrives?

Remove any vehicle(s) parked in the alley. If the cars are not removed, they will be deemed illegally parked.

What should I do to ensure I do not receive a citation during the initiative?

Remove any illegally parked vehicles, and abandoned vehicles. An abandoned vehicle is any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer that is left, parked or stored on public space for more than 48 hours or on private property for more than 30 days, and to which at least two (2) of the following apply:

  1. The vehicle is extensively damaged, including fire damage;
  2. The vehicle is apparently inoperable, including a vehicle missing its transmission, motor, or one or more tires, and which is not undergoing emergency repair (flat tires do not apply);
  3. The vehicle serves as harborage for rats, vermin, and other pests (or must see actual evidence of vermin);
  4. The vehicle does not display valid tags or a valid registration sticker.

How do residents report an alley cleaning issue throughout the year?

To request an alley cleaning during the spring, summer and fall, call 311 and give the operator the specific location (an address is best), and a description of the cleaning. You can also visit to request an alley cleaning online.

How do residents know if they live in a flood zone area?

Residents can find out whether or not they live in a flood zone area by visiting and search their area by address.