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What DC Alley Dwellers Would Like to See on the City’s Other Streets

by Nena Perry-Brown

In the wake of amended zoning regulations that loosened restrictions on alley and accessory dwellings, living off an alley seems to be making a comeback in the District. 

A few months ago, DC-based architecture firm EL Studio conducted a survey of alley residents about DC's alleys. Here is a brief look at what 259 respondents said about what it's like to live in an alley — and how alley life could be improved.

What DC Alley Dwellers Would Like to See on the City's Other Streets: Figure 1
Summary of alley survey findings. Click to enlarge.

Although use of the DC alley system is primarily associated with trash disposal, three in five respondents identify their alleys as fairly clean. At least one in four respondents would like to see a mural added to the alley as an identifying marker. Twenty percent of respondents would prefer their alley have additional streetlights installed or trees planted.

Over half of alley dwellings in the city are two stories high, and while nearly 35 percent of alley residents are between the ages of 30 and 50, the next largest age group is younger than 18. Approximately two-thirds of residents see alleys as a vehicular pass-through route, and about 25 percent of respondents think some alleys should have use limits.

The 2016 zoning regulations greatly expanded the residential zones in which accessory buildings can be constructed by-right, although not all residents with alley frontage have had success in cases where some relief is required. 

See other articles related to: el studio architecture, alleys, alley dwellings

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/what-dc-alley-dwellers-would-like-to-see/13939

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