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Public-images-osm logo.svg service = alley
Scarborough rear access service road.JPG
An alley is a service road usually located between properties for access to utilities. Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: highways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Status: de facto

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This article or section contains questionable, contentious or controversial information. See the talk page for more information.
The suitability of this tag for narrow streets that lead to the main entrance of buildings is being debated.

An alley or alleyway is a narrow service road usually located between properties to provide access to back gardens, rear entrances, fire exits, and storage areas. Alleys are normally found in urban areas and often run between the rear sides of buildings such as houses, and commercial premises.

Old, narrow streets that provide access to the main entrances of buildings may also be mapped as alleys, distinguishing them from wider modern streets mapped, for example, as highway=residential. In some regions, this case is much more common than the rear access case.

If a narrow street is prohibited for motor vehicles, consider using highway=pedestrian. If a narrow passage is prohibited for motor vehicles, consider using highway=footway.

Old or medieval ways

The very narrow old public streets which run in-between buildings in some settlements, such as the medieval European ones, often allowing through traffic, may be mapped using service=alley.

Possible and legal for motor vehicles Impossible (e.g. steps) or illegal for motor vehicles
highway=service +
Passage des Arts, Paris
Illegal for motor vehicles
Footpath next to Église Saint-Pierre, Mont-Saint-Michel, France
Step street in Pitigliano, Italy
Rathausgasse, Sommerhausen, Germany
Wide enough but illegal
Kirchgasse, Tübingen, Germany

Alley streets

Alley streets are a road classification found in Baltimore, Maryland, USA[1], and potentially other places. Alley streets are alleys by definition, i.e., they serve the rear of buildings, but are named. Most named alley streets have addresses assigned to them, often small homes or carriage-houses that have been converted into homes, due to Next Generation 911 (NG911) standards that require local governments to sign any public street with addresses. Alley streets may have sidewalks but they are small and designed to house trash cans or steps down from homes. Alley streets do not typically have on-street parking, which distinguishes them from residential streets.

Alley street tagging examples
Tagging Example
Ploy Street, alley street with a narrow sidewalk
highway=service +
service=alley +
sidewalk=both +
Ploy Street, an alley street in the Mt. Vernon Area of Baltimore
Teakle Alley, an alley street that looks like a standard alley with no sidewalk
highway=service +
service=alley +
sidewalk=no +
Teakle Alley, a narrow alley street in Baltimore, Maryland, USA



See also

footway=alley : Narrow streets where cars can't pass and people can barely get by.