Author Topic: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens  (Read 2322 times)

Adam W

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 01:46:58 PM »
I take it they aren't being used for trash collection anymore, huh? Back in the 90s when I lived on Forbes, our alleyway was used for trash collection - but I suppose a lot probably has changes since that time.

I'm torn on the notion of turning them into gardens. On the one hand, I think it's a pretty cool idea, especially if they are overgrown and not being maintained or used. On the other hand, I'd almost rather they be returned to their former 'glory' as functioning alleyways.

It's an interesting project, nevertheless.
What I've witnessed now is that trash will be placed at the entrances of the alleys. I think the City stopped collecting trash in the Riverside alleys at least one year ago.

The alleys can be used both for vehicle travel and gardens. We don't have enough room to garden in rows, but there are techniques that can achieve abundance both in harvest volume and variety while maintaining enough clearance for vehicles.

In addition to growing our gardens without harmful pesticides and GMO-laden manure, we can use the surplus for organizations like The Clara White Mission and Sulzbacher Center. Cleared alleys can provide green space for pedestrians/joggers and cyclists.

We can even engage educational institutions like FSCJ, UNF, JU and even local schools like Central Riverside to teach them about the journey of one seed turning into something delicious and more nutritious than what is shipped 2,000 miles across the country. If they have community service requirements, the sweat equity will definitely help them reach their goals.

If you don't mind me asking, what are your reasons for not wanting to convert them?

Based on what you're saying, I don't see a reason why not... if I understand you correctly, there will still be room to use the alleyways, right?

I generally liked the off-street parking aspect of the alleys (we had parking behind our building and had to use the alleyway) and I think that is one of the nicer features of that style of neighborhood - smaller yards with parking behind the buildings, served by alleys. I realize, though, that not everyone apparently uses them (and not all apartments or houses are designed that way in the neighborhood).

However, if it makes the neighborhood nicer, I have no complaint. I think it seems like an interesting idea. I definitely like the idea of something being done to them - so many of them seem to have fallen into disrepair.

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2012, 02:05:04 PM »
Based on what you're saying, I don't see a reason why not... if I understand you correctly, there will still be room to use the alleyways, right?

I generally liked the off-street parking aspect of the alleys (we had parking behind our building and had to use the alleyway) and I think that is one of the nicer features of that style of neighborhood - smaller yards with parking behind the buildings, served by alleys. I realize, though, that not everyone apparently uses them (and not all apartments or houses are designed that way in the neighborhood).

However, if it makes the neighborhood nicer, I have no complaint. I think it seems like an interesting idea. I definitely like the idea of something being done to them - so many of them seem to have fallen into disrepair.
Yes, there would still be room to use the alleyways. In narrow sections, we could plant vine plants, for example, to minimize disruption of the travel lanes. Some yard waste that's placed on the curb on Friday could be repurposed to make trellises for these plants.

As for the parking behind the buildings, it's been my observation that those are the best maintained sections. Those typically already have gardens, whether of the flower, vegetable, or fruit variety. Seeing them during one of the drive throughs was actually the motivation to do more with the alleys than just clean them up.  :)

Adam W

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2012, 02:10:28 PM »
Based on what you're saying, I don't see a reason why not... if I understand you correctly, there will still be room to use the alleyways, right?

I generally liked the off-street parking aspect of the alleys (we had parking behind our building and had to use the alleyway) and I think that is one of the nicer features of that style of neighborhood - smaller yards with parking behind the buildings, served by alleys. I realize, though, that not everyone apparently uses them (and not all apartments or houses are designed that way in the neighborhood).

However, if it makes the neighborhood nicer, I have no complaint. I think it seems like an interesting idea. I definitely like the idea of something being done to them - so many of them seem to have fallen into disrepair.
Yes, there would still be room to use the alleyways. In narrow sections, we could plant vine plants, for example, to minimize disruption of the travel lanes. Some yard waste that's placed on the curb on Friday could be repurposed to make trellises for these plants.

As for the parking behind the buildings, it's been my observation that those are the best maintained sections. Those typically already have gardens, whether of the flower, vegetable, or fruit variety. Seeing them during one of the drive throughs was actually the motivation to do more with the alleys than just clean them up.  :)

Sounds like a really cool idea.

Dog Walker

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2012, 02:54:14 PM »
Years ago RAP helped the City get funding for special, narrow garbage trucks that would fit down the alleys.  When those trucks reached the end of their useful lives a couple of years ago, the City decided not to replace them since they had limited capacity.  Garbage pickup in this area is now at curbside in front of the houses like everywhere else.

We are lucky to have City crews doing the pickups, not one of the contractors like people in the suburbs do.

The change has actually helped the alleys.  When garbage was stored in the alleys, nobody picked up the spilled stuff and they were a stinking mess.  Now they are cleaner even if some of them are overgrown in spots; sort of like narrow, shady country roads.
When all else fails hug the dog.

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2012, 05:22:08 PM »
The change has actually helped the alleys.  When garbage was stored in the alleys, nobody picked up the spilled stuff and they were a stinking mess.  Now they are cleaner even if some of them are overgrown in spots; sort of like narrow, shady country roads.
They literally did stink.  Glad those days are over!

As we clear the alleys, people could hang baskets from their fences asking for organic waste for composting.  Or those who just harvested could put out, say, cucumbers and spinach for others to sample.  Or they could list their planting schedules.  As a community event, workshops could be held to teach different gardening techniques.  All of this can happen with just 1 horizontal foot of alleyway and even more vertically.

I'd be happy just to be able to walk our puppy down the alleys rather than on concrete and asphalt.

Punch Balloon

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 09:28:55 AM »
The sheer abundance of spotlights in the riverside alleys whose purpose is to keep alley walkers like myself at bay, might mess with your plants photo periods. I doubt you'll get complaints from the home owners though, they'll still be nestled safely behind their 10 foot border fences.

I guess the alleys you pictured are a little more derelict than the ones I've been to... I'll shoot you a PM

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2013, 12:08:36 PM »
The sheer abundance of spotlights in the riverside alleys whose purpose is to keep alley walkers like myself at bay, might mess with your plants photo periods.
Thanks for pointing that out as it didn't even occur to me that that could happen. How can we counter that?

Dog Walker

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2013, 03:02:59 PM »
He's just kidding you.  The lights aren't strong enough to do anything.  Even poinsettia's aren't that sensitive.
When all else fails hug the dog.

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2013, 04:27:32 PM »
He's just kidding you.  The lights aren't strong enough to do anything.  Even poinsettia's aren't that sensitive.
Oh, haha.

BAZINGA!

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2013, 04:32:11 PM »
From this month's RAP newsletter:


Dog Walker

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2013, 10:32:40 AM »
The storm drains throughout Riverside/Avondale are OLD.  Anything that goes into them, yard debris, litter, dog feces, oil, fertilizer run-off, etc. goes straight into the river.  There are no intermediate holding ponds or any other kind of filter.

Keeping stuff out of the storm drains in our older neighborhoods is REALLY important for the health of the river.
When all else fails hug the dog.

rjr120

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2013, 02:47:58 PM »
I really like this idea.  My main mode of transportation is my bike and I like to go through the allies when I can since, even in Riverside, it is still very dangerous to ride in the road.  It seems that once a person is behind the wheel of a car in Jacksonville, pedestrians and cyclists are nothing more than mythical creatures and their infrastructure (such as special lanes, markings, crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic singles, etc) are all for motor vehicles to use.

Unfortunately a lot of the allies are in bad shape and make for a rough ride, if you can get through at all.  I will absolutely use them all the time if they were clean and safe!  I'm glad someone else has an appreciation for them besides myself!  Keep up the great work and I really look forward to seeing things improve around here.

 ;D

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 01:16:41 PM »
HELP NEEDED: Who can help sort through local and state codes/ordinances/statutes/laws regarding public alleys and using them for gardens?

COJ's website was not explicit regarding the use of public alleys. The only potentially applicable municipal code I found was Sec. 518.413, Sanitation regarding property safety and maintenance; however, Amanda of Sustainable Springfield mentioned state laws that we can use to our advantage.

This is the final roadblock to achieving our objective.

Let's get this puppy moving!

5ptscurmudgeon

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2013, 09:05:04 AM »
Gardening 101: You must have 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sun to have any success with most vegetables. I live along the Ernest St. alley between Margaret and Stockton (about as east-west possible) and have given up on a veggie garden due to only 4-6 hours depending on the time of year. The only part of my yard that gets the proper amount is my front yard and that wont work for me.

JaxNole

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Re: Converting the Riverside Alleys to Community Gardens
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2013, 09:09:29 AM »
Were any of your attempts hung from a fence or were they at ground level?