When rush-hour traffic backs up on Reed Market Road beside Farewell Bend Park, many drivers use a paved alley in the nearby Woodriver Village neighborhood as a shortcut.

But the alley is a private shared driveway, not a public road, and the constant traffic is unwanted and a safety concern for the neighborhood.

Neighbors put out a sign reading, “Private Alley — No Thru Traffic,” but that didn’t curb the traffic.

Finally, a few weeks ago, one neighbor, Larry Kine, installed a gate at the end of the alley. The $200 investment has paid off with noticeably less traffic, he said.

“The gate has worked,” Kine said.

Kine, a local developer who owns Kine & Kine Properties, developed the houses along the alley, including his home.

Over the past two years since the homes and alley were built, traffic cutting through the area was a huge annoyance, he said.

“We started originally with signs,” Kine said. “That didn’t hardly do anything.”

Before the gate, Kine tried parking his truck to block the alley.

That only caused more problems. One time, someone egged his truck, he said. Another time, someone woke him up at night asking him to move his truck.

“It was the middle of the night,” Kine said. “Someone knocks on my door and asks if I can move my vehicle because they were pulling a trailer and didn’t know how to back it out.”

The gate, which is monitored by a security camera, has relieved the neighborhood.

Tim Voth, a retired bank consultant who lives next to Kine, said the traffic was a major safety issue.

He witnessed multiple near-miss accidents as neighbors tried to pull out of their driveways.

He worried about drivers possibly hitting children and dogs playing in the Woodriver Park near the alley.

Voth estimated seeing about 100 cars pass through the private alley during rush-hour traffic in the morning and evening. Now, drivers don’t try the alley with the gate, he said.

“Since we put in the gate, it solved the problem,” Voth said.

Keith Scott, who has owned the property across from Kine since 1998, said the gate has been a successful deterrent.

But Tuesday, garbage day for the neighborhood, the gate is left open for the garbage truck.

The open alley on garbage day still attracts drivers, some who speed through the neighborhood, Scott said.

Using the private alley without permission could be considered second-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor violation, according to Bend Police.

“It makes me mad just to see it,” Scott said. “It ticks me off, especially when they accelerate and drive recklessly. Drivers like that have no respect for other people’s property.”

David Abbas, director of Bend’s Streets and Operations Department, said the neighbors have every right to install a gate on their private alley.

Some housing developments in Bend have roadways that are private and maintained by a homeowners association, but they are open to public access, Abbas said.

In this case, the city considers the alley a private driveway shared by the neighbors. It is the neighborhood’s responsibility to maintain the alley.

“If there were a gate put out in a public right-of-way, that’s when we would get involved,” Abbas said. “This is not the case in my view. This is as private alley.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com