Right of Way 

Public ROW

Rights-of-Way   are areas within the City which are necessary to provide infrastructure such as

·       roadways

·       sidewalks

·       utilities


The right-of-way of most interest to residents is the sidewalk along their property and the area between the sidewalk and the roadway, most commonly known as the “parking area".  Because the purpose of the parking area is to provide a location for utilities, the City very strongly discourages planting or erecting anything in this right-of-way. 



There are several reasons:


·       Should there be a need to dig in the parking area, damage to anything planted, erected or buried (such as irrigation) in this right-of-way would be at the property owner’s expense to repair or replace.

·       In the event of a utility failure such as a gas leak, removal of obstructions in the right-of-way will delay the ability of crews to make a quick repair, and will increase the cost of the repair!

          and exceptions:

Mailboxes are necessarily placed in parking areas throughout the City. When installing, homeowners are encouraged to consider:

·       Safety – The City does not permit non-breakaway installations such as stone or brick mailbox structures due to safety issues in the event of a vehicular, bicycle, or pedestrian accident. Mailbox structures can also limit the vision of drivers entering and exiting a driveway. (See vision triangle drawing.)

 ·       Economics – Should it be necessary for crews to remove your mailbox for construction or utility purposes, or if a snowplow accidentally damages your mailbox, the homeowner will be reimbursed for the amount provided to owners of regular type mailboxes only.   

Residents who have installed non-breakaway mailbox structures are encouraged to replace them with regular mailbox installations.  Owners of these structures may want to contact their homeowner insurance provider regarding liability.

Plantings in the Right-Of-Way

Vision Triangle

Landscaping with flowers, plants, and grasses in the public right-of-way is permitted in the immediate area surrounding a mailbox. The planted area is not to exceed eight square feet in size, and shall not interfere with the vision triangle (see drawing). No compensation by the City is provided to the property owner for any damage or removal required.

Trees planted or maintained in the public right-of-way must have prior approval of the City's Urban Forestry Supervisor.


Most questions regarding West Des Moines Public Rights-Of-Way are answered on the City website; however, residents  may call WDM Engineering Services at  222-3475 for assistance or inquiries.



Mowing of Roadsides and Medians

Roadside Mowing


Select this tractor to learn more!














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