Public Right of Way

Public Right of Way Graphic

The City Public Right of Way is the City’s property for all residents or visitors to travel through the City and access properties. Typical City rights of way can be anywhere from 12 feet to 120 feet wide.  A City Arterial Street may have 120 foot right of way to allow enough room for sidewalk, tree terrace, bike lanes, vehicle lanes and median.  A City alleyway may just have enough room for 12’ of alley pavement.  Areas of the City with sidewalk on both sides are fairly easy to identify rights of way.  The City in most cases will install sidewalk within 1’ of the right of way or property line.  Areas with no sidewalk are more difficult.

Land is developed by recording plats or certified survey maps with the Dane County Register of Deeds.  The amount of space dedicated to City Rights of Way are documented there.  The City of Madison Official Map may help to identify the amount of right of way in a certain area.

View the City of Madison Official Map

In addition to travel, the Right of Way is also used for both city and private utilities to provide services to properties.  The City water main and sanitary sewer are installed in the right of way to serve properties.  The City installs storm sewers in the right of way to convey stormwater drainage away from an area.  Private utilities install electric, gas and telephone/fiber lines to properties to provide their service also. 

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