What is the Right of Way?

Right of Way (RoW) is land controlled by public agencies that includes streets, alleys, public sidewalk, curbs, and the berm area between the curb and sidewalk. Work within the City’s Right of Way is managed by the City Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works (DPW).

When is a Right of Way Permit required?

Anytime an activity impacts the Right of Way:

  • Construction – Altering the Right of Way (e.g., installing utilities like water mains, gas lines, telecommunications lines, etc., installing water or sewer taps, replacing sidewalk, driveway approach, etc.)
  • Occupying – Temporary sidewalk/lane/street closure (e.g., crane/construction equipment on street/sidewalk, filming, special events, dumpster etc.)
  • Oversized and/or Overweight Loads

How do I obtain a Right of Way Permit?

Procedure to Obtain Permits for Activities in the Right of Way

Note: All contractors must be bonded with a $2,500 Surety Bond with the City of Detroit. This bond must be completed before any work is done in the right of way.

Who do I call if I have questions?
Contact Department of Public Works (DPW) – City Engineering Division RoW Permits Office
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 642
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 224-3935

Valet Location Staging Permit Process
A permit must be completed by any person or company who desires to place a valet staging service in the Right of Way or on private property which requires the use of the Right of Way for maneuvering vehicles.

Annual & Temporary Valet Permit Application and Requirements

In addition, the Valet Service must be licensed to perform valet services.The Building Safety Engineering and Environment Departments Business License Center is responsible for licensing such operations.They can be contacted at:

Business License Center
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Room 402
Detroit, MI 48226

(313) 224-3178

For online assistance use the following link:


Right of Way Changes
The City Engineering Division evaluates requests for status changes (easements, dedications, vacations, and encroachments) for alley and street closings. Status changes in the public right-of-way (streets and alleys) require the resolution/approval of City Council and may require additional permits. Questions regarding right-of-way changes should be directed to the DPW-City Engineering Division, Maps & Records Office, at (313) 224-3970.

Right of Way Specifications
City Engineering Division publishes a couple of documents that establish the standards for work in the public right of way. Right of Way construction work must comply with these documents. The Standard Specifications for Paving and Related Construction are available for viewing on the city website at:

Standard Plans and Specifications

Street and Alley Standard Plans

Hard copies of these manuals are available for sale for $25 from the City Engineering Division – RoW Permits Office located at:

Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue
Room 642
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 224-3935