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Posted on: May 5, 2022

Public Right of Way Maintenance

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It is that time of year when flowers, trees and shrubs are in full bloom– a pretty sight, but one that can be detrimental to the safety of motorists and pedestrians if not properly maintained.

Do Your Part to Keep Sidewalks Clear

ffOlivette Municipal Code (sections 220.010 and 515.080) requires that all trees, bushes, and vegetation located on private property which overhang or encroach upon a street or sidewalk are to be always maintained.

Property owners are responsible for the care and maintenance of trees, plants, and grass on private property. Overgrown trees and plants can pose a threat when they block the path or view of traffic signs, signals, fire hydrants, vehicles and people.

Remember, keeping sidewalks clear and free of excessive plant growth allows residents and children to walk safely throughout our community. For more information contact the City of Olivette, Department of Public Works at (314) 993-0252.


What is a Public Right of Way?

To protect public health and safety, it is important to keep streets, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and other public

areas free of overgrown vegetation.

The Public Right of Way (ROW) is the dedicated space for public infrastructure: streets, sidewalks, and utilities. The ROW generally extends beyond the constructed street or sidewalk by a couple of feet. 

The maintenance responsibilities for the ROW lie on the individual property owners, except for the roadway driving surface. 

  1. Grass shall be mowed, and landscaping manicured or maintained to keep the sidewalk free from branches, leaves, foliage, dirt, debris, snow, and ice. (Olivette Municipal Code, sections 515.070 and 515.080)

Property owners, both public and private, need to be conscious about managing vegetation on their property to address visibility and safety concerns.



Planting in the Public Right of Way 

When planting trees, shrubs, and hedges you must stay within your property; however, some special plantings may be authorized by permit in the public right of way, which includes the tree lawn, an area between the street and sidewalk and, in most cases, a 1-foot strip on that side of the sidewalk closest to your house. 

The City encourages the planting of trees, because of the special character they give a neighborhood. Plantings in the ROW or private property must not:

· Obstruct a driver's vision

· Interfere with a pedestrian's use of sidewalk

· Upheave sidewalk or driveway aprons

· Cause unusual or unnecessary maintenance problems

· Interfere with utilities

Trees provide many benefits to our community. Be sure you care for them properly! Visit on how to keep your trees healthy and happy.

Questions? Please contact the Public Works Director Bruce McGregor at 314-993-0252 or


Site Distance Triangle 

 A Site Distance Triangle (SDT), 25’ x 25’, is the corner of any intersection that is needed to be kept free of visual obstacles to allow travelers to see oncoming traffic.

In most cases, staff use a site distance triangle (SDT) for standard inspections. Some intersections are not ideal, either due to a curb, hill, building, etc.  Although you may comply with the dimensions, the actual condition given a bend or curb in the road, visibility is still impeded. Providing adequate sight distance at all intersections is important to protecting the traveling public. Questions? Please contact the Public Works Director Bruce McGregor at 314-993-0252 or

The SDT area (25’ x 25’) is shown in blue on Figure 1 and is created from the curb lines of intersecting streets (Olivette Municipal Code, section 220.010). 

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