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FAQ

 

What’s a parklet?

A parklet is a small segment of the right-of-way that has been converted from private automobile parking space to a public space for all to enjoy. Parklets are generally one or two parking spaces long, although they can also stretch for a block or more.


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What’s a streatery?

You can think of a streatery as a mash-up of a parklet and a sidewalk café. For most hours of the day, a streatery is an open space constructed in the parking lane outside a local business (like a parklet). During the hosting restaurant or cafés business hours, a streatery provides space for table service and is for the business exclusive use (like a sidewalk café). Streateries are a new way to activate Seattles parklets and promote the economic vitality of commercial districts. They can provide space for café seating in neighborhoods with narrow sidewalks and support our vibrant café culture.



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What’s the purpose of parklets and streateries?

We live in a city with a limited number of neighborhood parks and open spaces: parklets provide valuable privately-funded and privately-maintained public spaces for people to read, sip a cup of coffee or enjoy a bite to eat, and socialize. Parklets convert on-street parking spaces into community gathering places, creating more vibrant commercial districts. Streateries are a new way to support these goals while also responding to the demand for more outdoor café seating in Seattle, particularly in areas where sidewalks are too narrow for sidewalk cafés.


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What are the origins or Seattle’s Parklet Program and Streateries Pilot Program?

Local businesses interested in building parklets began approaching the City in 2011. While receptive to the idea, we lacked a program (or any guidelines and requirements) for parklet development. After discussions with the Mayor, City Council, and several departments, SDOT launched a Pilot Parklet Program in summer 2013. The pilot program began with only three parklet hosts before it was extended through 2014 to explore how well parklets would serve Seattles diverse neighborhoods. Following a successful evaluation of the pilot program, we made the Parklet Program permanent in 2015 and launched the Streatery Pilot Program to test new activation opportunities for parklets. The streateries will be evaluated before a permanent program is considered.


The streatery at Montana Bar on Capitol Hill started as a parklet and was the first to open in Seattle.
Photo by: Seattle Bike Blog  


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How does SDOT decide where to build parklets and streateries? Does the City impose them on neighborhoods?

SDOT doesnt build parklets or streateries. If you see a parklet or streatery in Seattle it is there only because a hosta local business or community organizationapplied to construct one in that location. The City might reject an application if the proposed site is inappropriate (due to utilities, for example), if theres insufficient parking supply in the neighborhood, or if there is a lack of community support. But SDOT never imposes a parklet or streatery on a neighborhood; parklets and streateries are always community-initiated, neighborhood-driven, and privately-funded projects.


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Are parklets open to the public? What about streateries?

Parklets are free and open for everyone to responsibly enjoy 24 hours a day. Streateries are open to the public at all hours outside of café service hours. Each streatery will feature a sign indicating which hours are for business customers and which hours the space is public.


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Are parklets and streateries permanent or temporary?

Parklets and streateries are not permanently affixed to the roadway or sidewalk in any fashion. However, if well-maintained, the parklet or streatery host can apply for annual renewals. SDOT will carefully consider any community feedback when evaluating renewal applications, and may require replacement of elements experiencing routine wear-and-tear. 


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Who pays for a parklet? A streatery?

Private money. Parklet and streatery hosts pay for design, materials, construction, and maintenance costs, as well as review and permit fees (about $1,500 for the first year). Additionally, streatery hosts pay a $1.56 per square foot occupation fee (the same fee as sidewalk café) and a Paid Parking Replacement Fee each year in exchange for being able to use their streatery for private café seating during their hours of operation.


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Can residents and community organizations host parklets and streateries, or just businesses?

Anyone can apply to host a parklet. However, a streatery can only be hosted by a business that is licensed to serve food and/or alcohol and offers table service. We recommend that all parklet and streatery hosts consider hiring professional design services to ensure the their projects meet safety, accessibility, and design standards. Hosts also need to consider their ability to maintain their parklet or streatery after its installed.

parklet space
The Uptown Parklet at SIFF Cinema is hosted by the Uptown Alliance, a local community group 
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Do parklets and streateries close at night?

Parklets are free to (responsibly!) enjoy 24 hours a day, and streateries are open to the public during non-serving hours.


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Can I drink alcoholic beverages in a parklet? Or in a streatery?

Parklets are public spaces, just like a plaza or a park, so you can’t drink in a parklet. You might be able to drink in a streatery, though. It all depends on the hosting business and whether they have a liquor license to serve alcohol to their customers.


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Can I smoke in a parklet or streatery?

No, out of respect for other users, smoking is prohibited in parklets and streateries.


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Who is responsible for maintaining parklets and streateries?

The parklet or streatery host. The host must not only ensure the parklet or streatery is clean and free of rubbish daily, but must also maintain all materials and keep elements in a state of good repair. Streatery hosts are required to store all serving items outside the seating area when the streatery is open to the public.



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What about parking? How does SDOT ensure there will still be ample parking in neighborhoods served by parklets and streateries?

Balancing uses of the right of way is always tricky, and parking supply is a factor we consider when reviewing parklet and streatery applications. We have good parking data for neighborhoods throughout the city, and we will use that to help make decisions.


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Is there a cap on the number of parklets or streateries allowed per block or per neighborhood?

There is no set limit on the number of parklets or streateries that are allowed per block or per neighborhood. However, we give priority to parklets and streateries that are proposed in areas of the city with less open space and/or limited sidewalk space. We also require that hosts demonstrate a strong level of support from their local community. If a neighborhood believes that a certain area has already reached a sufficient density of parklets or streateries, we will carefully consider this when evaluating applications for the area.


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How do I apply for a parklet or streatery?

To apply for a parklet or streatery, you should read through the Parklet Handbook and Streatery Supplement to learn about the application process and figure out what youll need to consider when building a parklet or streatery. Once youre ready to apply, you can submit your initial application package to parklets@seattle.gov or in person on the 23rd floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower (700 5th Ave).

Additional questions about the application process can be directed to parklets@seattle.gov.


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Im a business owner who loves my neighborhood and would really like to provide my community with a parklet or streatery, but the initial costs are kind of intimidating. Do businesses sponsoring parklets and streateries tend to see any benefits?

Parklet and streatery hosts in Seattle have reported significant benefits as a direct result of their parklets and streateries. Based on our evaluation of these programs, weve found that both hosts and nearby businesses have experienced an increase in foot traffic and an increase in sales due to the installation of parklet or streatery on their block. Additionally, 100 percent of parklet and streatery hosts said they would recommend the program to other Seattle businesses. The evaluation report on our home page provides more information about the business impact of parklets and streateries.

We also have several funding resources available to help reduce the cost of your parklet or streatery project. Check out the How To page for more information.

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Do parklets and streateries require community support for approval?

Yes. As part of the parklet application process, potential hosts need to provide at least three letters of community support and submit proof that they have contacted their local neighborhood or business association. One additional letterfour totalis required for streatery applications, and streatery hosts must also submit a petition of support.

There’s also a step in the permitting process when parklet and streatery hosts have to post a public notice of the application in their window and mail a notice to all addresses within 200 feet of the proposed parklet or streatery site. We will consider all public feedback when making a final decision on a parklet or streatery application.


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How does SDOT ensure that parklets and streateries are safe?

Safety is SDOTs highest priority in reviewing parklet and streatery applications. As detailed in the Parklet Handbook and Streatery Supplement, every parklet and streatery is subject to specific design and siting standards to ensure that it will be remain safe for its users and the traveling public. As standard features, every parklet and streatery is required to have wheel stops and flexible delineator posts on its outside edges to increase awareness of the space and prevent parking cars from hitting it. Parklet and streatery applications are also reviewed by SDOTs Traffic Engineers to ensure that they will not obstruct sightlines or impact safety for other users of the street.

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When can the public comment on a proposed parklet or streatery?

The best time to comment on a proposed parklet or streatery is during its 14-day public comment period, which occurs after a concept design is complete. After a parklet or streatery permit application and concept design is submitted, SDOT will issue a public notice of the application and begin the comment period. Notices will be mailed to all street-level businesses and residents within 200-feet of the proposed parklet or streatery location, posted in the window of the hosting or adjacent business, and listed on SDOT's website. Comments may be submitted to SDOT either in writing or via email.


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