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SDOT Street Use

Street Use Right-of-Way Management Counter Wait Times and Permit Timelines Update

Due to a high volume of permit applications and significant staff transitions, we are experiencing longer permit counter wait times and review timelines. Please plan your trip to the permit counter and project timelines accordingly.

Permit Counter Wait Times (may vary depending on the number of counter visitors):

  • Construction use: 40-60 minutes
  • Minor utility: 20-40 minutes

Permit Review Timelines (may vary with permit complexity):

  • Arterial streets / construction hubs: 8-10 weeks
  • Non-arterial streets: 6-8 weeks
  • Modification requests: 4-6 weeks
  • (Note: Individual status inquiries may not be responded to if the permit review time has not exceeded the timelines listed above.)

We appreciate your patience as we hire and train additional reviewers over the next couple of months.

Permitting Process Improvements Implemented September 5

Our SDOT Street Use team is implementing many permitting process improvements and enhanced applicant guidance information September 5, 2017. The following collection of changes and improvements work to make the permitting process clear and easy to understand:

  • Updated Client Assistance Memos for:
    • Utility Major Permitting (CAM 2600)
    • ROW Management Permitting (CAM 2109)
    • ROW Management Site Plan Requirements (CAM 2116)
  • Process change updates that reduce touch points along the permit path
  • Clearer guidance on when utility work triggers a Major review
  • Clarification on the process for pole work in the curb radius
  • Updated utility permit applications
  • New permit modification application
  • Clarity on when you�re required to have a ROW Management Design Guidance meeting (formerly called Preliminary ROW Assessment Meetings or PRAMs)
  • Invoiced review/inspection fees � no more deposits/prepayment

To learn more about these customer service enhancements, open this PDF file of a presentation reviewing the new approach.

NOTE: Another recent change that improves efficiency REQUIRES ACTION - All Utility Permit inquiries and materials go to:

sidewalkThe Seattle Department of Transportation Street Use Division manages the City’s rights of way, operating under the authority of Seattle Municipal Code, Title 15. As part of this stewardship we equitably oversee, activate and regulate activities impacting safety, mobility and the environment in Seattle’s right of way space.

Our team works to review, issue and inspect approximately 35,000 permitted right-of-way uses each year.

For Seattle’s rights of way we also:

  • Encourage vibrant, safe, accessible and attractive shared spaces;
  • Ensure quality control of permitted public and private work; and
  • Coordinate all permitted construction to reduce cumulative impacts.


A Street Use permit is required for any work or occupation in the public rights of way. Examples include construction by private contractors or public agencies; vending of food or flowers; neighborhood block parties; removing or planting a tree; creating a sidewalk café; etc. Construction can include but is not limited to sewer, storm, or water extensions or repairs; franchise utility work; driveway; sidewalk; curb and gutter; landscaping and trees; street lighting; paving; or any other excavation or pertinent installation in the right of way.

If you want to know if a permit is required, we can help. Contact us at:
206-684-5253 |

Getting a Street Use permit...

Restoring pavement after utility work…

All permits issued by Street Use are subject to inspection. Inspections are required to ensure that all conditions of the permit have been met and that the public's safety, mobility and interests are preserved. Street Use inspectors also respond to and investigate citizen inquiries about unsafe conditions or construction activity in the right of way.

The Inspection process...

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented growth and development with several areas of highly concentrated construction—which we’ve identified as construction hubs. To reduce cumulative impacts and keep Seattle moving, we are coordinating all hub area construction projects holistically. This broader approach gives the big picture of all private and public permitted work and brings project managers together to resolve issues. Utility Coordination is an integral piece of the puzzle and one we are focusing on to improve efficiencies.

Construction Hub coordination...

Utility Coordination...

Our division covers all use of the street and public right of way including public space. The mission of the program is to promote and regulate a vibrant, safe, accessible, and attractive shared right of way. The Public Space Management Program supports creative improvements with program areas for groups and businesses to take part in.

Managing public space…

Other Permits

Other Permits Not Issued by Street Use
Side Sewers and Storm Connections: Property owners construct and repair their own side sewers and drainage pipes, under the regulations of the Side Sewer Code. Construction and repair of side sewers within a public street area must be performed by a registered Side Sewer Contractor. All sewer and storm work on public and private property requires a permit and inspection. The city keeps detailed records of these connections, made possible by permitting and inspections, to protect public health and safety.

For more information, visit the Seattle DCI Side Sewer web site, or call the Seattle DCI Drainage & Sewer Review Desk, (206) 684-5362. 

Traffic and Residential Parking Zones

Over-legal Vehicles and Loads

Commercial Vehicle Load Zones

Film Permits

For a complete list of permits and licenses on the City of Seattle web site click here.

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