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SDOT Street Use

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 permits/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.

NEW PEDESTRIAN MOBILITY RULE: Completion Expected this Month

We are proposing a revised Director's Rule for Pedestrian Mobility in and Around Work Zones to make it easier and safer for people to walk in our growing city. The public comment period wrapped up October 29, 2015. We are now assessing all comments and potential rule refinements with the goal of finalizing the policy by the end of November.

Key components of the new rule:

1. Sidewalk closures are a last resort—best practices to keep pathways open

2. More detail to help ensure American Disability Act (ADA) compliance

3. Emphasis on clear, well-maintained pathways and clear signage

4. Standards on types of materials and placement required for pedestrian protection

5. All work in the public right of way is covered, not just building construction

Questions or comments regarding DR 10-2015 may be directed to LeAnne Nelson at (206) 684-3897 or via email at The new rule will be implemented January 1, 2016.


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 DPD Side Sewer web site, or call the DPD 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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