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Start, Grow, or Green Your Business Stephen H. Johnson, Director
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How to Use This Guide
Abbreviations Used in This Guide
Hints for Successful Business District Improvements
Beautification Projects
Flower Planters
Holiday Lighting
Metro Bus Shelters
Public Art
Street Trees
Clean and Green Seattle Initiative
Enhancement Projects
Street Furniture
Pedestrian Lighting
Bicycle Racks
Newspaper Boxes
Office of Economic Development
Neighborhood Matching Fund
Forming a Business Improvement Area
Grant Programs
Services to Businesses
Litter Cans
Sidewalk Cleaning
Spring Clean
Street Cleaning
Street Paving
Building/Fire Code Violations
Managing Parking
Public Safety
Street Light & Power Line Repair
Alley & Security Lighting
Crime Prevention
Emergency Preparedness
District Identification Signs
Traffic Controls
Use of Public Areas
City Parks
Sidewalk Cafes
Street Vendors
Additional Information
Neighborhood Business District Support
Business Dists., Merchants Assns., Chambers of Commerce
Community Development Corporations

Create a Thriving Business District


It is relatively easy to get business district or community identification signs in your area. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will put up signs that identify an AREA— not a specific group or organization. Typically, signs say “XYZ Commercial District (or Community) Welcomes You.” The Seattle Department of Transportation will manufacture and install the sign(s) as long as the group agrees to cover the costs.

Frequently asked questions:
How much does a typical sign cost?

Signs can cost up to $300 each depending on the design and installation costs.

How many signs can a neighborhood have?

Neighborhoods usually purchase 4 signs. But if the group comes up with good locations, the Seattle Department of Transportation could approve more.

Can SDOT install freestanding signs?

Typically district identification signs are installed on their own sign post.

What is the size and color of the sign?

Sign colors and designs are limited. The sign is 3 x 2 feet and the colors are typically green with white lettering. Additional colors may be added, but the feasibility of this must be reviewed for each sign request. Adding colors will also affect the total cost.

How long does the process take?

Once a group has funding for the sign and the design and locations for the signs have been approved, manufacture and installation usually take between 3 – 6 weeks, depending on the time of year and the workload of SDOT’s traffic shop.


  • Determine the content of your signs—will you have a logo? Do you want different colors than the typical green-and-white? Contact Carol McMahan SDOT at 206-684-5512 to finalize your design choice and ensure that it is feasible.
  • Secure funding for the signs—if you do not have your own funding, you can apply for a grant through the Department of Neighborhoods ’ Neighborhood Matching Funds program and the Office of Economic Development’s Neighborhood Business District Funding Awards. These are competitive processes.
  • Submit sign design and locations to SDOT for approval. Contact Carol McMahan at 206-684-5512.
  • Signs are manufactured and installed by SDOT crews within 3–6 weeks.