Skip Navigation to ContentSeattle Right-of-Way Improvement Manual SDOT Home
HomeSearch TipsJoin Email ListGlossaryLinksContact UsFAQsdisclaimer

This online manual has been superceded by Street Illustrated.

Chapter 4
  « Back to Chapter 3  |  Go to Chapter 5 »
Design Criteria
4.26 Street Furniture, Public Art and Unique Objects in the Public Right-of-Way

Street furniture, public art, and other unique objects in the public right-of-way, including pedestrian amenities and bicycle installations, are important elements that can create an active, safe, and attractive public realm. Examples of street furniture include benches, litter and recycling receptacles, bike racks, multiple publication modular newsstands, water fountains, pedestrian-scaled lighting, bollards, and planters. Public art may include art installations that have a functional or aesthetic component and that is either owned and maintained by a private or public entity. Some types of street furniture, such as kiosks and other atypical installations, are referred to as ‘Unique Objects’ because they are nonstandard and require location and design review.

The intent of this section is to promote consistency, predictability, safety, and design excellence in the type and location of public realm installations located in the right-of-way. Get more information on street furniture.
4.26.1 Links to Standard Plans and Specifications
4.26.2 Design Criteria

To ensure pedestrian safety, the arrangement of installations in the sidewalk corridor should be divided into a landscape/furniture zone, a pedestrian zone, and a frontage zone.

Frontage, Pedestrian and Street Furniture Zones
Frontage, Pedestrian and Street Furniture/Zones
(photo courtesy of Shelley Poticha)

Accessibility consideration: Pedestrians with vision impairments can detect objects mounted on walls or posts if they are installed so that the leading edge is less than 27 inches above the sidewalk grade. Items mounted above this height should not project more than 4 inches into any circulation route. Particular care should be taken to locate temporary signage so that it does not impede pedestrian mobility and access.  The pedestrian zone shall be kept clear of all permanent or temporary installations.

Locating public art in the right-of way: The Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs is responsible for reviewing public art in the right-of-way. Like other types of street furniture, public art should be located outside the pedestrian zone. For additional information, please review the Director’s Rule on how Visual Artworks are reviewed.

Public Art- Unique Objects in the Right-of-Way
Public Art—Unique Objects in the Right-of-Way

Locating unique objects in the right-of-way: Unique objects in the right-of-way may include public art, commemorative plaques, memorials, bus shelters, wayfinding signage, and kiosks. SDOT will evaluate applications and serve as the first point of contact for applicants with recommendation from the Seattle Design Commission or other applicable advisory board. SDOT will also serve as the coordinating agency between the Design Commission, Historical or Landmark District Preservation Board, and other appropriate review authorities.

Any street furniture, public art, or other unique objects in the right-of-way require an Annual Street Use permit to serve as the long-term record of ownership and maintenance responsibilities. This annual permit is in addition to any required Street Use construction permits for the installation work proposed. 
4.26.3 Design Considerations

Special pavement: Used appropriately special pavement, including tile, brick, finish treatments and scoring or colored concrete, can increase the quality of the pedestrian environment. Design considerations include ensuring that pavement is durable, slip resistant, and free of trip hazards. A further design consideration is the ease of accommodating future pavement cuts and restorations.

Examples of Public Art Seating
Example of Public Art Seating
Louis Longi, 1999
Example of Public Art Seating
Jorg Dubin, 2000
Example of Public Art Seating

Seating: Successful outdoor seating requires thoughtful design and placement. Seating should be designed to encourage appropriate use and be located to maximize user comfort and utility and not impact the mobility of pedestrians. Consider integrating seating into art installations or other hardscape installations. Seating should be clear of the pedestrian zone.

Sidewalk Cafes: A sidewalk cafe is an outdoor seating area on a public sidewalk used by restaurant patrons for consuming food or beverages provided by an adjoining restaurant or cafe. Sidewalk cafes provide vitality and interest to the sidewalk environment and are encouraged where they can be accommodated. Refer to: /transportation/stuse_sidewalkcafe.htm

Another type of outdoor seating option is the table and chairs permit is issued in SDOT's Street Use Division. This permit may allow a maximum of four tables with two chairs per table per permit depending on site characteristics. While the tables and chairs are available to the patrons of an adjoining business, they must be open for use by the general public, table service may not be provided, and alcohol cannot be consumed. Refer to table and chair permits for more information.

An Annual Permit is Required: The City of Seattle will require an Annual Street Use permit to serve as the maintenance agreement for the artwork, street furniture, or unique object installations.  The City of Seattle may also require insurance and a hold harmless indemnity agreement, depending on the installation and the site location.

continue to section 4.27 »     
Latest Online Manual
Detailed Table of Contents
Chapter 4
Design Criteria
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Street Classifications and Street Types
4.3 Design Criteria General Notes
4.4 Grading
4.5 Design Cross Section
4.6 Roadway Width

Roadway Pavement

4.8 Intersections
4.9 Driveways
4.10 Curbs
4.11 Sidewalks
4.12 Crosswalks
4.13 Bicycle Facilities
4.14 Street Trees and Landscape Architectural Standards
4.15 Introduction to Utilities Design Criteria
4.16 Street Lighting
4.17 Street Drainage, Storm Drains and Sewers
4.18 Water Mains
4.19 Fire Protection
4.20 Seattle City Light
4.21 Clearances
4.22 Structures in the Right-of-Way
4.23 Culdesacs and Turnarounds
4.24 Traffic Operations
4.25 Transit Zones
4.26 Street Furniture, Public Art and Unique Objects in the Public Right-of-Way
4.27 Access Easements
4.28 Contact Information
Report ROWIM content errors and/or website problems Report ROWIM content errors and/or website problems
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader


End of Content
Home | Search Tips | Join Email List | Glossary | Links | Contact Us | FAQs
SDOT Home | Seattle.Gov