Term Permits and Street Vacations

Please Note:

Based on information provided by WSDOT, on January 11, 2019, State Route 99 through downtown Seattle will be closing for approximately three weeks to realign SR 99 into the new tunnel. During the closure, both the viaduct and the tunnel will be closed. Drivers should expect up to six weeks of region-wide congestion. 

To minimize transportation impacts, construction and curbspace vending will be restricted on critical streets from January 4 - February 15, 2019. Please see the Restrictions During Viaduct Closure map showing streets where right-of-way closures will not be permitted.

If work has been scheduled during the restriction period, we will contact you prior to the closure of the viaduct. Your permit may be revoked with at least 30 calendar days' notice, per SMC 15.04.070. Any revoked permits will be re-issued after the closure with no additional costs.

Please see our informational one-page document for more information. 

In Addition:

The City of Seattle is still experiencing a high volume of construction applications for both private and public projects. Traffic Control Plan (TCP) reviews have extended beyond typical timelines, which is directly impacting timelines for Right-of-Way (ROW) Management permits. This is a temporary impact, improving as more resources become available and processes are streamlined.

Right now, the below timelines can be expected. These timelines may vary based on the complexity of the project.

  • ROW Management permit intake and screening timeline: 4 business days
  • ROW Management permit timeline without TCP: 4 weeks
  • ROW Management permit timeline with TCP: 6-8 weeks
  • Traffic Control Plan (TCP) reviews: 3 weeks

What we do

Perseus II Art InstallationWe facilitate the review process for term permits and street vacations. Term permits are for skybridges and significant structures occupying the right of way, and include utility tunnels, vehicle bridges and ramps, and public plazas and artwork. Once reviewed, term permits must be approved by City Council.

Street vacations allow property owners to petition City Council for private use of the public right of way. Street vacations permanently change the right-of-way to private use, based on public benefit.

After we complete our review of term permits and street vacations, we will provide recommendations to City Council. Term permit ordinances are valid for a period of 10 years, with the option of renewing twice for a maximum of 30 years. For street vacations, City Council will determine whether the vacation is in the public interest, as guided by the City of Seattle’s street vacation policies. Street vacations are only applicable when there is an adjacent development project planned. Conceptual approval of a vacation petition will be valid for a five-year time frame from the date of the City Council approval.

More information on the term permit process can be found in the Term Permit FAQ.

Permit application

Applications may be submitted to the Street Use permit counter.

Apply for a term permit

Please see the term permit application for additional application requirements including the deposit fee, which are due at the time of applying. View Fee Permits Schedule for a list of deposit fees.

Term permits

Starbucks Plaza InstallationsOur Client Assistance Memos are available to help provide information on term permits. These documents are designed to guide you through the review and permitting process.

CAM 2207: Skybridge Permitting Process
CAM 2701: Term Permit Fee Methodology

The Seattle Municipal Code details the regulations and requirements involved with skybridge and significant structure term permits. Please use the following links to learn more:

Skybridge Term Permits (SMC 15.64)
Significant Structure Term Permits (SMC 15.65)

Street vacations

If you’re interested in a street vacation, you will first need to notify members of your community and conduct a feasibility assessment with SDOT’s Street Vacation staff. Contact Beverly Barnett at beverly.barnett@seattle.gov or (206) 684-7564, or Moira Gray at moira.gray@seattle.gov or (206) 684-8272 to learn more.

Click here to view the 2018 City Council Street Vacation Policies adopted by Resolution 31809.

Click here to view the SDOT 2018 Updated Street Vacation Checklist.