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Play Streets: Background

SDOT launched a pilot Play Streets Program in May 2014. Since that time, over 300 interested neighbors applied for and held a Play Street event to enliven their neighborhood streets with safe, active play.  Due to the rapid growth and sustained interest in the program, SDOT has made the program permanent.


The Play Street Program is guided by the following objectives:

  1. Encourage use of neighborhood streets for safe, active play
  2. Promote social interaction between neighbors of all ages
  3. Provide additional public space in areas where parks or private yards are limited
  4. Ensure local access into and out of homes during Play Street events


For many neighborhood streets in Seattle, only a handful of vehicles use the street per hour. On these low-volume streets, there is the potential for more active uses of that public space.

Given this collective experience with temporarily closing neighborhood streets for social interaction and play, it's little surprise that the Play Streets Pilot was quickly embraced by neighbors across the city.

To develop the pilot program, we looked closely at the performance of our own Neighborhood Block Party program and also the best practices of Play Street programs in contemporary cities. For this research, we looked at similar efforts being made in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and London.



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