Shoreline Street Ends

What We Do

Shoreline street ends are designated portions of public right of way that serve as precious community assets and thrive through robust community partnerships. Each one tells a different story of Seattle's cultural and environmental history, and provides everyone the opportunity to experience and enjoy the splendor of Seattle's shorelines.

Our Shoreline Street Ends Program improves public access, protects unique views, enhances habitat, supports maritime industry, and fosters stewardship to create long- lasting community assets. Specifically, we:

  • Collaborate with community partners to improve designated shoreline street ends
  • Provide project management and capital investment for design and construction services
  • Facilitate the permitting process to develop these spaces

What's New

We recently completed work to enhance three shoreline street ends at E Allison St, 1st Ave Br N (S River St), and 1st Ave Br S (SW Michigan St). You can visit these sites to see the new benches, landscaping and water access.

E Allison St: 

View of the E Allison St Shoreline Street End, with steps leading into the water, landscaping, and a view of I5 in the background. A view of the E Allison St Shoreline Street End, looking at Lake Union with steps leading into the water.

Program Goals

The Shoreline Street Ends Program seeks to:

  • Equitably improve and maintain shoreline access and enjoyment across a broad spectrum of Seattle's neighborhoods
  • Enhance shoreline habitat by including, where possible, ecological benefits such as native plantings and green stormwater treatment
  • Build partnerships and encourage stewardship through an extensive network of community partners
  • Support the maritime industry
  • Raise neighborhood awareness of shoreline street ends
  • Explore new opportunities to leverage resources

Program Resources

Improving a street end is a fantastic way to enhance a neighborhood. Many of Seattle's most appreciated and enjoyed street ends came about as the result of residents and groups partnering with us. At any time, a community organization or a group of neighborhood residents may request permission to open and develop a street end for public use. 

Local community groups or the project's sponsor provide ongoing stewardship and maintenance at improved sites. 

To learn more about how to improve your local shoreline street end, contact Omar Akkari at omar.akkari@seattle.gov or 206-233-5114.

Friends of Street Ends is a volunteer-led group that advocates for public access throughout the city and actively engages in stewardship of street ends. Learn more about the Friends of Street Ends program at https://www.streetends.org/.

Use our interactive map to locate sites for current, planned, and potential projects.

If you have questions about a particular site, please contact Brian Henry at brian.henry@seattle.gov or 206-684-5146.

If you would like to share information about the Shoreline Street Ends Program with your friends and neighbors, perhaps at your next community meeting, you can download our two-page program summary flier here. Click here to view the program summary in Spanish.

You may also be interested in viewing our 2009 shoreline street end work plan, in which all shoreline street ends were evaluated for their potential to be improved.  

SDOT Director's Rule 12-2015 is the document that sets the official rules and guidelines for the program.

In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state and was given ownership of its lands, including more than 3,000 miles of shoreline. To generate revenue for the newly- formed state, the legislature authorized the sale of public tidelands. An estimated 60% of all tidelands had been sold into private ownership by the time the State overturned its decision in 1971. As a result, public shorelands in Seattle are precious assets to be protected and enhanced. 

Seattle has a number of parks adjacent to the water, but there are significant gaps in waterfront parkland. In the early 1990s, community groups began embracing the opportunity to increase public shoreline access in Seattle by improving the spaces where streets, the public right of way, are platted into the water. In 1996, City Council approved Resolution 29370 designating shoreline street ends for "public uses and enjoyment." The resolution was followed by Ordinance 119673 that codified special permit fees to discourage private uses of shoreline street ends, directing the revenue produced toward the maintenance and improvement of shoreline street ends. 

Over the years, shoreline street ends have been stewarded by community groups, and they are maintained and improved through partnerships and strategic investments by SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Utilities, the Port of Seattle, and other agency partners.