Street Vending

What We Do

Food truckWe encourage street-food vending to increase public use, enjoyment, and safety of our public right of way. With proper design and management, street-food vending can be a great way to encourage walking, add vitality to the street, and promote local economic development.

Specifically, we provide guidance and facilitate the permitting process for businesses interested in vending food or flowers in public spaces. Street vending may include:

  • Sidewalk or Plaza Vending – allowed at specified sidewalks (vending carts only) and public plazas (vending carts and food vehicles) during daytime and/or nighttime hours
  • Curb Space Vending
    • Designated Food-Vehicle Zone – food vehicle vending allowed at SDOT-designated curb spaces; may recur weekly at specific times in daytime and/or nighttime hours
    • Temporary Curb Space Activity – food vehicle vending allowed in conjunction with a special event located on either private property abutting the curb space or in a public place
  • Stadium and Event Center Vending – vending of food, merchandise, services, nonalcoholic beverages allowed in the authorized Stadium Event Vending Area
  • Mobile Food Vending – mobile vending of food exempt from a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit allowed in a public place (not location specific)
  • First Amendment Vending – vending of merchandise by a nonprofit organization in which the organization’s political, religious, sociological, or ideological message is inextricably intertwined is allowed in a specific SDOT-designated site

What’s New

We have an exciting new vending location opening to vendors who meet certain criteria. SDOT and the Downtown Seattle Association have partnered to create a new "Pavement to Parks" installation along the curb on the south side of the 300 block of Pine St downtown. The newly created park includes two spaces for left-side-serving curb-space vendors. We're inviting any eligible vendors to apply now to start vending at this site, possibly as early as November 20, 2017. Vending will be allowed at this location from 10 AM to 2 PM, 7 days a week.

A photo of the new park is provided below. The Downtown Seattle Association will be soon be providing tables and chairs in the proposed seating area.

south side of the 300 block of Pine St downtown

To be eligible to vend at this location, vendors must:

  • Use a food truck that allows for vending out of the left-hand side of the truck. No truck-and-trailer combos or food carts will be allowed to operate at this location.
  • Have all required documentation in place prior to application. This includes having a City of Seattle business license, King County Public Health permits, and proof of insurance.
  • Submit a $209 review fee. Other curb-space-vending-specific review fees will also apply.

Note that applicants do not need to provide a site plan to vend in the new park, and the Downtown Seattle Association has already established a universal restroom agreement under which all vendors at this location may operate.

Interested in applying to vend at this new location? Visit our new vending permits page to download an application. The deadline for this round of applications is November 23, 2017.

If you have any questions about this site, or vending in general, please contact us at publicspace@seattle.gov.

Program Goals

The street vending program seeks to:

  • Increase the vibrancy of our streets, sidewalks, and public spaces
  • Support local business development and entrepreneurs
  • Ensure safety and mobility of the traveling public

Apply for a Permit

Vending in public spaces requires more than just a Street Use permit. If you are new to vending in Seattle, you may find it helpful to review our Vending in Public Spaces brochure before applying for your Street Use permit. Please also review our Vending Fee Schedule to learn about fees associated with our vending permits.

Apply for a Vending Permit.

Note: there are also insurance requirements associated with permitting of vending activities. To learn more about these requirements, please see CAM 2102.

Permit resources

The Vendor’s Bulletin is a new SDOT tool to find information about the status of curb space, sidewalk, mobile, and stadium permits. You can use the Vendor’s Bulletin to:

  • View all SDOT-permitted vending sites
  • Locate sites by permit status: accepting applications, approved, active, in comment, permit, expiring soon, renewed, and currently in lottery
  • Search sites by vendor, neighborhood, day of the week, and expiration date

Download the Vendor’s Bulletin. The Vendor’s Bulletin is updated every Monday and Thursday afternoon.

How to use the Vendor’s Bulletin

The Vendor’s Bulletin opens in Microsoft Office Excel. If you do not have Microsoft Office Excel, you can download the free, open-source Calc or email publicspace@seattle.gov to request a PDF version.

Filtering

To filter our search, click on the blue buttons at the top of the bulletin. Permits can be filtered by permit type, neighborhood, permit status, day of the week, and vendor. To clear the filter, click on the red X at the upper right corner of each set of buttons.

For example, to narrow your search by just food vehicle permit types, click on the Food Vehicle button.

For example, to narrow your search by just food vehicle permit types, click on the Food Vehicle button.

To clear the filter, click on the red X at the upper right corner of each set of buttons.

To clear the filter, click on the red X at the upper right corner of each set of buttons.

You may submit written comments concerning Street Use permit applications to SDOT. Please make sure that your comments are postmarked or emailed to SDOT no later than 10 business days after the first day of the public notice period.

Please send your comments by letter or email to:

Seattle Department of Transportation
Attn: Public Space Management Program
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

OR

Email: PublicSpace@seattle.gov

Please include the permit number, your name and contact information, and the specific reason for your comment concerning an application.

After a public notice period has ended, SDOT will make a decision to approve, modify, or deny a Street Use permit application. Any person may request a review or reconsideration of a decision made by SDOT. This written request must be sent to the SDOT Director within 10 calendar days of the date of the SDOT decision (SMC 15.04.112). The request must identify the decision for which review or reconsideration is requested, grounds for objecting to the decision based on City standards, and the specific remedy being proposed. The Director will designate a review officer who will make a recommendation to the Director. The Director may, at his or her discretion, stay implementation of a decision pending review or reconsideration. The Director’s decision on review or reconsideration is final.

A request for review or reconsideration should be submitted to:

Director of Transportation Seattle Department of Transportation
700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3800
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

With a copy to:

Division Director Street Use & Urban Forestry
700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2300
PO Box 34996
Seattle, WA 98124-4996

Learn more about sidewalk and plaza street food vendingYou may vend food or flowers from a vending cart on a public sidewalk or plaza. This type of Street Use permit is valid for one year. You will receive your permit based on daytime (6 am – 8 pm) or nighttime (8 pm – 6 am) use.

  • Vending of food or flowers from a vending cart is allowed at a specific site on a public sidewalk or plaza. Only two vending carts on sidewalk are allowed per block face.
  • Vending of food from a food vehicle is allowed at a specific site on a public plaza.

Additional information found in CAM 2501, Sidewalk and Plaza Street-Food Vending.

Curb space food vehicle zone vendingVending food from a food vehicle in a curb space with a valid Street Use vending permit is allowed for specific locations and time periods. Curb space vending may occur from a designated food-vehicle zone or as a temporary curb space activity associated with an event on the adjoining property.

  • Designated Food-Vehicle Zone. You may vend from a curb space that has been signed and designated by SDOT as a Food-Vehicle Zone. Vending is allowed during permitted days and times in 4-hour weekly increments. (For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am – 2 pm). Your permit is valid for one year for daytime (6 am – 8 pm) or nighttime (8 pm – 6 am) use.
    See CAM 2507), Curb Space Food-Vehicle Zone Vending, for additional information.
  • Temporary Curb Space Activity. You may vend from a curb space during an event located on private property or an event occurring in the public place. Your permit is valid for the specific days and hours during the event. You may need additional Street Use permits if the adjoining public sidewalk or street will be closed for the special activity.

See CAM 2510, Temporary Curb Space Vending, for additional information.

Stadium and even vendingStadium and event center vending includes selling goods, things, services, food, or nonalcoholic beverages of any kind from a temporary display table, tent, vending cart, or food vehicle during event days at a specific site in the authorized Stadium Event Vending area.

You may receive your permit on a monthly basis or for a 6-month season (April-September or October-March)

See CAM 2508, Stadium & Event Center Vending, for additional information.

Mobile food vending includes selling flowers, food, and beverages from ice cream trucks, food carts without motors, or other mobile units on public streets, sidewalks and plazas.

Examples of acceptable types of food include:

  • Popcorn
  • Ice cream
  • Cotton candy
  • Slushies
  • Corn on the cob
  • Roasted nuts
  • Ready-to-eat food, such as pretzels, cookies, or donuts
  • Hot beverages, such as coffee or hot apple cider

Most mobile food vending activities in the right of way require permits from the King County Health Department as well as additional permits. However, mobile food vending does not require a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit. Please review this list of health-permit exempt food from the King County Public Health website.

See CAM 2509, Mobile Food Vending, for additional information.

An organization may vend merchandise involving their political, religious, sociological, or ideological message. The vending may be from a specific site designated by SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, or the Seattle Center. For more information about applying for this type of permit, see Director ’s Rule 94-2.