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Program Background

Public Space Management Task Force

In early 2013, at the direction of Mayor McGinn and the City Council, SDOT convened the Public Space Management Task Force a 34-person team of City staff, community members, business representatives, planners, and designers to help SDOT identify and prioritize the elements that should be part of a new Public Space Management Program. The intent was to comprehensively address interest by Seattle residents and business in using the public right of way; often, the City was unable to allow or effectively regulate these activities, either because of existing policies, codes, or processes or due to limited resources.


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The task force reviewed current and best practices and guided the development of an implementation strategy for the Public Space Management Program. The strategy includes 23 program areas selected based on program features, potential efficiencies in implementation, and efforts successfully managed by others. These program areas tie into existing policies and programs that support safe and vibrant streets and promote economic vitality, building on the Transportation Action Agenda, the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan, and the Center City Initiative. Each program area is prioritized based on a number of criteria, including the diversity of people served, the partnerships needed to implement the program area, and its level of complexity.

The task force also prioritized the final list of program areas into urgent, important, and stable programs. Members of the task force underscored the value of each program area and focused their decisions on the need for action within the program areas as well as the opportunities to achieve positive outcomes.

Program Mission and Goals

Seattles Public Space Management Program promotes and regulates a vibrant, safe, accessible, and attractive shared right-of-way.

These four goals guide the programs work:

  • ENCOURAGE: Promote the activation of public space
  • IMPLEMENT: Ensure that opportunities to activate the right of way are not missed due to perceived obstacles or implementation hurdles
  • INNOVATE: Identify opportunities for activation
  • REGULATE: Manage our public spaces in a transparent and predictable way
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