Do you want to increase the visibility of your organization and events? Consider using street pole banners as a marketing tool to advertise your public event. For civic or historical organizations, using banners can be a great way to promote cultural assets, local business districts, history and a sense of place.
Street Use Permits are required to place banners on City Utility poles. This site provides you with the resources you’ll need to choose locations for your banners and to obtain the permits you’ll need from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Street Use Division.
There are two types of pole banners: Event Banners (permit 52 A) and Identification Banners (permit 52 B). Determine which type of banner best suits your needs.
Event Banners for Seattle-based events have priority installation over Event Banners for events taking place outside city limits.
For examples of other styles of Event and Identification banners, check out the Image Gallery.
All banners must:
Banners may not be used as an advertising medium for specific products and services.
Banner designs must be submitted to SDOT Street Use Division at least 2 weeks prior to the proposed installation date.
The standard banner size is 30 inches horizontal by 60 inches vertical. Applicants that would like to install banners outside of these dimensions must request an exception to the rules, from the SDOT Street Use Division, when submitting the permit application.
More detailed information about how the size of your banner installation is affected by the pole’s characteristics can be found at Banner Height and Installation Specifications.
Organizations or events may have relationships with commercial entities that they display on banners. Sponsorship and corporate logo recognition(s) within a banner design must be no greater than 20% of the overall banner area.
The font of the sponsorship shall not be larger than the font of the event name.
Effective banner designs:
See the Image Gallery for other examples of acceptable designs.
The production and installation of banners is the responsibility of the organization seeking to install the banner. There are companies available for hire who can help you through the permitting process as well as produce and install your banners. If you decide to do it yourself, you must have the proper insurance and permits to conduct the installation.
Traditionally our applicants have found that the production cost for banners varies according to the:
Poles in the Central Business District (CBD) have been pre-approved for banner installation. Poles in other areas need to fit certain guidelines and zoning requirements to be eligible. See completed pole map example.
The utility poles in the CBD, from Denny Street south to the Safeco Field Baseball Stadium and from Interstate 5 to the Puget Sound, have been reviewed for eligibility of banner installation. Poles eligible for installation are marked with PBA (‘Pole Banner Approved’) decals. These decals, 3 inch round and fushia in color, are located on the street side of the pole, just under the street pole number (about 5 feet up from the ground). See example of a PBA pole in the photo to the right.
Poles in the CBD without the PBA sticker are not pre-approved and may not be used. An applicant may request the review of the pole’s eligibility if it does not have a PBA sticker and the pole conforms to the pole banner guidelines. Utility poles outside of the CBD are not marked with stickers, but may be allowed for use if they meet specific criteria.
Utility poles outside of the CBD are not marked with the pre-approved PBA decals. Due to this fact, applicants must take the first step in assessing a pole’s eligibility and in creating a map of the poles they would like to use. City staff will then work with you to identify which poles are eligible for use.
Criteria for eligibility:
All poles should have:
No Metro poles or poles with Metro attachments without prior approval from Metro. Metro poles support electrical wires which power Metro’s electric buses.
Applicant must obtain approval from Metro prior to obtaining the SDOT pole banner permit. Metro can be contacted at: Alex Wolak 206-684-1361
Your banner shall not adversely affect visibility of any downstream traffic signals or signs. Any preexisting artwork installed by the City at banner height will make the pole ineligible for banners.
Wood poles are eligible for use if they support street lights only (only one wire attached to pole). The brackets installed on these poles must be permanent and may not be taken down at the end of the banner installation.
For mounting on wood streetlight poles, lag bolts must be used. The lag bolts must be the same diameter or 1/16 - inch less than the bolt hole diameter and shall be stainless steel and be a minimum of 4 inches in length. Once installed on wood streetlight poles, the mounting hardware shall be left in place. The use of clamps or banding on wood poles is not permitted.
Pole height must accommodate banner installation parameters:
Banners that are attached on the curb side of a pole shall be a minimum of:
Banners shall maintain a minimum of 3’ vertical clearance below any luminaries from where the ballasts connect to the poles.
Banners shall not be mounted less than 2’ above an existing sign. Banners shall not interfere with the visibility of traffic signals or signs or identified historic or artistic installations.
Your completed application packet needs to include the following items:
Application requests may not be submitted more than 90 days prior to the proposed installation date. Complete applications may take 10 business days to review.
There are two resources available from the City for specific types of organizations seeking to fund a banner project:
Neighborhood organizations (e.g. community councils, community arts organizations, neighborhood business organizations), may seek funds from the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Neighborhood Matching Fund. DON staff can provide feedback on if your project will meet their granting criteria.
Street Use permit fees are based on the current Street Use Permit Fee Schedule
Identification Banner Permits
Event Banner Permits
Identification Banner Examples
Event Banner Examples
Banners that span across a street are prohibited due to safety considerations.
A permit may be obtained to install seasonal decorations or hanging planters to poles. Requirements are similar to those set for pole banner installations. SDOT will require additional information regarding the attachment detail, electrical hook-ups and/or weight specifications of the decoration. Please contact Annual Permits at the information provided below.
Administration of banner permitting is handled by Seattle Department of Transportation Street Use Division.
Questions about the permitting process can be directed to the Annual Permit Section by telephone at 206-684-5267, or via email at AnnualPermits@seattle.gov.
Applications may be submitted via mail, email, or hand delivery:
Permit counter location: Seattle Municipal Tower, Suite 2300, 700 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104 (The permit counter is open 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Monday-Friday.)