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Seattles Shoreline Street Ends Program

Last updated February 3, 2016

Program overview

Lake Washington, Lake Union, Puget Sound, and other waterways offer Seattle residents more than 200 miles of magnificent shoreline.  While much of it is private or park land, 149 public streets in Seattle end on waterfronts.  These "shoreline street ends" are precious community assets designated by the City of Seattle (City Resolution 29370, adopted in September 1996, followed by Ordinance 119673 in 1999) as special rights-of-way that should be preserved and improved for public use.  View map of shoreline street ends.

Though some street ends have been improved for public use, nearly two-thirds are unmarked, overgrown, or have private encroachments. Partnering with local residents and community groups, SDOT intends to improve these hidden spots so as to provide the public with increased waterfront access and enjoyment.

Guided by the policy that public access allows the highest and best use of these sites, SDOT's Shoreline Street Ends Program manages the process for improving a shoreline street end and, in some cases, permitting of private uses.  SDOT Director's Rule #00-1 lays out city guidelines for this program.

2014-2016 Street Ends Project

SDOT selected the following street end sites in 2014 for improvement. 2 projects--S Willow Street and 51st Ave NE--were completed at the beginning of 2015. Additionally, SDOT collaborated with the community to complete two partnership projects—11th Ave NW and 28th Ave NW (see below for more information).

SDOT will focus on improvements at E Allison Street and S Warsaw Street over the next year.  At the end of 2015 SDOT will assess the priorities for improvements in 2016.   

In partnership with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, SDOT hired an artist to design new signage, site amenities, and art installations at a number of sites.  More information about the scope of his work and his background can be found here.


Improved beach access was the focus of site improvements at S. Willow Street.  Boulder steps were added to connect the seating area with the beach. Mulch was added to the access path and view point, shrubs and trees were planted, and the existing stairs and bench were repaired.


Site improvements included a gathering space with a picnic table, new landscaping, and timber steps to the water.

11th Avenue NW Street End Project

This project was successfully completed in June 2015 as a partnership project with the University of Washington.  A landscape architecture studio, comprised of 25 undergraduate and graduate students, designed and constructed public access and habitat improvements over the span of two quarters (from January 5th – June 5th).   

28th Avenue NW Street End Project

This project was completed in early 2015.  SDOT partnered with Sea and Shore Construction to develop the site improvements. 

Seattle Shoreline Street Ends Work Plan

In 2008, SDOT conducted an extensive review of its Shoreline Street Ends Program and, in consultation with Friends of Street Ends (FOSE), drafted a work plan to help SDOT achieve the following goals:

  • Improve shoreline access and enjoyment
  • Protect views & enhance shoreline habitat
  • Encourage community stewardship
  • Support maritime industry
  • Manage private permits

View the Shoreline Street Ends Program fact sheet

Take Action & Get Involved

Street end improvements cannot be realized without your help. To find out how you can get involved, please contact:

Diane Walsh at or 206-386-4575


Brian Henry, Manager of the Public Space Management Program at or 206-684-5146

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