Street Sweeping

Street sweeping during the COVID-19 response

The City's street sweeping program is an essential function that maintains and reduces hazards in arterial roadways. We are operating at reduced service levels during the COVID-19 response. Thank you for your understanding.

Street Sweeper

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are regularly sweeping over 90% of Seattle’s arterial streets. City crews sweep 32 night routes and 7 day routes throughout the year, with 3 additional routes swept during leaf season.

Sweep Map

  1. Enter your address on the Street Sweeping Route Map
  2. Write down the route numbers and next scheduled sweeping dates near the address.
  3. If you can, move your car to an alternate street before your scheduled day.

Note: Scheduled sweeping days and locations may vary due to labor and equipment resources, emergency clean up needs, and weather conditions.

Benefits of Street Sweeping

Support Clean Waterways: Pollutants build up on streets and wash into local waterways when it rains, and sweeping removes some of this debris before it is washed down the drain. Annually, around 330,000 pounds of pollutants are prevented from potentially entering our local waterways.

Keep neighborhoods healthy and clean: Sweeping removes trash and city grit for a more appealing place to live, work, and visit. Seattle sweeps over 26,000 miles of street every year to facilitate this.

Keep Seattle moving and safe: Sweeping improves car and bike lane safety and reduces flooding by clearing stormwater inlets

Pile of Leaves

Street Sweeping FAQs

How will I know when my street will be swept?

Use the street sweeping map to identify the next time a sweeper comes near your home or work.

Several factors may result in delays or temporary sweeping schedule changes, and there is a chance that your route may be missed. We apologize for any inconveniences for altered schedules. Factors potentially include:

  • Emergency environmental spill cleanup
  • Adverse weather conditions like snow and ice or heavy wind storms
  • Heavy leaf fall in the autumn
  • Holidays and parades
  • Employee emergencies - unexpected absences due to illness or family emergencies
  • Equipment down for maintenance or repair

Why isn’t the City using parking enforcement to move cars for street sweeping?

Seattle does not currently plan to implement parking enforcement for street sweeping. We considered several factors in this decision, including:

  • We prefer car owners voluntarily move their cars during scheduled sweeping events
  • Parking enforcement signs are expensive, and we do not want to invest in them until we are confident the routes will not change. Sweeping routes are still being modified to be more effective or to address specific needs.
  • Parking enforcement is not needed everywhere. On many arterials there are few cars parked at night, so sweepers have access to the curb.
  • There are Race & Social Justice issues around parking enforcement
    • More affluent neighborhoods tend to have off-street parking, so residents living in these areas won’t be inconvenienced of moving their car, and would not have a safety risk of walking to/from their car parked on an alternate street at night.
    • Parking enforcement fines have a greater impact on less affluent residents.

Where do the pollutants come from that are removed during street sweeping?

Pollutants on the street may come from engine exhaust and vehicle wear, the air, or from adjacent properties. These pollutants include:

  • Metals, like copper from brake pads, zinc from tires, and nickel and chromium from engine wear. These metals are harmful to fish, even in very low concentrations.
  • Organic compounds like poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from exhaust. PAHs are persistent, cancer-causing and accumulate in the sediment, causing long-term impacts.
  • Nutrients can be a problem, too. Vegetation and leaf drop that accumulates on the street may wash into waterbodies. The nutrients stimulate excessive algae growth which depletes oxygen when it decomposes, harming fish, and other aquatic life.

For additional Street Service requests or questions:

Please visit the SDOT Street Maintenance website