Shoreline Street Ends Program

Shoreline Street Ends Program

Shoreline street ends are City Council designated areas for public access and occur where streets meet a shore. Our program collaborates with community partners on maintaining and improving shoreline street ends for public use.  

Goals

Our goals are to:

  • Equitably improve and maintain shoreline access and enjoyment across a broad spectrum of Seattle's neighborhoods
  • Enhance shoreline habitat by including, where possible, ecological benefits such as native plantings and green stormwater treatment
  • Build partnerships and encourage stewardship through an extensive network of community partners
  • Support the maritime industry
  • Raise neighborhood awareness of shoreline street ends Explore new opportunities to leverage resources

A paved Shoreline Street End

E Allison Street in Eastlake 

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Background

In 1889, Washington became the 42nd state and was given ownership of its lands, including more than 3,000 miles of shoreline. To generate revenue for the newly- formed state, the legislature authorized the sale of public tidelands. An estimated 60% of all tidelands had been sold into private ownership by the time the State overturned its decision in 1971. As a result, public shorelands in Seattle are precious assets to be protected and enhanced.

Seattle has several parks adjacent to the water, but there are significant gaps in waterfront parkland. In the early 1990s, community groups began embracing the opportunity to increase public shoreline access in Seattle by improving the spaces where streets, the public right of way, are platted into the water. In 1996, City Council approved Resolution 29370 designating shoreline street ends for "public uses and enjoyment." The resolution was followed by Ordinance 119673 that codified special permit fees to discourage private uses of shoreline street ends, directing the revenue produced toward the maintenance and improvement of shoreline street ends.

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Project Sites Map

Use our interactive map to find your local shoreline street ends or to explore beaches across the city.

Funding

This program is funded solely by permits for private uses of shoreline street end sites. The revenue generated is directed back to program sites for program management, site maintenance, and for improvements to public access and habitat.

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Permit for Private Use

A shoreline street end permit allows for the long-term private use of a designated shoreline street end by adjacent property owners. For more information, refer to the Permitted Private Uses section of the SDOT Director's Rule 12-2015.

Details for how to apply for a shoreline street end permit can be found on our Public Space Permits page. Refer to the SDOT Street Use Permit Fee Schedule for fee calculation information.

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Community Projects

Community organizations or groups may request permission to have work parties or to open street end for public use. To get started, contact our SSE Program Coordinator at publicspace@seattle.gov.

Friends of Street Ends is a volunteer-led group that advocates for public shore access throughout the city. They have led several street end public access projects and lead cleanup parties throughout the year.

Group working on a Shoreline Street End

E Prospect St Habitat Restoration Volunteers

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Materials

Use our interactive map to find your local shoreline street ends or to explore sites across the city.

For a quick summary of the program, download our factsheet in English or Spanish.

For in-depth details about the program, download our 2017 Work Plan Update.Program summary video recording of a presentation given to Seattle City Council's Sustainability and Transpiration Committee in 2019. The presentation begins at 47:47.

SDOT Director's Rule 12-2015 is the document that sets the official rules and guidelines for the program and permits.

City Council Resolution 29370 designated shoreline street ends for "public uses and enjoyment."

Seattle Municipal Codes:

  • SMC 11.16.125 (D): Gives the Director of Transportation the authority to close or authorize the closure during hours of darkness of any shoreline street end.
  • SMC 15.02.046 (N): Shoreline street end definition.

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Related Programs

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