Street Furniture & Decorations

What We Do

Bench in row and signal box artThe addition of street furniture and decorations activates our shared public spaces and creates a more vibrant community. We facilitate public involvement in implementing street improvements such as furniture, planters, bike racks, street murals, and artwork on traffic-signal control boxes.

Specifically, we:

  • Review placement of street furniture and decorations to maximize benefits while minimizing impacts to mobility and ensuring safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists
  • Facilitate the permitting process of adding benches, planters, bike racks, and other street decorations
  • Support community groups interested in installing painted intersections and other street murals
  • Provide technical guidance and review for signal box artwork, in partnership with the Office of Arts & Culture
  • Work with applicants to obtain permits for designs

Program Goals

The street furniture and decorations program seeks to:

  • Ensure safety and mobility of the traveling public
  • Support local business development and commercial district activity
  • Support community group efforts to enhance the identity of their neighborhoods and business districts
  • Beautify our shared streetscapes with work by local artists

Apply for a permit

To encourage interactions with and uses of public space that serve a public benefit, we have recently bundled certain permits to expedite review time and lower permit fees.

Public Space Permit

All installations of street furniture, decorations, and public art require you to submit a public space permit application.

If you have questions regarding the permit process, please email publicspace@seattle.gov or visit us in person at the Street Use permit counter.

Permits and Resources

Please submit your Public Space Permit application along with your site plan and artwork proposal (design proofs) to publicspace@seattle.govFor questions, please email: publicspace@seattle.gov or call 206-684-5267.

The Office of Arts & Culture staff will consider the following when reviewing proposed designs:

signal box art

  • Artwork should have a consistency of style and medium to create a unified aesthetic between signal boxes. Think of them as a series, rather than individual pieces of art.
  • Designs for the boxes contribute to the visual quality of the streetscape. For example, consider using a limited palette of colors and simple graphic images to avoid visual clutter.
  • If original artwork is being created, a lead artist/designer should be responsible for designing the images.
  • Artwork should contribute some kind of public benefit. Community support for the designs is a must.
  • Images that convey messages appearing to advertise or promote a private entity (corporation, neighborhood business, chamber of commerce, or other community organization) will not be accepted.
  • Images that create a driver distraction or could be confused with traffic signs will not be accepted.
  • Arts representatives will review locations to determine proximity to artwork in the public art collection.

Additional information on permitting signal box artwork is available in Client Assistance Memo 2505.

If you are ready to start planning your design, you may find our signal box artwork design template helpful.

street murals Street murals, such as painted intersections, help add color and express a neighborhood's unique identity on residential streets, while also promoting community building. Although street murals are not considered traffic calming devices, they can have an indirect impact on traffic speeds by encouraging drivers to be respectful of neighbors who live in the area. 

Street murals are completely community-driven, community-designed projects. Funding is available through the Department of Neighborhood's Neighborhood Matching Fund Program.

If you are interested in painting a street mural in your neighborhood,  Client Assistance Memo 2506 provides all the information you need to know for your project.

Non-City Design Guidance and Art Resources

Museum of History & Industry

Visit the Museum of History & Industry's historical photo collections. You may search more than 4,000 King County images and 8,000 additional images from museums and libraries around King County. Make sure to read and follow the photographic reproduction policy prior to using images.

ArtWorks

Empower young people with professional opportunities in the arts. Consider partnering with ArtWorks to create art for traffic signal boxes.

SEEDArts

Public Art Urban Space Enterprise (PAUSE) is a public art service that works with non-profit and commercial developers, community groups, and government agencies. PAUSE partners these stakeholders with professional artists for consulting, design, fabrication, and installation services.

4Culture

4Culture helps manage public art projects and have staff available for consultation.

City Resources

Director's Rule for Review of Visual Artwork

Seattle Department of Transportation

For artwork proposal approval and signal box location submittals, please email signalbox.artwork@seattle.gov or call 206-684-0570. For artwork proposal approval and permit guidelines, please contact our Street Use Public Space Management Program at 206-684-5267 or at PublicSpace@seattle.gov.

Department of Neighborhoods

The Neighborhood Matching Fund Program provides funding opportunities for neighborhood improvement projects. To learn more about this program, please call 206-233-0093 or email NMFund@seattle.gov.

Office of Economic Development

The Office of Economic Development (OED) promotes access to economic opportunities for all of Seattle's diverse communities. To contact the OED, please call 206-684-8090 or email OED@seattle.gov.

Seattle Office of Arts & Culture

Art & Enhancements Project Manager Kristen Ramirez works between the Office of Arts and Culture and SDOT to manage public art projects and activate our streets with art. She may be reached at 206-615-1095 or at kristen.ramirez@seattle.gov.

Seattle Municipal Archives (for historic photos)