How is seating age-friendly?

Seating allows for passive and active participation in social life.  Seating should be designed at a comfortable height for older adults and children. Older adults may have trouble getting up after sitting.  A height of 17.5"-18.7" from the ground as well as armrests and back rests on the seat are useful for older adults to rest and get up out of a seated position. Smaller seats, or seats that have a sculptural element can be inviting for children and allow for a rest.

Adults sitting on a bench observing a farmer's market

Where should seating be prioritized?

Attractive, durable seats at transit stops, along retail corridors, along trails, and in areas with higher concentrations of older adults can make streets more inviting and comfortable, especially for those who are disabled, or for those accompanied by young children. Ideally, public seating should be available every two blocks.

Seating can also help to mitigate the challenges posed by steep topography on pedestrian routes. On sidewalks with slopes greater than 5% along a block, public seating should be Included as a standard provision to provide rest breaks.

Primary departments invested in seating

  • Seattle Department of Transportation
  • King County Metro
  • Private developers

Estimated cost*


* Cost levels:
$ = Under $100,000
$$ = $100,001-$500,000
$$$ = $500,001-$1,000,000
$$$$= Over $1,000,001


SDOT sidewalk cafes
SDOT Street Furniture and Decorations permits - This annual permit is free as of June 10, 2019 and Liability Insurance is not required
King County Metro Transit Facilities Guidelines (April 2018)


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.