Safe Start Temporary Street Closures

Existing businesses, organizations, and crafters/artists can join together to apply for a temporary street closure permit to provide more space for business activity and pedestrian movement. You do not need to have a brick and mortar store on the block, but we do require you to have a business license to apply.

Before you get started...

We encourage you to schedule pre-application coaching before you apply. We can work with you to understand your proposal and determine if it is possible and, if necessary, offer alternatives. To get started, e-mail us at publicspace@seattle.gov.

What you should know

  • Some streets will be easier and quicker for us to review and approve. Examples include: 
    • Non-arterial streets
    • Streets without bus routes
    • Single block (no intersection closures)
  • Some streets will not be possible to close due to their essential transportation function.
  • Sidewalks must remain open for people to move through the block; only the street can be closed.
  • A 20-foot fire lane must be maintained at all times. This fire lane can have easily movable objects (light tables and chairs), but any large objects, like tents or heavy picnic tables, that cannot be easily moved are not allowed in the 20-foot fire lane.
  • Closures are meant to provide more space for people moving through the area and to add more business activity space. They are not intended to be an event or a public draw. 
  • Closures can be proposed in a variety of configurations, including full closure (entire street segment closed), half closure (parking/travel lanes in one direction closed, while through traffic is allowed in the other direction), etc.
  • Tents, canopies, and heaters may need a separate approval from the Seattle Fire Department.

Interested in closing your street for business operations?

  1. Coordinate with the neighbors and gather support
  2. Jointly determine what space you want to use in the public right-of-way and how you want to use it; you’ll need to describe this to us in your application 
  3. Reach out to us for pre-application coaching: email publicspace@seattle.gov and provide your phone number
  4. Get an email or letter of support from the owner of any impacted driveway
  5. Notify all business owners and property owners/managers in the street closure area of the proposed application. We've created a public notice template to help you with this! The notice will alert your neighbors to contact you or SDOT with their feedback within 5 business days. We'll need evidence that most neighbors support your proposal, so this will help you obtain that. You can document neighbor support using this form.
  6. Apply online!

How to Apply

Use the detailed bullet points directly below to help you complete your online application form:

  • Log in to the Seattle Services Portal. If you’ve never used the Portal before, you’ll need to create a new account first.
  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" 
  • Navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Temporary Activation" record type.
  • Project Name: Important! Please put: "Safe Start Street Closure." This will help us expedite your application.
  • Project and Location Description: Please provide a description of the street closure location (for example: 11th Ave from E Pike St to E Pine St), the days and duration you'd like to close the street, and the ways you want to use the space. Describe structures/objects like fencing, furniture, tents, canopies, heaters, weather protections elements, etc.
  • Use Details: In this section of the application, you’ll need to create one Row for each day of the week you wish to operate in the right of way (for example, if you wish to operate just on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have 3 rows, if every day of the week, you’ll have 7 rows). For each row, follow these instructions in this order for the Safe Starts Temporary Permit:
    • Use Code Description: Select “Street/Sidewalk Activities”
    • Use Code: This will automatically fill in with “3A”
    • Side of Street: Choose “Both Sides” if full-block closure, or preferred side of street if half-closure
    • Mobility Type: Choose “Parking and Travel Lane(s)”
    • Closure Type: Choose “Closed to Public”
    • Use Start Date: Choose the first day you plan to open your temporary activation (the date should be in the future)
    • Duration (Days): Fill in “90” – We will adjust this number based on your approved closure period
    • Day of the Week: You can only choose one day per Use Details row
    • Start Time: Enter the time of day you will begin setting up for service
    • End Time: Enter the time of day after operations have ceased when cleanup is completed
    • Planned Number of Attendees: Leave this blank
    • Expired Date: This will automatically fill in

Ensure your application includes all required documents; these should be uploaded to your application:

  • A list of all participating vendors, including business licenses and information on what goods will be sold. A summary of what you heard from your neighbors; you can use our form
  • An email/letter of support from the neighbors as part of your application, including all owner(s) of impacted driveways and the Business Improvement Association (BIA) if not the applicant
  • A site plan showing the proposed furniture, fencing, tents, and layout for the closure area.
    • Note: One way to prepare a site plan is to use online maps with aerial images. We have an online Traffic Control Base Map that may be useful for you to use to create a base map that you can draw over.
  • Details of tents/canopies/fencing/heaters. Photos, images from websites, or catalog cut sheets are acceptable so long as they are in color.
  • We have an example site plan to help identify some elements we'd like to see on your plan.
  • In Historic Districts, please upload document(s) that show the color and finish of any fencing, furniture, planters, or other features proposed for the street closure area. Photos, images from websites, or catalog cut sheets are acceptable so long as they are in color. Except for the fencing and traffic control materials you will use to define the permitted area, more subdued colors are recommended, such as grey/dark green or similar for any furniture, fence, or posts.
  • If your business is located in a designated historic district, you must receive approval from the historic district before the permit can be issued, but we will send your materials to them directly so you don't need to apply separately.