AG 1087: Parklets

Overview

We allow organizations and businesses to convert on-street parking spots into a parklet to create an open space for the public to enjoy. This is a free, long-term, annually renewable permit to create small-scale parks that are always available to the public. Parklets create a place for people to sit and gather, activate streets, and provide a buffer between pedestrians and traffic.

Do you want to provide table service or alcohol service? Check out our sidewalk café permits, including fence-free café and streatery (curb space café) options! If you want to place tables and chairs on the sidewalk, check out our free tables and chairs permit.

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Step 1: Find a great location! 

Step 2: Collect the required documents  

Step 3: Apply for the permit  

Step 4: Application review and decision

Step 5: Permit issuance and inspection  

Step 6: Permit renewal and maintenance


Step 1: Find a great location!

The first step to a successful application is to find a great location. When choosing a location for your proposed parklet, consider the following:

  • Who will use the parklet? Patrons of nearby businesses or institutions? Residents?
  • Is there community support for a parklet in this location?
  • Are there any conflicts with existing loading zones, bus zones, and utility infrastructure?
  • Is the site relatively flat? It’s easier to build a parklet on streets with a slope 5% or less.
  • Where on the block works best for the parklet? Be aware that locations near intersections or crosswalks will have height restrictions to make sure drivers and see people walking.

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Step 2: Collect the required documents

Due at submittal:

  • A site plan (11 x 17” preferred) that depicts the proposed parklet. See CAM 2116 for site plan requirements. The site plan must identify:
    • Dimensions of the parklet, including width and length as well as the height of all vertical elements
    • Entrance location to the parklet
    • Proposed installations adjacent to the parklet (e.g., bike racks and wheel stops)
    • Adjacent street fixtures and elements (e.g., trees, tree pits, utility poles, signs, bike racks) with distance from the parklet
    • Adjacent sidewalk (include the sidewalk dimension), bike lane, vehicle travel lane, and property lines
    • Setback dimensions from the nearest crosswalk or intersection
  • An elevation (side-view) drawing of your proposed parklet design, including dimensions, materials, parklet elements, and buffers/setbacks. See CAM 2116 for elevation drawing requirements.
  • A detail drawing that describes construction, materials, attachment methods, and other details on the installation. This should include information on any vegetation or plantings, the parklet surface, railing, other attached elements like built-in seating, and any non-fixed furniture proposed. See CAM 2116 for detail requirements.
  • If the proposal includes a platform under 18 inches, we require stamped plans by a registered professional engineer or licensed architect, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Transportation. If the platform is 18 inches tall or higher at any point, plans will be reviewed by SDCI and do not necessarily need to be stamped (unless required by SDCI during their review). We will route the plans submitted to SDCI internally when their review is required.
  • If the proposal includes an overhead structural component, the drawings and plans must be stamped by a registered professional engineer or licensed architect, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Transportation. The stamp must be accompanied by a statement confirming that the overhead structure conforms to the Seattle Building Code, and other applicable regulations.
  • At least 3 photos showing the proposed parking space(s) that would be converted into a parklet, along with the adjacent street and sidewalk. At minimum, please provide one photo from across the street and one photo from each end of the proposed parklet.
  • A Right-of-Way Impact Plan (ROWIP) when Construction use permits are required (if you are unsure, you don’t need to submit this initially and we can request it if we determine it’s necessary). See CAM 2116 for ROWIP details.
  • A letter of authorization (if applicant is different from the owner or Financially Responsible Party, such as if you are an architect applying on behalf of a business)

Due before permit issuance:

  • If your project location is a designated Landmark or in a historic district, a Certificate of Approval from the Historic Preservation Program is required before we can issue your permit.
  • We may require a bond. If a bond is required, we’ll prepare documents for you during the permit review.
  • We may require an Indemnity Agreement to be recorded against the title of the property associated with the parklet. If this is required, we will prepare the document and provide it to you to record with King County Records.
  • Additional documents may be required based on the specific context of your proposal or site. Your permit reviewer will coordinate with you during the permit review process if this is the case

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Step 3: Apply for the permit

When you are ready to apply, head to the Seattle Services Portal!

Note: If you've never used the Portal before, you'll need to register and set up an account first. See this helpful article or video on how to do this.

Once you are logged in, follow the steps below:

  • Under "Create New" select "Permits-Street Use"
  • Navigate to and select the "Long Term Use" and "Private Structures" record type.
  • When prompted to input “Use Code Description,” choose “Public Amenity.”

When describing your project, please include:

  • The exact location of the proposed parklet, such as the address of the closest business and/or the parking space numbers
  • The number of parking spaces requested

Make sure to upload all the required documents due at submittal listed in Step 2 above!

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Step 4: Application review and decision

  • You can check the status of your permit online through the Seattle Service Portal. We will review the application and may contact you either to request additional information or to request corrections.
  • During the permit review process, there is a required public notice period. We will send you a public notice form that you must post in a location where it is highly visible from the sidewalk next to the permittee’s building/near the parklet’s proposed location. This form must be posted for a 10-business-day public comment period. We will also post the notice online at our Public Comment page. During the notice period, any interested person may submit written comments on the project to SDOT. These comments will be considered during our review.
  • It’s important to note that while the Public Space Management parklet permit is free, if your installation requires a Street Use Right-of-Way Construction (SUCONST)permit, there will be permit fees associated that permit due before issuance.
  • Our permit review will include review for construction impacts during installation of the parklet. If a SUCONST permit is required, we’ll ask you to upload the documents needed to proceed with that permit review and create the permit application in the Seattle Services Portal for you. If your project is approved, both SDOT permits will be ready to be issued at the same time.
  • After the public notice period and staff review are complete, we will either approve, approve with modifications, or (in rare cases) deny the application.

Request for Review or Reconsideration. Anyone can request a review or reconsideration of a permit decision. A request for review or reconsideration may be made to the SDOT Director. See information at the bottom of the Public Comment page for more details, including the email and mailing address for requests.

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Step 5: Permit issuance and inspection

Once your permit is issued, it will be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit, conditions of use, and approved documents carefully. Before you install, you’ll need to apply for Temporary No Parking permits. For both non-paid and paid parking spaces, you'll need to apply online via the same Seattle Services Portal you use for our application. You'll apply for the "Temporary No Parking Zone."

When you are applying, there's a General Information section and you can select a "reason" for your application. Select "other" and write "Parklet Permit" to help identify your request. 

The public notice generated will need to be posted to No Parking barricades (T-39 signs) that you could purchase or rent from a barricade company. We recommend placing the barricades up 72 hours before you plan to set up, but they must be up at least 24 hours ahead to be enforceable.

Inspections may occur to ensure installation meets our approved permit and plan. While there are no costs for the Public Space Management permit, including any inspections we conduct, if you require a SUCONST to install your parklet, inspections for that permit will be billed to the permittee.

While we don’t ask for a copy as part of our review, make sure you hold the required insurance as found in CAM 2102.

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Step 6: Permit renewal and maintenance

This is a free, long-term, annually renewable permit. If there are any changes you would like to make, you can submit a revision through the Seattle Services Portal. Permittees are responsible for maintaining their permitted uses. All uses of public right-of-way may be subject to inspection.

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