Play Street permits now available throughout Seattle

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has resumed issuing free Play Street permits for Seattle city streets.

The Play Street permits have been on hold for the past year, with Stay Healthy Block permits taking their place. Now, the Stay Healthy Block program has been discontinued, with Play Streets taking their place.

The Play Street permit allows residents and community organizers to open streets for the neighborhood to walk or exercise. Play streets can be hosted on a recurring basis for up to three days a week for a maximum of 12 hours per week. Only non-arterials will be considered for permits.

The permits are completely free, but must fall under these guidelines (from SDOT):

  • No greater than one block long and does not include an intersection
  • On a non-arterial street. You can find your street type here:
    • If there is no line—dotted or solid—running along the middle of the street, it is most likely a non-arterial street.
    • The map linked above shows non-arterials as grey and arterials in other colors
  • Not on a street that buses run on or an emergency vehicle route
  • Planned to occur between 9:00 AM – and dusk (or until 9:00 PM if dusk is later than that), including setup/cleanup.

SDOT says that any play equipment put in place for play streets must be easy to clean up and move aside in case emergency access is required. Keep in mind that vendors, food trucks, temporary stages, bouncy houses, or other structures are not allowed under the Play Street permit.

For the safety of everyone, the Play Streets operate between 9 a.m. to dusk, while following the Public Health Seattle-King County guidelines which include wearing a mask and keeping social distance. 

“Our communities have enjoyed the health benefits of socializing and exercising in the increased open space the Stay Healthy Street Program has given us. With spring just around the corner, we want neighbors to use the Play Street Program to continue to exercise and get together in ways that are safe, by masking up and maintaining social distance.” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

SDOT is in the process of installing 20 miles of permanent Stay Healthy Streets. If requested, SDOT will pilot Stay Healthy Streets in underserved communities. The goal for SDOT is to open up more space for people instead of cars, to improve the community and individual health of the neighborhood.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to being nimble and developing responsive programs to meet the needs of Seattle residents and evaluating their success,” Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation said. “After completing our review of the Stay Healthy Blocks permit and King County shifting to Phase 2 on the Roadmap to Recovery, it was clear we could meet our goal of expanding access to open space for recreation and physical activity with the existing Play Street permit.”

Residents and community organizers may apply for the free Play Street permit online

Photo: SDOT

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