Signal Box Artwork

Permit Counter Temporary Closures

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we closed our public-facing customer service counters on Monday, March 16, 2020. Our counters remain closed until further notice. This includes both the Street Use and the Traffic and Parking permit counters at the Seattle Municipal Tower on floors 23 and 37. We are still processing permit applications.

You can submit applications for all permit types online through the Seattle Services Portal.

Our staff will be available to provide application coaching and assist with issuing permits by phone or e-mail.

How do I get a permit for signal box artwork?

Decorating signal boxes near the intersections in your community can be a great way to engage local artists and make your streets more vibrant.

Step 1 - Talk with your community

Talk with your community members and find local artists who want to work with you. Look for local funding opportunities and work with your community to put together a design for your signal box.

Check out these resources for design guidance and funding:

  • The Neighborhood Matching Fund at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods provides funding opportunities for neighborhood improvement projects 
  • 4Culture provides funding and support for the cultural work that makes King County vibrant
  • Urban Artworks provides opportunities for underserved youth and contemporary artists to create public works of art
  • SEEDArts connects professional artists with developers and community groups to design, fabricate, and install artworks in public spaces

Step 2 - Develop the Design

When developing your design, consider the following:

  • 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. 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.

Step 3 - Create a design

Check out our signal box template available here.

Step 4 - Apply for your free permit

You can apply for this permit on the Seattle Services Portal. Use the button on the right to sign in!

Under "Create New" select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Long Term Use" and "Private Structures/Uses" record type. Follow this guide for more detailed instructions.

Required documents:

  • Site plan (template available here) showing all the signal box location(s). This can be a simple map showing the location of each signal box
  • Proposed design proof. Include the method of installation
  • Historic/Landmark District Certificate of Approval (if in an historic district)

Prior to permit approval: 

  • Visual Artists Rights Act Waiver signed by the artist for each piece of original art (document will be provded to applicant by SDOT during the permit review process).

Step 5 - Install your Signal Box Artwork

Once your permit is approved, you're good to go! Enjoy your beautified public space and share pictures of the project with us at @SeattleDOT on Twitter.