Signs, Awnings, and Graphics over the Right-of-Way

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.

What is an SDOT Public Space Management (PSM) sign permit? 

We offer a free permit for businesses and property owners to maintain signs, awnings, and graphics on buildings that project beyond the private property line and into the public right-of-way. This is a long-term, annually renewable permit for the occupation of your sign in the public right-of-way. If your sign also needs a Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit to install, we've combined our application process so you only need to apply one time for both SDOT permits. In addition, you need a Sign, Awning, and Canopy Permit from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI). We recommend that you apply to SDCI first and then you can check a box during their application to automatically create an application with us.  

Ready to Apply? 

Check out our Sign Permit Applicant Guide for more details on the application process and requirements.  

How do I get a permit for a sign, awning, or graphic positioned over the right of way?

This permit allows permittees to install signs, awnings, and graphics on buildings that project over the sidewalk.

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:

Signs:

For more information about signage code in Seattle, please see Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 15.12 or SMC 23.55. Please note that the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) also requires you to apply for a Sign Permit.

Awnings:

Awnings only require a Public Space permit if they include a business name or other signs graphics. All awnings hanging over the sidewalk require our Construction Use in the Right-of-Way permit as well as an Awning Permit from SDCI.

Portable Signs:

Portable signs, such as A-frames or sandwich boards, do not require a permit so long as they comply with our standards. 

Placement of Portable Signs in the Right-of-Way Standards

Portable signs may be allowed in the right-of-way if they meet all of our standards listed below:

  • Limit one portable sign per business location
    • Exception: If a business location has an entrance on a second street frontage, e.g. around the corner, a second sign is allowed near that second entrance
  • The portable sign shall be placed:
    • within the frontage of your business
    • next to a building entrance or directly across from an entrance
    • in line with other street amenities (street trees, light poles, parking meters, bike racks, etc.)
  • The portable sign shall:
    • be a minimum of 2 feet high and a maximum of 4 feet high and 30" wide
    • leave a minimum of 5 feet of clear pedestrian pathway (6 feet in the downtown core)
  • The portable sign shall not:
    • Be placed on any corner
    • Obstruct pedestrian mobility
    • Create a hazard (e.g. a tripping hazard)
    • Interfere with traffic visibility
    • Impair access to a public sidewalk, street, driveway, traffic control sign, bus stop, fire hydrant or other type of street amenity
    • Be chained to light poles, trees or other amenities.
    • Include banners, streamers, pennants, flags, wind-animated objects, balloons, or similar movable objects

Related Resources  

For more information about sign code in Seattle, please see Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 15.12 or SMC 23.55