Is the new ROWORR important? You bet your assets

How long do contractors have to wait before digging into new pavement? If crews are working on a brick street, must they restore the work area with bricks when they’re done, or can they use another street material?

These questions and more, were answered in a series of public workshops on SDOT’s new Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule, or ROWORR. The new rule is already doing its job to help protect shared public assets. How? We’re glad you asked.

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The ROWORR, adopted on January 1, updates the requirements that construction-related permit holders must meet when restoring openings on public property. Nearly 200 people attended three workshops aimed at helping contractors, utilities, construction firms, women and minority businesses, partner agencies and others, to better understand and meet the requirements of the new rule.

At each workshop, our staff answered questions about everything from temporary patches to full sidewalk restoration. Many more people who could not attend the workshops received direct on-site presentations for their employees.


No, not that kind of roar – it’s ROWORR! Photo courtesy bhavik Thaker.

Updates include new requirements for pavement restoration timing and methods, as well as improved outlining of ADA accessibility requirements. With proper coordination and planning, these updates can help contractors, utilities, developers, and the public all save time and money.

Questions about the ROWORR? Check out our workshop presentation, email us at or give us a call at 206-684-5253.

We’re here to protect your public assets!

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We got snow! Here’s what we did

In preparation for the Snow event on Monday February 6, we put our response crews on 12-hour shifts, that began on Sunday evening. Our trucks started treating streets and elevated structures. By the time you woke up on Monday to find out kids had a snow day, here’s what SDOT crews had already done.

Snow 2-7-17

Early morning Monday:

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Pine Street

  • Mayor Murray visited SDOT Charles Street Maintenance facility to chat with local media and Maintenance Division Director Rodney Maxie about our Winter response.
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Mayor Ed Murray and SDOT Maintenance Operations Division Director Rodney Maxie with media.

  • Crews treated elevated structures and overpasses with salt.
  • SDOT hand crews treated pedestrian routes.
  • Our Incident Response Teams responded to traffic incidents.
  • SDOT tree crews cleared downed trees and branches obstructing streets, such as W Mercer Place.
Tree down

Tree down at W Mercer Place east of Elliot Ave

By Midday:

  • SDOT crews continued to patrolling snow and ice routes, plowing and treating as needed.
  • SDOT tree crews continue to respond to downed trees in the right of way.
  • We replenished our materials in preparation for the evening.


  • Gold & Emerald routes were mostly bare and wet going into the PM commute.
  • Protected Bike Lanes were also clear.

Monday overnight into Tuesday:

  • 30 trucks worked overnight treating the Gold and Emerald priority routes for the Tuesday morning commute.

Good job team! Safe Travels Everyone!

Check out our Winter Weather Home page that has lots of useful information that can help you prepare before snow falls next time.

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In government, we have a lot of acronyms, but they are helpful because we use them to talk more efficiently about long-titled policies. Right up there with the longest acronyms is the new ROWORR, the Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule. This new rule replaces the Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (PORR) and applies to work that digs into public right-of-way property, which is more than just pavement.

Included in the ROWORR:

  • Changes to the final restoration timeframes
  • Clearer ADA guidance
  • Restoration requirements for Green Stormwater Infrastructure
  • Changes to pavement restoration requirements

SU - ROWORR workshop 1The ROWORR helps protect the city assets we all share. To help keep people moving, we’ve been holding workshops with contractors, utility organizations, construction firms, women and minority businesses, partner agencies, and others.

Questions that came up:

  • Do we have to replace the sidewalk on every frontage? Yes, if it’s within the curb radius; Within a 25’ radius on arterials, all curb ramps must be brought to code.
  • How long can a temporary patch remain? Five years, if it’s up to specifications
  • Do small patches trigger a panel replacement? If a necessary patch is within 5 feet of another one, the full panel must be replaced.
  • Is there a minimum cut to avoid panel replacement? No. However, if the cut is on a ‘failed’ street, the replacement can be done in asphalt.

If any of this sounds like it relates to work you do, email us to learn more. Or visit the new ROWORR web page for details.

Thanks for working together to keep Seattle vibrant!

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Street Use Permits Permit Changes

SDOT’s Street Use team reviews, issues, and inspects up to 35,000 permitted right-of-way uses each year, and continues to improve services with updates to regulations, fees, and hours.

PORR to ROWORR and More 2017 Street Use Changes

The Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (PORR), is now the Right-Of-Way Opening and Restoration Rule (ROWORR). The change expands the scope of the rule beyond street pavement to public right-of-way areas. The updated regulations and requirements include:utilsblocksidewalk

  • Increasing the pavement opening moratorium from 3 to 5 years
  • A sliding scale for restoration requirements, based around the street’s condition
  • More guidance on ADA accessibility ROW requirements, including ADA-compliant curb ramps
  • A wider scope that better includes Green Storm Infrastructure
  • Shorter timeframes for permanent restoration projects
  • Making it more cost-effective for groups to coordinate projects, while increasing costs for groups that fail to coordinate

For additional details on the upcoming changes for ROWORR, please reference the Right-of-Way Opening and Restoration Manual, available in PDF form at:

New Fee Structure

Our hourly review and inspection rate fee is now $209, up from $196.  However, some fee decreases are also now in effect, for 2017. feeschedulefactsheetFor example, occupancy fees for installing or removing public art are now $138, down from $146. Miscellaneous private temporary right-of-way use is decreasing to $146, from $305. And, for street and alley paving under 750 sq. ft. we are eliminating use fees including transit-related infrastructure, but not utility installation.

For more details on these changes, please contact Street Use Operations Manager Liz Sheldon at or read our 2017 Fee Schedule Fact Sheet.


New Counter Hours


Starting in 2017, permit services hours are:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8 AM to 5 PM
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 AM to 5 PM

The change comes after reviewing our customers’ needs and priorities. An increasingly high number of permit applicants submit their applications electronically, which requires a higher number of our permit reviewers to be behind a computer. By adjusting our hours, we can expand our team’s capacity to process permits.

The new hours also align with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections’ (SDCI) permit counter service hours; the change helps streamline permit processing for larger projects involving both departments.

Happy New Year!



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Collaboration to Improve Private Development Review

SDOT’s Street Use Division manages the City’s rights of way (ROW), regulating activities that impact safety, mobility and the environment. In these last few years of unprecedented growth, we’ve taken a more holistic approach to right-of-way management.

So, what if we took this idea even further, before conflicts exist? Coming in at the early design stage, we could reduce impact challenges for communities and planners. Enter the innovative Development Review Program. This new program starts with enhanced SDOT engagement during the early stages of private development projects. The chart below shows our previous practice versus SDOT’s new enhanced role. The improved coordination will help make private development review more thorough and efficient.ed-mup-edit

The program is in partnership with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) with SDOT increasing its engagement on development projects through the Master Use Permit (MUP) process. The MUP is a single permit that integrates all process, procedure, and review elements—and through this new collaborative City effort, will help ensure positive results. Development Review Program goals include:

  • Aligning private development with city priorities and multimodal operations
  • Providing high quality customer service with consistent information to the public and direction to developers
  • Identifying opportunities to better leverage private development for city transportation system improvements

Working together with the development community to design the city keeps it connected and vibrant— a better outcome for all!

If you’re interested in learning more about the effort, contact Sara Zora at

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Pike People Street Update

Last month’s “Hilloween” edition of our Pike People Street pilot program was a big hit – and the fun is set to continue on December 8 with our final pilot of the year! Pike People Street is a new pilot program in which certain sections of Pike Street on Capitol Hill are temporarily closed to vehicles and instead opened to pedestrians and various forms of entertainment (like last month’s trick-or-treaters!)

pikepeople1The most recent Pike People Street event was on October 29 and integrated many of the Capitol Hill “Hilloween” celebration’s festivities: musicians, temporary café seating, inflatable street furniture, and games! Giving pedestrians a bit of extra space to enjoy Halloween went off without a hitch!


The final Pike People Street pilot of the year is scheduled for December 8 from 4 to 10 PM as part of the December Capitol Hill Art Walk festivities! The street will be opened to pedestrians on Pike St between 10th Ave and 11th Ave, and on 11th Ave between Pine St and Pike St. Discover local artists at the Art Walk, kick back and relax, and enjoy Pike Street in a whole new way!


Questions about Pike People Street Project? Please contact Or you can visit our Facebook page for updates on future Pike People Street events.

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Rainier Vista Creates a New Space!

Meaningful space for neighborhoods to share is an important part of community building. SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program works toward that end, facilitating possibilities like using underutilized right of way for new gathering places. The latest effort came last week in the Rainier Vista neighborhood, with the grand opening of a new Pavement to Parks project.


Colorful new park space at Rainier Vista!

The project repurposes part of S Genesee St between 29th Avenue S and Jill Place S for an expanded park space, including planters, seating, turf mounds, and a street mural–designed by local youth involved in an arts program through Horn of Africa Services. The project was community-driven and community-designed. Built under SDOT’s Adaptive Streets Program, the project uses low-cost, adaptable materials to test a public space on the street before permanent changes take place.

Here’s a video from our friends at Seattle Channel:

The site was selected for improvements based on neighborhood requests and a very engaged and highly diverse Rainier Vista community joined together to create the project.


SDOT Director Kubly and Mayor Murray at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For the November 3 ribbon-cutting event, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) Rainier Vista community was joined by Mayor Ed Murray, SHA Director Andrew Lofton, an SHA youth community leader, and SDOT Director Scott Kubly to celebrate the amazing work of so many.

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Creating Safe, Sustainable, and People-friendly alleys

Alleys are an important part of Seattle history, from the narrow walkways weaving through Pioneer Square to the public stairways climbing our many hills.


View along Post Alley in the Market

Far more than just shortcuts, these paths have potential to become storefronts, celebrations, or play areas, and our Public Space Management team is here to help!

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

This U-District proposal called for adding lights, a bike rack, and other improvements to turn this alley off 42nd into a common space for the community.

We’re supporting community led efforts throughout the city to re-claim, re-purpose, and beautify our alleys. This means improvements to lighting, creative art installations, shared seating, re-paving to better handle rainwater, and more.

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Construction Hub Coordination in Action

When multiple construction projects are working close to one another, our Construction Hub Coordination Team steps in to minimize their collective impact on mobility. Just this week, we brought contractors together to keep pedestrian access open along Dexter Ave.


Looking southwest along Dexter

While completing work that makes the sidewalk next to their site too dangerous for pedestrians, Mill Creek Residential has temporarily closed the sidewalk on the west side of Dexter. During this closure, a pedestrian detour has been provided on the opposite side of the street. But when BNBuilders, working on the east side of the street, also reached a point in their project where they needed to close the sidewalk, our Hub team stepped in to help the two projects coordinate. Recognizing that closing the sidewalk on both sides of the street was not an option, the project teams met onsite with our Hub coordinator to find an agreeable solution. In the end, Mill Creek agreed to adapt the right of way on their side of the street to accommodate a pedestrian path, while BNBuilders funded the installation of barriers to protect pedestrians walking the new route.

By working together, SDOT and the construction project teams were able to maintain uninterrupted pedestrian access on Dexter, while also keeping both projects on schedule. This is just one example of how our Hub Coordination Team works to keep the public moving, makes it easy for contractors to be good neighbors, and provides for public safety.

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The First 2016 Pike People Street Pilot!

The first 2016 Pike People Street pilot Friday, October 7, drew steady crowds during its run from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. The test pilot gave people extra room to walk around, relax and connect. The rain tent strung with lights was popular for folks to hang out or eat.


Car-free Pike Street last Friday, October 7.

The pilot event builds on our study from last year, identifying who frequents this busy area, why they’re visiting, and how they’re getting there. We’re also continuing to track the number of pedestrians; note effects on parking and traffic; and survey people taking part.


People taking our survey – thank you!

Friday night 84 people answered survey questions—mostly positive comments. Thank you for participating! Keep an eye out for our next pilot events!


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