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75 neighborhoods turn boring streets into Play Streets, city renews program pilot

Screenshot from SDOT video (watch below)
Screenshot from SDOT video (watch below)

There is only one space that truly connects every home on a block: The street.

For a generation or two, most streets have been surrendered to the movement and storage of cars. Kids are taught to be afraid of streets and to stay out, as though there were an alligator pit between them and their friend’s house.

Play Streets turn all of that on its head. For absolutely zero dollars, anyone can apply to turn one block of residential street into a city-sanctioned Play Street either as a one-time event or on a regular basis. In the first year, 75 different blocks across the city have taken advantage of the program. That’s pretty impressive considering the program has done very little advertising, relying mostly on word-of-mouth.

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The program has been renewed for another year, SDOT announced this week. So get your neighbors together and transform your street into a playground and community gathering space.

SDOT recently put together this video to help explain what a Play Street is. Could be useful to show your skeptical neighbors:

More details, from SDOT:

Did you have such a good holiday weekend that you feel like dancing in the street? Well you’re in luck. SDOT is very pleased to announce that due to its popularity we are extending our Play Streets pilot program until April 2016! So far, over 75 of your Seattle friends and neighbors have joined the fun and hosted their own Play Street, each offering its own unique flair.

In case you’re not familiar with the program, Play Streets are like mini block parties that open the streets up to local residents for a variety of activities. Hosts of Play Streets obtain a permit from SDOT to temporarily close the street to through traffic with removable barricades for hours defined by the permit. To be approved, any Play Street must meet the following four criteria:


  1. The Play Street should be no more than one block long.
  2. The street should be a non-arterial street (click here to learn your street classification).
  3. There must be clear visibility from each intersection.
  4. The play street must have neighbor support.


Most of the time, Play Streets are developed around the idea of providing more community play space for kids, but adults often get in on the fun too. Some recent Play Street themes have included bicycle courses, street dances, and hopscotch courts. We have even seen people of all ages come together to do yoga in their Play Street!

Are you interested in hosting a Play Street yourself? Visit our Play Streets webpage here, for more information. Ready to apply to host a Play Street? Download the application here. We are currently accepting applications and can’t wait to see all the creative ideas you have for activities on your new Play Street!

Need more ideas for your Play Street? Check out these SDOT videos:

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One response to “75 neighborhoods turn boring streets into Play Streets, city renews program pilot”

  1. Harrison Davignon

    What a fun way to get kids outdoors. For kids who don’t have a yard to play in, this a great alternative. kids these days normally spend way to much time indoors and it seams to unsafe for kids to walk places by themselves because there is so much traffic these days and roads are mostly focused on the automobile, not walking safety. Hopefully this will spark ideas and inspire people to make walking safe for kids, so they can be healthy and free. This will help them form life long healthy habits and make our urban areas safer, healthier and more pleasurable to live for generations to come.

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