AG 1083: Signal Box Artwork

Updated 9/9/2021 

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

I want to learn more about...

Step 1: Talking with my community 
Step 2: Developing the designs
Step 3: Creating a design 
Step 4: Ready to apply?
Step 5: Application Review and Decision
Step 6: Permit Issuance and Inspection
Step 7: Permit Renewal and Maintenance 

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(es). 

Looking for funding? Check out our Public Amenity Permit Page for ideas and links. 


Step 2: Developing the Designs 

When developing your design(s), 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 contain political messages are not allowed. 
  • Words are not allowed except for neighborhood identification or information to name the organization and/or artist.  
  • Images that create a driver distraction or could be confused with traffic signs will not be accepted


Step 3: Creating a design 

Check out our signal box template available here.



Step 4: Ready to Apply?

When you are ready to apply, head to the Seattle Services Portal! Note: if you've never used the Portal before, you'll need to register and set up an account first. See this helpful article or video on how to do this.  

Once you are logged in, follow the steps below:  

  • Under "Create New" select "Permits-Street Use"   
  • Navigate to and select the "Long Term Use" and "Private Structures" record type.    
  • When prompted to input "Use Code Description," choose "Public Amenity."  

Required documents: 

At submittal: 

  • Site plan (template available here) showing all the signal box location(s). You, the applicant, are responsible for picking out the signal box. This can be a simple map showing the location of each signal box   
  • Proposed design proof, including the method of installation (you can use our signal box template if useful!)

Prior to permit approval:  

  • Historic/Landmark District Certificate of Approval (if in an historic district)  
  • Visual Artists Rights Act Waiver signed by the artist for each piece of original art (document will be provided to applicant by SDOT during the permit review process). 


Step 5: Application Review and Decision  

You can check the status of your permit online through the Seattle Service Portal. We will review the application and may contact you either to request additional information or to request corrections.   

After our staff review is complete, we will either approve, approve with modifications, or (in rare cases) deny the application. 



Step 6: Permit Issuance and Inspection:  

Once your permit is issued, it will be uploaded to the Seattle Services Portal. You should review the permit and approved documents. Then you are ready to get out and install! Enjoy your beautified public space and share pictures of the project with us at @SeattleDOT on Twitter.


Step 7: Permit Renewal and Maintenance 

Signal box artwork is a free, long-term, annually renewable permit, so you are expected to maintain the artwork and replace it as needed. 

If there are any changes to the use, you can request corrections through our Seattle Service Portal.   




Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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