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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Design Guidelines 2014

As a means to improve the design quality for the next round of Portland Street Seats, in 2014 Street Seat applications will be competing for a maximum of ten (10) new locations in Portland.  Quality of design and availability of public seating will be two of the prioritized evaluation criteria.  

A list of design/architecture firms that have identified themselves as capable of designing and/or installing Street Seat style platforms are listed on the program website here

Design Evaluation

The following evaluation criteria will be used to evaluate the design submissions and award approvals:

  • Design quality.  What is the level of quality and creativity of the design?
  • Public seating.  Proposals that are designed to encourage public use of the space and/or choose to not extend an outdoor café seating permit will be prioritized. 
  • Streetscape enhancement.  How will the proposal enhance the aesthetic quality of the streetscape?
  • Quality of materials.  What is the quality and durability of proposed materials and furniture?
  • Appropriateness of location.  Is the proposed Street Seat likely to be well used and active?
  • Community support.   Demonstrated neighborhood support for proposal at the proposed location (including neighboring businesses and properties)

General Guidelines

  • Design for easy removal. The Street Seat platform will sit on top of the existing street surface.  Because Street Seats may sit on top of critical infrastructure and utilities such as gas lines, sewer and water mains, they need to be designed for easy removal in case of an emergency.  Some applicants will elect to remove the platform during colder months.
  • No advertising.  Logos, advertising, or other branding is prohibited.  A small unobtrusive plaque recognizing project sponsors and material donors may be acceptable.
  • Be creative. Think outside the standard tables and chairs on a platform.

Location Criteria

  • At this time Street Seat applications from the downtown core (from Burnside to SW Harrison, SW 10th to SW 2nd) are not be permitted. 
  • Street Seats are not permitted on streets where parking lanes become tow away zones during morning or afternoon hours, in front of fire hydrants, in active bus zones, across driveways, or over manholes or public utility valves or covers.
  • The proposed site should be located at least one parking spot in from a corner or a protected bollard, sidewalk bulb‐out, or other similar feature must be present if located at the corner.
  • The proposed site should be located on a street with a speed limit of 25 MPH or less. Locations on streets with higher speeds will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • The street shall not have a grade greater than 5 percent.

Design Elements

  • The use of high quality, durable materials capable of withstanding year‐round use is required.
  • The design should not include any bolts/anchors or other elements that require disturbing the street surface or sidewalk.  No Street Seat component may weigh more than 200 pounds per square foot.
  • The platform may not extend beyond six (6) feet from the curb line where there is parallel parking. Angled or perpendicular parking locations may be approved on a case by case basis.
  • The maximum length of the platform must not be longer than the frontage of permit holder’s establishment unless given permission by adjacent property owners.
  • Design must maintain a minimum six‐foot clear pedestrian through zone in the sidewalk corridor.
  • Platform must be designed to allow for curbline stormwater drainage.
  • Platform must be designed to accommodate the crown and cross slope of the street surface.  Close attention must be paid to existing curb condition and height to ensure platform is flush with curb.
  • Platform should be as level as possible and flush with the sidewalk height. At least 12 feet of the platform must be flush with the adjacent sidewalk for wheelchair access.  
  • The platform design must include vegetation in the form of planters. Plant selection shall be submitted to PBOT for approval. Proper drainage of planters must be provided.
  • Platform design must include a physical barrier along the street while maintaining clear visual sightlines to the street. Vertical elements, such as planters and umbrellas, should be included so that the facility is visible to vehicles.
  • To protect the platform from parking maneuvers, planters or weighted bollard on either end of the platform are required.
  • Forty-eight (48) inch setback on either end of the platform, adjacent to parallel parking, will need to be reserved for wheel stops with embedded reflective candlesticks. These will be installed by PBOT after final facility construction/installation is complete. Additional traffic safety items may be added to the final design by PBOT staff.
  • The proposed number of table and chairs shall be approved by PBOT.  Furniture must be able to accommodate those with disabilities, wheelchairs, or mobility devices.
  • Proposed covers or shelters may have additional structural engineering requirements.
  • Surface materials. Loose particles, such as sand or loose stone, are not permitted on the Street Seat.

 Applicants can refer to the following resources for additional assistance.

UCLA Parklet Toolkit “Reclaiming the Right of Way”   &    San Francisco Parklet Program and Design Manual