Make Way for Play! A How-to guide to Take Back Your Street

Home » Make Way for Play! A How-to guide to Take Back Your Street


Ready for some exciting homemade neighborhood fun inspired by you, your family and your neighbors?  This spring and summer we can take over the streets and expand our neighborhood park space.

The point is to celebrate community and culture in every neighborhood through an opportunity called “place-making.”   The asphalt isn’t just for cars anymore.  This summer you are encouraged to Take Back the Streets and Make Way for Play!

It takes just one energetic organizer on your block to make this happen. YOU!

You can close down your non-arterial street – for a day with SDOT’s permission — to create the space you’ve secretly envisioned.

You can create your own park right in the middle of your block with potted trees and planters.

You can sponsor a play day on your street where your kids can lead their own bike parade from your home to your local park, block by block.little kids on bikes around cones

You can set up your own garage band fest.

Have a hula-hoop contest;

A skateboard day-in-the-street;KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

An after dinner all-comers kick-the-can event.

A grandiose international feast. kids walking down the street


Artist Grace Levy

Thanks to Steve Durrant and Alta Design for the good work they did for Chicago. Make Way for Play is Steve’s title on an excellent guide he did for that city.

You think it up, you can do it.  Permits are free.

SDOT has created a Block Party website:


Need a few extra dollars to get started?  The Department of Neighborhoods offers “Small Sparks” grants up to $1000, specifically designed to create community connections.  You can apply for a grant on-line here.



There are three common-sense limitations:  the block parties cannot close an arterial or intersection nor impede a bus route, and you have to close down and clean up by 10:00 p.m.


You must first submit an application and get SDOT’s OK.  No charge.  Be sure to give yourself at least a month’s lead time before your event.

Ready to  invite your neighbors? Download the sample invitation here.

Close down your street using informal barricades like garbage cans. Here’s a sample street closure sign.

street closed for block party sign

I’d love to see how many of these Pop-Ups we can create this summer.  Please invite me to yours!