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Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board

July 18, 2002

Members of the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee Richard Conlin, Chair. Heidi Wills, Vice Chair. Richard McIver Nick Licata

Greg Nickels
Mayor, Seattle, WA

600 - 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Dear Council Members:
Dear Mayor Nickels:

Re/ SPAB ADVISORY TO CITY COUNCIL RE/AMENDMENT TO PUBLIC ELEMENTS OF THE SEATTLE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION ELEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF PUBLIC STAIRWAYS

The Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board (SPAB) offers its support for strengthening the city's commitment to City public stairway pedestrian facilities. To our knowledge public stairways are not referenced purposefully in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. The Seattle Comprehensive plan should protect our citizens' investment in the public stairways.

Stairways are important pedestrian facilities for hilltop and hillside neighborhoods where they have been established. Trips to work, shop, school, and recreation often include public stairways in the pedestrian route.

Functional stairways are important to increasing pedestrian trips as an element in encouraging alternative modes of transportation.

It is unlikely that the City will fund improvements to stairways to bring them up to ADA standards. Therefore our recommendations are directed mainly to the maintenance and restoration of existing stairways on City-owned rights of way and not to new construction. New stairway facilities should conform to ADA standards as stated in the SDOT Street Improvements Manual.

Although pedestrian stairways require hand work to cut back foliage encroachments, they are excellent subjects for light work by neighborhood volunteers. Well kept, well used stairways reduce the chance that they will provide access by criminals to private properties. Citizen involvement with public stairways creates a sense of neighborhood ownership and commitment to good pedestrian facilities.

SPAB urges SDOT and The Department of Parks and Recreation to include in future budgets items for maintenance of public stairways, and to maintain their inventory of these pedestrian facilities. The City departments should discourage encroachments into stairway rights of way , and discourage vacations of the stairway rights of way.

SPAB proposes amendments to the Land Use Element and the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan to recognize, map, and inventory pedestrian stairways and to establish some policies about stairways.

To the Land Use Element, Section D, "Open Space Network" add the following Sections, "Public Stairways" following the section, "Urban Trails."

(In Italics)

Preserve the public outdoor stairways as pedestrian connections and access rout es.

The City will strive to contribute to maintain public stairways on City departments' properties and to encourage other local government agencies to maintain pedestrian rights of way. connecting to Seattle's public stairways.

The City will discourage vacations of public stairway right of way.

(End italics)

To the Transportation Land Use Element, Section H, "Pedestrians and Bicycles," add a new Public Stairways map (5-a) after "Transportation Figure 5, Seattle Urban Trails System."

Insert after Policy T44 dealing with Urban Trails add the following Policy, "Public Stairways":

(In italics)

Designate the public stairways shown in the Public Stairways Map figure 5-a as essential pedestrian routes.

The City will strive to contribute to the maintenance of public stairways on City property, strive to prevent encroachments, and discourage vacations of City-owed public rights of way on which public stairways exist.

The City will schedule maintenance of restoration projects for public stairways and actively enlist citizen involvement in those activities as is safe and practical.

Additions to the public staircase inventory will conform to the SDOT Street Improvements Manual.

(End Italics)

Yours sincerely,

Donald John Coney
Chair.