S Henderson Stairway

Updated: June 22, 2022

What's Happening Now?

Construction has started!

We are excited to announce that construction has started on the new Henderson Stairway. Construction is expected to last four to five months.

Recent and upcoming construction activities

Henderson Stairway Construction Photos June 2022

1. Looking east from the project site after clearing and prepping the work area.
2. Initial grading of the work site in preparation for pile foundation work.
3. Grading and preparing the intermediate stairway landings for the pile foundation work. 

Crews have been clearing and grading the project area in preparation for the upcoming work, including:

  • The stairway will have pile foundations, which is a series of columns constructructed into the ground. The piles transfer weight from the stairway structure to deeper soil with high weight-bearing capacity.
    • Crews will do everything possible to complete this work as quickly, quietly, and safely as possible.
  • Stairway form work
    • In the next couple of weeks, crews will begin form work for the stairway, starting at the top of the site at 39th Ave S.

Stay informed

To stay up-to-date on what's happening during construction, sign up for email updates here.

Questions about the project?

Email us at hendersonstairway@seattle.gov or leave us a voicemail at (206) 257-2153.

Project Background

Beginning in 2018, we began the feasibility and planning process for a new stairway on S Henderson St between 39th Ave S and 41st Ave S (approx. 440 ft). The Henderson Stairway will better connect south Beacon Hill residents to the Rainier Beach light rail station, local schools and community amenities, while helping to advance the City's Pedestrian Master Plan goals.

This stairway is currently planned to include multiple landings to meet ADA requirements, lighting, and a runnel for people to walk their bikes up the stairway. The planned stairway, which has received several community requests, provides a direction connection to Rainier Beach Station from South Beacon Hill and reduces walking distance by approximately 0.5 miles.

Rendering of S Henderson stairway
Visualization of stairway upon completion

Project Benefits

  • Gain another neighborhood connector to schools, Sound Transit light rail, transit and businesses
  • Clearly designate the space for a specific use and reinforce the neighborhood identity through place making and wayfinding
  • Increase engagement opportunities through neighborhood walks, physical challenges, student-led events 
  • Walking improvements help make neighborhoods safer and more connected

Project Area

The new stairway will be located on S Henderson St between 39th Ave S and 41st Ave S.

Project Map for S Henderson Stairway

Top of stairway (39th Ave S)
Top of stairway - 39th Ave S

Bottom of stairway (41st Ave S)
Bottom of stairway - 41st Ave S


S Henderson Stairway Profile and Aerial Graphic

Examples of placemaking, wayfinding and programming around Seattle

Examples of placemaking around Seattle

Nearby Projects

Project Materials

Project Planning Notice, December 2018

Visualization of Stairway, June 2020

Online Drop-in Session Presentation, November 2020

Outreach Summary Report (from November 2020 Online Drop-in Session and Survey)


This project has received funding through a grant from Sound Transit.


2017 Project added to Pedestrian Master Plan
2018 Began feasibility study
Early 2019  Began planning and design, sent letter to area neighbors notifying of project initiation
Due to construction costs, SDOT seeks outside funding
Fall 2019 SDOT awared Sound Transit System Access Fund grant
Late 2019 Conducted second round of outreach with letters to adjacent neighbors 
Summer 2020 Conducted geotech soil sample collection at three locations
Fall 2020 Online outreach drop-in session and online survey
Fall 2021 Final Design Milestone
June 2022 Construction begins