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Stairway Maintenance Program

April 10, 2017

What's happening now?

Thank you for completing our survey for stairways slated for improvements in 2017!


Here are some key takeaways:

  • Respondents mainly use the stairways for neighborhood walks and to get to transit and parks
  • Respondents requested more stairway cleaning and maintenance as well as lighting
  • Respondents want to get information about construction though neighborhood blogs, flyers posted at the stairway, email lists, and on the project web page

We will conduct another survey this year focused on improvements slated for 2018. Stay tuned!

Program overview

SDOT owns more that 500 stairways across the city

Seattle is hilly! Thats why we have stairways connecting streets throughout our neighborhoods.

To keep our stairways safe and accessible, SDOT inspects the condition of each public stairway across the city and identifies repairs. Repairs range from replacing the handrails to replacing the stairway altogether.

Current projects

SDOT is repairing/rebuilding stairways at the following locations:



Type of work


E Mercer Street & 24th Avenue E (Capitol Hill)

Stairway reconstruction, sidewalk reconstruction, ADA ramps, and retaining walls

Stairway is complete. ADA ramps are planned for late summer 2017. Work on a small retaining wall by late 2017.

W Howe St & 32nd Ave W (Magnolia)

Stairway reconstruction

Stairway is complete. Permanent handrails should be installed by end of April.

15th Ave W & W Bertona St (Interbay)

Stairway reconstruction

Stairway is complete. Permanent handrails should be installed by mid-May.

W Wheeler St between 12th Ave W & 13th Ave W (upper stairway) (W Queen Anne)

Stairway reconstruction

Stairway is complete. Permanent handrails should be installed by late June. (lower stairway scheduled for summer 2017)

S Hanford St between Cheasty Blvd S and Morse Ave S Stairway reconstruction Scheduled for late March through late April

Aurora Ave N & Raye St (N Queen Anne)

Stairway reconstruction

Scheduled for early April through late May

Howe St between 5th Ave N & Bigelow Ave N Stairway reconstruction Scheduled for mid-April through late-May

FAQs about stairway maintenance

  1. How long does it take to rebuild a stairway?
    • Rebuilding a stairway generally takes about 2 months to complete. That work includes clearing the adjacent vegetation, demolishing the old stairway, pouring new concrete, and fabricating and installing new handrails.

    • Some projects take longer for various reasons. Projects that include retaining walls to prevent landslides take more time to build. Also, SDOT’s stairway crews are the same crews that complete emergency maintenance work around the city, so sometimes the work schedule needs to be adjusted so crews can complete emergency work.

  2. Can I use the stairway while it’s being rebuilt?
    • Usually we need to close the stairways as were reconstructing them to allow space to demolish the stairway and rebuild a new one. We post detour maps at the top and bottom of the stairway so people know of nearby options.

    • If were doing smaller maintenance work, like replacing a handrail, were usually able to keep the stairway open. In general, crews work to keep the stairways open as much as possible.

  3. How do you inform neighbors of stairway work?
    • We work to inform neighbors of stairway work in various ways including:
      • Notifying neighbors through local blogs
      • Posting notices at the top and bottom of the stairway before work starts
      • Delivering notices to neighbors adjacent to the stairways as well as nearby community centers, libraries, and neighborhood bulletin boards
      • Updating this webpage with the latest status on each stairway

Completed projects

Check out these before and after photos of our completed projects!

Before and AFter S Lilac & Letitia Ave S


SDOT's Stairway Maintenance Program is funded through SDOT's Operations and Maintenance budget and the Levy to Move Seattle. Approved by voters in 2015, the 9-year, $930 million Levy to Move Seattle provides funding to improve safety for all travelers, maintain our streets and bridges, and invest in reliable, affordable travel options for a growing city.

Contact information

If you have questions or comments about SDOTs Stairway Maintenance Program, please contact:

Sara Colling
Community Outreach Lead
(206) 727-8697

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