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Stairway Maintenance Program

Improving neighborhood walkability

Last updated: July 11, 2017

What's happening now?

click to launch map Thank you for taking the 2018 stairway survey

On July 10, 2017, we closed a survey about the 10 stairways across the city (shown on this map) prioritized to be improved in 2018. Thank you to all who shared input about how you use the stairways, what improvements you'd like to see, and how we should communicate with you and your neighbors during construction! We will share a short summary of the results later this year.

If you missed the survey but have questions or comments about the planned 2018 stairway improvements, please contact Sara Colling at or 206-727-8697.


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 small retaining wall scheduled for mid-May through early June.

W Howe St & 32nd Ave W (Magnolia)

Stairway reconstruction

Stairway is complete.

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 stariway now under construction)

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

Aurora Ave N & Raye St (N Queen Anne)

Stairway reconstruction

Scheduled for early April through late May/early June

Howe St between 5th Ave N & Bigelow Ave N Stairway reconstruction Scheduled for late April through mid-June, depending on weather

W Wheeler St between 13th Ave W and Gilman Dr W (W Queen Anne)

Stairway reconstruction

Scheduled for mid-June through mid-August, depending on weather

S Genesee St & Letitia Ave S

Stairway reconstruction

Scheduled for July through early September, depending on weather

E Howell St between 25th and 26th Ave E

Stairway maintenance

Scheduled for week of July 10


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


Levy LogoThe Stairway Maintenance Program is funded through SDOT's Operations and Maintenance budget and the Levy to Move Seattle, approved by voters in 2015.

Get involved

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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