Seattle Public Utilities

Taylor Creek Culvert Replacement

  • Lower Taylor Creek Lower Taylor Creek flowing into Lake Washington.
  • Lower Taylor Creek SPU purchased property at the lower reaches of Taylor Creek, located south of Lake Washington.

What & Why

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) purchased property at the lower reaches of Taylor Creek, located near the south end of Lake Washington in southeast Seattle. This provided an opportunity for SPU to increase the quality and amount of Taylor Creek and Lake Washington shoreline habitat, particularly for threatened juvenile Chinook salmon.

What’s happening now?

In 2017 and 2018, we heard from the community through an open house, online survey and several one-on-one and group briefings. As shown in our initial conceptual design (pdf), we were able to incorporate many of the elements that the community desired for the natural area. Some of these elements include:

  • Taller trees with varying canopy and shrubs
  • A shared path to maximize restoration areas and ecological benefits
  • A viewpoint and overlook to observe the creek and spawning salmon
  • Beach access to Lake Washington

It’s important to note that this design is conceptual and will change as we continue to complete the review process with stakeholders and affected City departments. For example, the locations of trees and overlooks may shift as we learn more about operation and maintenance needs.

We will maintain clear sightlines as we refine the design so that people can see into and out of the natural area. We are working closely with Seattle Department of Transportation to extend the sidewalk and add curb bulbs by the pedestrian walkway to shorten the crossing distances. In addition, we are beginning to design the sedimentation facility on the west side of Rainier Avenue S. This facility will look like a natural pond and will function like a wide spot in a natural creek where water slows and pools; rocks and large gravel from Deadhorse Canyon will collect here instead of being deposited into Lake Washington. The facility will clean out debris and provide necessary shade for salmon.

What’s next

In the first quarter of 2019, we anticipate completing the next iteration of the natural area design and sharing it with neighbors and the community. By January, we should have a better idea of where the overlook and educational areas will be, what the sedimentation facility looks like and how pedestrians will travel from Deadhorse Canyon to the lakeshore.

We are also working on completing our Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Checklist for the project. Earlier this year, we added scope to the project to install micropiles in a portion of the steep slope of Deadhorse Canyon along the pedestrian trail. The micropiles will help stabilize the trail and the associated sewer line that runs beneath it. This work was originally part of the Lakeridge Sewer Line Assessment project. To use rate payer dollars most efficiently, we have combined the two efforts. This work will be reflected in the checklist.

Project goals and benefits

The Taylor Creek Culvert Replacement project will:

  • Improve the stream channel and surrounding habitat.
  • Improve fish passage.
  • Replace the culvert under Rainier Avenue S.
  • Address storm-related flooding and sediment deposition at the mouth of the creek to the extent feasible.
  • Provide public access to the new natural area north of Rainier Avenue S once construction is complete.
  • Construct corridor safety improvements in coordination with the Seattle Department of Transportation.


Jason Sharpley, project manager
(206) 615-0030

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