Work starts Monday as SDOT adds another Alki-area stairway

(Stairway at 61st/Spokane, which will connect to another one above it as a result of this project)
From SDOT: Work starts Monday on a 2-month project to build a new staircase and path in the South Alki/Beach Drive area, at 61st/60th/Spokane (map). Read on for the full announcement:

Seattle Department of Transportation’s Roadway Structures crew will construct a new, paved path and staircase to connect the newly built staircase at 61st Street SW to the top of the slope at 60th Street SW. work will begin on February 6 and will be completed on or around April 1. The stairway will be completely closed starting February 13.

The lower stairway starting at 61st SW was constructed last year. At that time there was not enough funding to upgrade the dirt path above the stairway, linking it to SW 60th. The original stairway was built in 1945 and did not meet current standards.

This project is part of SDOT’s program to upgrade the 507 stairways that SDOT owns and is responsible for maintaining. The funding is provided by the Bridging the Gap transportation initiative.

Starting Monday, February 6 crews will remove the Laurel hedge grove to the South of the pathway to give them enough room to install and align the new staircase. This work is expected to take two to three days.

Starting February 13, the staircase and dirt path will be closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until completion of the project. There will be a detour in place and a map posted at the top and bottom of the stairway. Crews will then install form work for the staircase and walkway that will be poured with concrete. Residents will likely hear heavy machinery and trucks operating at the site. The SDOT crew will work to minimize impacts to the surrounding residential community.

For further information, please contact SDOT Roadway Structure Manager at 206-684-8325

For information or to comment on bike/ped issues (bike runnels), contact SDOT’s “Bike and Walk” line at 206-684-7583 or send e-mail to .

SDOT’s Marybeth Turner also tells WSB, “The top stairway will have a ‘runnel’ for bikes like the bottom stairway.”

24 Replies to "Work starts Monday as SDOT adds another Alki-area stairway"

  • sw February 3, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    If there’s a bustle in your hedge grove, don’t be alarmed now.

  • orca February 3, 2012 (4:25 pm)

    There must be more pressing needs in the area. I am very familiar with this….and it might be “nice” but it is really not important.
    You must wonder if there is really anyone thinking these things out.
    You always hear that “it was in the schedule” and can’t be changed….nonsense!

  • Aman February 3, 2012 (4:26 pm)

    It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
    There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
    And it makes me wonder.

    • WSB February 3, 2012 (4:46 pm)

      Thank you, I knew I recognized that line and couldn’t quite hear it in my head (google didn’t help) till Aman’s added lyrics. Now that’ll be STUCK IN MY HEAD ALL NIGHT. Anyway, I’m off to get a picture of the area before the sun sets – TR

  • sw February 3, 2012 (5:05 pm)

    Technically, it’s “hedgerow” – took a little creative license. Props to Aman for getting the hint.

    The verse Aman posted is awfully prophetic given our traffic woes on the West Side…

  • miws February 3, 2012 (5:16 pm)

    ….and she’s buy-i-ing the staaaiiiirway….to Al-kiiiiii



  • Jasperblu February 3, 2012 (7:48 pm)

    The lyric is actually … “If there’s a bustle in your hedge row”. Led Zepplin. Stairway to Heaven. Yadda, yadda. :)

  • Snow Wimp February 3, 2012 (8:10 pm)

    The new re-constructed stairway there is gorgeous. Thank you SDOT. Excellent job. If one walks from the bottom of that stairway up to 55th Avenue SW, one will have a heart-thumping workout. Continue on Charlestown , up to California Avenue, and, if you make it, you can say to yourself: “I guess I am in pretty good shape.” I believe from the bottom of that staircase to 55th, the summit of Genesee Hill, is approximately a 380 feet increase in elevation. Sort of like climbing to the top of a 38 story building. Try it. Never a walk in the park, though.

  • Tuesday February 3, 2012 (8:51 pm)

    I agree, there have to be higher financial priorities than this. Seriously. Nice, but not essential.

  • JN February 4, 2012 (12:54 am)

    @Tuesday, do you believe that no pedestrian infrastructure is “necessary”? Hell, four lanes each way on the West Seattle Bridge isn’t “necessary”, but it sure is useful for those who use it.

  • metrognome February 4, 2012 (7:42 am)

    amazing how someone has to complain about everything; now if if was *me*, I’d complain that it wasn’t wheelchair accessible, but that’s just me.
    and, there is actually at least one good reason to replace the stairwell before it collapses … it’s called liability. And that stairway IS essential if you are one of the many people in this city who is trying to get more exercise.
    And, Stairway to Heaven turned 40 in the fall; the ending will turn 40 this month (Kudos to Frazz, from whence that joke came.)

  • old timer February 4, 2012 (7:52 am)

    Seattle stairs are cool.
    And for those of us with still useable feet/legs,
    decent staircases are not a frivolity.

  • J February 4, 2012 (11:08 am)

    This is great! Perhaps it will comfort orca that the pedestrian infrastructure costs far less, lasts much longer, and is repaired far less frequently than the automobile infrastructure. I wonder how much this will pay off in lower healthcare costs?

  • Ouch! February 4, 2012 (2:53 pm)

    So, another 10am to 3pm project for city employees that they will somehow find reason to extend to 4 months.

    WSB, I think taxpayers would be horrified to learn what this staircase , as nice as it may be , cost us. How about some good ‘old investigative journalism?!

    • WSB February 4, 2012 (5:03 pm)

      The total SDOT budget for stairway work around the city this year is about $448,000, according to the city website. Haven’t found a breakdown for this specific project yet but it won’t take investigative journalism; I’ll ask SDOT on Monday. – TR

  • ET February 4, 2012 (5:11 pm)

    I think the point that orca and others are trying to make is that we are bombarded with cries of austerity and no money for essentials.
    If you are in the same position at home you must just do without anything that is not an “essential”.
    Why is not the case with government? And, why do some people here just act like it makes no difference?

  • iUse It February 4, 2012 (11:19 pm)

    Sad to hear the plan is to ‘clear cut’ the lovely & mature hedgery adjacent the very cool,dirt path ,from top ‘o stairs to the uphill street! This is for safety? I walk it often and am still not dead yet. I don’t get it,but i understand. More of the shiny white concrete for the masses!Dang!

  • sam-c February 5, 2012 (3:30 pm)

    Sidewalks, not stairs! Still so many streets in ws w/out sidewalks
    so tired of walking in muddy puddles or hoping I won’t get hit by a car in the street

  • Ouch! February 6, 2012 (9:28 am)

    >>it won’t take investigative journalism; I’ll ask SDOT on Monday. – TR<<

    Looking forward to hearing what you find out. Also, hope they give give you "actual" and fully allocated cost (e.g., including admin overhead), and not just budget. Cheers!

    • WSB February 7, 2012 (2:13 pm)

      $130,000 estimate.

  • Tuesday February 6, 2012 (9:45 am)

    Well put, ET. Thanks.

  • brothamichael February 6, 2012 (12:10 pm)

    More pressing than this is the actual street. I live off of 61st and that road from Beach Drive/61st to Admiral is awful. Could someone please answer if they know anything of repaving it like they did from 61st Admiral to Alki Ave? Sucks that I’ve paid taxes all my life and this is the one thing I’d love to see repaired.

  • Bruce Nourish February 6, 2012 (2:09 pm)

    This is awesome, I look forward to walking it. I’ll take pedestrian and transit infrastructure over roads any day.

  • Snow Wimp February 6, 2012 (7:56 pm)


    You bet. This stairway is a thing of beauty. But no fair cheating. You have to walk the whole route – from the bottom of that stairway all the way up to California Avenue SW. Then write about it in the Seattle Transit Blog. One of my favorite blogs, incidently. West Seattle Blog is also great….but I am a transit geek, at heart….

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