SDOT, SPD talk with neighbors about future 25th/Myrtle stairway

Most of Seattle’s stairways are actually part of city streets, in spots where the right-of-way can’t quite accommodate anything else. There are more than 500 of them. A new one planned for SW Myrtle between Sylvan and 25th – as announced in August – has stirred up some neighborhood concern, so SDOT and SPD invited neighbors to the Southwest Precinct last night to talk about it.

At the front of the room, SDOT’s Greg Funk and Dan Anderson.

Funk said he works on about 10 to 12 stairway projects per year and this one’s a little different in that
it’s a stairway that needs to be installed from scratch. Most of his projects – all but an average of about 1 each year – are replacements, or major maintenance, for existing stairways.

Most of those in attendance said they use the existing path that’s there now because Sylvan is too dangerous to walk along – too much traffic and poorly defined pedestrian boundaries.

But there’s neighborhood concern about a serious uptick in trash along that existing path over the past year. Two residents who live by the east end of the future stairway say they’ve seen and heard lots of suspicion-sparking people, along with arguments, and they’re worried the stairway will be a magnet for more.

Overall, though, most attendees were in favor of the new stairway, with some noting that improved access to and from Myrtle will be especially helpful when Route 120 becomes the RapidRide H Line and has a station at Delridge/Myrtle.

Various questions related to lighting and, as already mentioned, trash. Funk said lighting is not in the plan; trash trouble can be reported via Find It, Fix It.

The precinct’s crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner said she’d visit the area to talk about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. The area’s Community Police Team Officer Ken Mazzuca said calling 911 and using Find It Fix It are both vital so any problems in the area can be not only addressed but also documented (as SPD is very data-driven).

What’s next? Since the project went on hold for a bit to address concerns, the one-to-two-month installation is not expected to happen before the first quarter of next year.

12 Replies to "SDOT, SPD talk with neighbors about future 25th/Myrtle stairway"

  • Sylvan Resident November 9, 2018 (4:57 am)

    I live on Sylvan and I marvel at the lack of maintenance of the “growth”  emanating from city owned property. Sylvan is a major link to buses and west Seattle in general and the sidewalks are dangerously unkempt.  I don’t think this is a Find it Fix it situation, but does anyone know who is responsible for maintaining the brush, leaves, trees ?

    • ScottAmick November 9, 2018 (7:50 am)

      I’ve seen one biker with clippers trimming back blackberries along the “sidewalk”, Sylvan Ridge townhome residents have done a couple of Sylvan cleanups this year and a couple months ago I swept lots of gravel off the sidewalk just north of Myrtle – so some neighbors/users of the street do help with maintenance.  I submitted a FIFI request months ago for the city to trim back on the brush on the non-sidewalk side of Sylvan to improve sightlines – still no action on that.

    • Chemist November 9, 2018 (9:10 am)

      King County Parcel Viewer shows that the forested area of shoulder between the cemetary and home depot is largely owned by SEATTLE CITY OF DPR. The city would be responsible for vegetation maintenance.

  • Mickymse November 9, 2018 (7:59 am)

    In many cases it is the legal responsibility of the neighboring landowner – who may not be the City.

    • ScottAmick November 9, 2018 (8:24 am)

      Yes but a great deal of Sylvan is adjacent to Parks property or unimproved SDOT right-of-way.  I have trimmed back blackberries and a few tree limbs coming from the cemetery though. 

    • KBear November 9, 2018 (9:16 am)

      Whether it’s the city’s or homeowner’s responsibility, Find-it/Fix-it would be an appropriate way to request service to the public right-of-way.

  • Vicki November 9, 2018 (9:08 am)

    This is a huge (ignored) liability for our City. Right of ways are all the green spaces we see, often on steep slopes. There is almost always private property above and below these City right of ways, vacated streets or small patches of land. I have reported tree trimming, and branches dropped onto properties belowfor over 12 years with no action taken.The removal of tree canopies dramatically increases landslides and flooding as the rainwater has no foliage to reduce the impact of rainfall. 1” of rain in an area 10’ x 10’ will produce 50 gallons of water. The city MUST take responsibility for lands it (we) own.  Home owner education on runoff, drainage and most of all Tree and vegetation removal. I have talked to the City Arborist, home owners, City Council, DOT, SCLU and nothing has been done.The City (we) have had to pay out MILLIONS of dollars when landslides occur caused by unmanaged or neglected City owned lands that impact private property owners. That said, We are stewards of our community. Storm drains that do not belong to us are our responsibility if we don’t want to see streets and yards flooded. Blackberries that block a sidewalk, hindering our passage are ours to improve.  

    • flimflam November 9, 2018 (12:44 pm)

      its interesting that with all the money the city has and all the politicians with their various agendas that none of them seem at all interested in basic city maintenance of infrastructure.

      • Eric1 November 9, 2018 (11:19 pm)

        Flimflam.  I was once told by a cynical person that politicians don’t care about maintenance because you can’t cut the ribbon on a maintenance project.  But if you let things go into the toilet, you can always cut the ribbon on the rebuild.   Might cost 10X as much to rebuild but, it isn’t their money and why pass up a chance to contrive a photo-op.

        • wetone November 11, 2018 (10:22 am)

          This ^^^^   Right now city is pushing hard spending $$$$ on stairways and ADA ramps, leaving infrastructure to fall into disrepair. There are many areas getting new needed ADA ramps also and that’s great.  Many of the stairways could be rehabbed easily as in cutting trees /brush back,  good pressure washing and new handrails. But city keeps changing ADA guidelines and old stairways don’t meet current standards, even tough I believe there grandfathered in. City has chosen to replace instead. Same thing with many of the existing ADA ramps. Many don’t meet todays requirements that city has changed last couple years, so city has chosen to replace even tough there fully  functional .  Roads and elevated structures are what’s really needing repairs/ replaced. But money has gone other places (not going there)…..  expect a new levy (big one) coming very soon with the promise to fix the real issues……   

  • Liostro November 11, 2018 (12:08 pm)

    I live in the house at the bottom of the proposed stairs. The green belt along the Sylvan is all Seattle City property and managed by the Parks Dept. We have had them out and basically told that they manage it and advised us that we can not trim our remove anything on their property and legal action could be taken against us if we do. We called because we have had several trees fall on our property from the greenbelt and luckily not hit our house. I can echo what VICKI has said. We have had a ton of issues with tree removal, street repair, and drainage issues and nothing has been fixed our updated. With little to no sign of it every getting completed.This is why the stairs are so concerning. Because there is going to be little to no upkeep from the city stand point. MICKYMSE – It does not fall on the homeowner legally to be responsible for the cleanliness or the upkeep. It falls on the city. It is city property and not the home owners property.  find and fix it is an ok app for tracking issues, but doesn’t mean its going to get a quick response to fix or clean the issue. 

    • ScottAmick November 17, 2018 (8:19 am)

      I had large Parks property trees (old maples) really close to my previous home  in SE Seattle that routinely fell over.  One did wipe out a fence, damaged two cars and a neighbors house.  I liked the trees but they really could’ve injured or killed someone so after some effort – a Parks contractor came and trimmed/cut down a few of the most threatening ones.  Let me know if you want contacts that helped a lot – scott.amick@gmail.com 

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