Stairway Maintenance Program

Last updated: January 3, 2022

What’s happening now?

2022 construction underway
Engineering and crews have started planning on the 2022 stairway projects! There are currently 7 stairways across the city prioritized to be improved in 2022.

Thank you for responding to fact sheets that were posted at stairways. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Respondents mainly use the stairways for exercise and recreation or to get to transit and parks
  • Most respondents find flyers posted at the stairway the best way to get information, followed by email and neighborhood blogs
  • Respondents requested even steps, vegetation removal, and garbage cleanup

If you have questions or comments about the planned 2022 stairway improvements, please contact Greg Funk at or (206) 733-9657.


Program overview

SDOT owns more that 500 stairways across the city

Seattle is hilly! That’s 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 constructing/repairing/rebuilding stairways at the following locations:

  • S Henderson Stairway-39th-41st Ave S/ New construction, contractor will construct
  • SW Spokane-Admiral-Fauntleroy/ Finish from 2021 
  • 2nd Ave N & Highland Dr. / Finish from 2021 
  • McGilvra-Prospect (Reset and make historic) 
  • SW Findlay-37th-38th / Replace with STD 440-441 & 440D rail 
  • S Holgate St 16Ave S / Replace with STD 440-441 & 440D rail 
  • Dravus St - 9th-10th (Rail Upgrade) 
  • Garfield St & 5th Ave N / Replace with STD 440-441 & 440D rail. 

We may add another project if budget and crew schedule allow. 


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 we’re 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 we’re doing smaller maintenance work, like replacing a handrail, we’re 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


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.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.