Walkability, one step at a time

Seattle – it’s people, it’s budget, it’s landscape – is making a place for the staircase. Read about how, and why all this is important for walkability.

From Westlake to the top of Queen Anne hill, walkers toured the city’s stairways and footpaths last Sunday.  pedestrians pitch in to clean up West Seattle’s streets and stairs.  And Feet First only has plans for more grassroots work like this.

The importance of stairways to walkability is obvious: healthy stairways, when utilized, contribute to the health of pedestrian paths, and pedestrians themselves.

Seattle’s Department of Transportation budget attempts to reflect this: over $200,000 of the city’s annual department of transportation budget is allocated to stairway maintenance.  Nearly $440,000 goes towards staircase rehabilitation of sets of steps that are no longer safe or able to serve their purpose.  As if the differentiation between “maintenance” and “rehabilitation” weren’t enough, it’s even in the budget to improve existing staircases even more – completely redoing stairwells if necessary, bringing stairs up to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) code, adding structural reinforcements to make stairways stronger, etc.: over $460,000 more.

More funds could be allocated to causes like the staircase.  To support the city’s efforts to increase the health and wealth of staircases around the Seattle,  residents can grab Neighborhood on Foot walking map and visit one of the many staircases in Seattle. Since there truly isn’t a more powerful voice than that of the people, getting up and out and on your feet will help you not only discover the world of Seattle’s staircases, but speak – possibly louder than words – that stairways are important to the health of your city.  It may seem like a small matter to advocate for the care of the stair, but walkability is about one step at a time.

 

 

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