This year’s SDOT budget includes funding from three separate programs for maintaining and rehabilitating city-owned stairways.
According to John Buswell, Manager of Roadway Structures, over $200,000 is budgeted for stairway maintenance. This includes routine repairs and approximately 70 stairway inspections. “Typical repairs may be the replacement of a damaged rail section, repair of a broken stairway tread, or damage following a winter storm.”
The remainder of the funding is for rehabilitating stairways that are beyond simple repairs. More than half of the remaining $900k comes from the voter-approved transportation levy Bridging the Gap, which is funded through 2016. According to Buswell:
Often we are able to completely replace a stairway, adding new features that meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for stairways. This work will usually add up to 75 years of additional useful life to the stairway.
Seattle has over 480 public stairways. Keeping them in good condition is a challenge, but they are an important and unique component of the city’s transportation infrastructure.