Lakeview Blvd.’s missing sidewalk — a hazard and barrier to pedestrians

Deadline is midnight on Friday, March 1 to rate online the possible funding to build the one block of sidewalk that is missing on the east side of Seattle’s Lakeview Blvd. between the Blaine and Howe St. stairs

For background. a photo, and links, see below. The Seattle Department of Transportation’s selection of pedestrian projects for the Neighborhood Street Fund occurs just once every three years, and this is the year, with 300 competing applications citywide. The proposal is to build the one block of sidewalk that is missing on the east side of Seattle’s Lakeview Blvd. between the Blaine and Howe St. stairs. Believing that the lack of asidewalk poses a serious danger and inconvenience to pedestrians, the Eastlake Community Council board of directors has endorsed this project for funding.

This project will happen only if the many people who would benefit from it voice their support in the on-line rating process which will end on March 1; and in an on-line voting process which will be held in April and May. The final funding decision will be made later in the year by SDOT and its Levy Oversight Committee.

Whether you support or oppose this project, please give it your rating on-line by clicking here or here. You will be asked to give an e-mail address and password. While optional, it will help a lot if you also give your name and street address, street, or neighborhood.

In the online process, start by scrolling to District 3 (there are seven City Council districts), as you will be rating this project in comparison with others in District 3. (Once you’ve rated you can switch to any other of the districts—if you live elsewhere and may want to rate projects there.) The SDOT web site specifically says that people who do not live in a District can participate regarding its projects.

When you find the list of projects (the Lakeview sidewalk is project number is 2019-1), click on the project title, “Install the one block of sidewalk that is missing where it is missing on Lakeview Blvd., on the east side between Blaine and Howe streets.” You will be taken to a summary and the words “What do you think?” in big print. You then have a choice of rating the project anywhere between “low” and “high” priority, and to make a written comment.

Without your help in spreading the word, few of the many who walk or bicycle through this area regularly will participate, so please share the present web link soon and widely with others. You can print the poster about the Lakeview sidewalk by clicking here; or contact us if you would like copies to post.

And please help spread the word by social media. It is urgent for news of this voting opportunity to be posted on existing Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, Instagram, and other pages, and also create some new ones. Facebook has created unofficial pages for the Blaine Street Stairs page and the Howe Street Stairs, but no one is managing them, with almost no traffic. We need volunteers to improve these social media pages or create your own—especially one that is about the Lakeview sidewalk proposal itself. Can you help soon?

For questions, suggestions, or to volunteer, please contact the Eastlake Community Council at or phone/text to 206-322-5463.


For a copy of the petition, click here. Please send original of the petition or drop it by to the Eastlake Community Council at 117 E. Louisa St. #1, Seattle, WA 98102. Must have original signatures and contact information for each. Can have as few as one signer. See below for background and contact information. For questions on any aspect of this effort:


The E. Blaine and E. Howe Street public staircases, just one block apart, are among the longest and most heavily used in Seattle (about their history and use, click here). Unfortunately, at their lower end (on the east side of Lakeview Blvd.) there is no sidewalk to connect these staircases. (See photo below.) The missing sidewalk is a risk and barrier for the many pedestrians from throughout Seattle and beyond who use this area for commuting, exercise, sight-seeing, or to reach homes, businesses, schools, parks, or transit.

The missing sidewalk is especially needed by the thousands each week who use the E. Blaine and E. Howe Street public staircases that extend east from Lakeview Blvd. up Capitol Hill to 10th Avenue East, and west to Lake Union via the Park Department’s Howe St. public staircase through the I-5 Colonnade Open Space. Many enjoy these two staircases as an exercise circuit, including the block of Lakeview Blvd. that connects them.

Lakeview Blvd. is a principal arterial and a major walking and bicycling route to downtown via Melrose Avenue or the Lakeview overpass and to the University District via either Eastlake Ave. or Harvard and 10th Aves. It offers access to points north, south, east, and west. All the rest of Lakeview Blvd. has sidewalks on both sides, but for this one block on the arterial’s east side between the Blaine and Howe Street stairs, the sidewalk is missing.

To traverse the east side of this block of Lakeview Blvd., pedestrians must either walk in the traffic lanes on the roadway’s east side, or make two crossings of Lakeview to use the sidewalk on its west side. Either way, they encounter fast-moving arterial traffic, including from the I-5 northbound off-ramp. It’s one of the City’s worse sidewalk gaps, and a tragedy waiting to happen.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has studied installing 340 feet of 6-foot sidewalk, concrete curb and gutter, and a retaining wall. The retaining wall is needed because the hillside is gradually slumping across the curb into the roadway, forcing pedestrians further into the street. But motor vehicles and bicycles in the Lakeview Blvd. roadway are also being squeezed by the gradual landslide, and could face fatal consequences in the event of a major slide (as has happened in the past). Even without a sidewalk, a retaining wall is needed.

The City of Seattle government has not funded engineering or construction of this needed project, but the sidewalk may get built if even a fraction of the thousands of people who use the Blaine and Howe St. stairs, speak up. Volunteers are needed to reach out to stair users and to help with a web site, e-mail list, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media; media relations; and liaison with other organizations and with SDOT and elected officials. It is urgent to build support.

SDOT is now considering this sidewalk for support from its Neighborhood Street Fund, which exists specifically to support pedestrian projects. It is urgent to cast a vote on-line NOW or by the deadline of Feb. 22, 2019. See the details above. As sliding already threatens Lakeview’s motor vehicle and bicycle traffic, not just pedestrians, the cost of the needed retaining wall should come also from SDOT’s main budget, not just from pedestrian funds.

Volunteers are needed to reach out to stair users and to help with a web site, e-mail list, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media; media relations; and liaison with other organizations and with SDOT and elected officials. If you have questions or would like to help in any way, please contact the Eastlake Community Council at or phone/text 206-322-5463. ECC is a neighborhood association founded in 1971.

In the photo above, we are looking north on Lakeview Blvd. The Blaine Street stairs are at right with the block of missing sidewalk also at right. The Howe Street stairs come down to Lakeview Blvd. at the next utility pole to the north.

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