You may have recently noticed the new sidewalk on Jackson Street on your way to and from Pioneer Square. Thanks to a community and city effort, this stretch of sidewalk on Jackson from 2nd Ave S to 3rd Ave S is now accessible for everyone to travel.
Not only was this sidewalk slanted as high as 17% grade, the tall alley curb made it impossible for anyone using a wheelchair or pushing deliveries to access. Stories of people tripping and delivery drivers taking the street into oncoming traffic were common. With up to 380,000 people traveling into Pioneer Square’s transit hub daily and the First Hill Streetcar near completion, it made fixing the missing links on Jackson Street all the more critical.
In 2012, the Pioneer Square based International Sustainability Institute (ISI) led a 40-person volunteer walking audit to assess the streets, alleys and public spaces in Pioneer Square. The poor state of accessibility on nearly every street rose to the top of immediate issues with nearly 40 spots to fix. Randy Earle, local consultant and PSQ resident, led us through the neighborhood with his lens of using a wheelchair. Our list then grew to 60!
By focusing on repairing ADA issues on major walking routes to transit, ISI and the Alliance partnered to apply for a Neighborhood Street Fund. We were awarded the grant in 2013 to pay for these improvements. Over the last year, Seattle Department of Transportation staff worked closely with the surrounding businesses and property owners along this stretch of Jackson to plan and execute the work.
According to Be Van Nguyen, owner of Adam Tailor Alterations, the repair is 30 years in the making – since 1984 when he established his business on Jackson Street. With the help of residents, businesses, neighborhood organizations and city staff, we’re continuing to seek funding sources and finding creative ways to repair our streets, making them accessible for everyone.
Future work under the NSF grant includes curb ramp installation on Yesler at the Pioneer Square bus tunnel entrance. For more information about the Active Streets Reports, visit ISI’s website. Don’t hesitate to contact me liz[at]pioneersquare.org to let us know if you notice spots to fix.
Public Realm Director
Alliance for Pioneer Square