New Accessible Sidewalk on Jackson Street

BEFORE the Jackson Street ADA repair. Photo courtesy SDOT.
BEFORE the Jackson Street ADA repair. Photo courtesy SDOT.
AFTER the Jackson Street ADA repair. Photo courtesy SDOT.
AFTER the Jackson Street ADA repair. Photo courtesy SDOT.

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] to let us know if you notice spots to fix.


Liz Stenning
Public Realm Director
Alliance for Pioneer Square

A Safety Reminder from Puget Sound Energy

gasleakDear residents and businesses of Pioneer Square:

It’s always a good thing to know what natural gas smells like and what to do if you suspect a leak. That’s why PSE regularly sponsors public service announcements regarding gas safety. With the recent reports of ground settlement in some areas of Pioneer Square, which could affect underground utilities, we’d like to remind you of some basic safety tips and tell you what we’re doing to ensure the safety of the natural gas system in the neighborhood.

PSE regularly inspects the pipes, meters and other equipment that bring natural gas to the region. As a precaution, we have increased the frequency of these inspections in Pioneer Square. These inspections have not shown any signs of damage or increased incidence of gas leaks.

In addition, as part of the tunnel project, we have increased the resiliency of our gas system in areas above the tunnel route by retrofitting or rebuilding gas pipes and connections that might be affected by ground settlement.

If you should ever smell the rotten egg or sulfur-like odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately and call PSE or 911.

  • Don’t do anything inside the building, including making a phone call, that could cause a spark.
  • If you notice the odor outside, move upwind of the odor and call PSE or 911. Other signs of a leak include hissing, bubbles rising in a puddle, and dead vegetation in unexpected places.
  • PSE will dispatch a technician immediately, at no cost, to investigate.

For more safety tips and to smell the odor of natural gas, please see our natural gas safety brochure, which includes a “scratch and sniff” feature. Click here to request a brochure.

If you have questions, please contact



Charlie Gadzik
Customer Safety Communications Manager
Puget Sound Energy

A Message from WSDOT Regarding Ground Settlement

BerthaGood afternoon,

I wanted to send a quick note to let you know the latest information about settlement in Pioneer Square.

We have told you about our settlement monitoring system that we installed as part of the SR 99 Tunnel Project. As we publicly announced last Friday, STP surveyors detected over one inch of ground settlement near the pit Seattle Tunnel Partners is building to access and repair the tunneling machine. We have also seen settlement on the Alaskan Way Viaduct and some of the buildings that we are monitoring; the amount of settlement lessens in the surrounding area.

Most of the settlement we’ve detected has been uniform, which usually means little to no damage to buildings and utilities. Engineers have been walking through the Pioneer Square neighborhood since we first learned of the new settlement. They have not seen any signs of new damage so far. An inspection team that includes an architect with historic building experience has been conducting interior building surveys since Monday and will continue over the next couple of weeks. If you have seen any recent changes in your building, such as new cracks or lengthening of cracks, sticking doors and windows or utility problems, please email us so we can set up an appointment.

Additionally, we have stepped up our monitoring frequency. Deep survey control points are checked approximately every other day and buildings and various points on the ground are surveyed once a day. Since Dec. 1, STP has not seen any appreciable change in settlement. Based on this, it appears that additional settlement is not occurring, though we will continue to closely monitor the situation.

At this time, Seattle Tunnel Partners is maintaining their dewatering system – and water levels remain static. However, they have stopped excavation until we can verify the new data. We will let you know when excavation resumes.

As for the crack in King Street, Seattle Tunnel Partners checked the site with ground-penetrating radar Thursday afternoon. While we are still awaiting the report, no voids were detected under the pavement.

If you have concerns about your building, property or utilities, please do not hesitate to call our hotline at 1-888-298-5463 or email us at




Todd V. Trepanier, PE
Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program

Tunnel Project Update

BerthaWSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners conducted additional survey work early Sunday morning (12/7/2014) to further assess the amount and extent of settlement that recently occurred on and near the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Some of the data was inconclusive and analysis is still underway; however, WSDOT observed that a small amount of differential settlement is occurring near the access pit. Differential settlement is when the ground settles unevenly over an area. When the ground settles evenly or uniformly over an area, there is less risk of damage.

The additional survey work did not find that the differential settlement has caused any new damage to the viaduct nor have we observed any damage to buildings or utilities in the surrounding area. On-the-ground surveys will continue this week by historic architects and structural engineers.

Public safety is our top priority and while we have not seen any damage, Seattle Tunnel Partners is taking the prudent step to stop dewatering. The contractor will work with its geostructural designer to stop the dewatering in a deliberate manner in order to ensure worker safety and the structural integrity of the access pit and surrounding structures.

Data analysis, collection and monitoring will continue and we will provide updates as we have new information to share.