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

Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project Update – July 2014

BerthaContractor announces details of repair work plan for the SR 99 tunneling machine

Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, has always been big. The focus now is on rebuilding Bertha and making her better, according to a new repair work plan unveiled Monday, June 16, by Seattle Tunnel Partners, our design-build contractor for the SR 99 Tunnel Project.

STP’s work plan (pdf 4.8 Mb), which is illustrated in a new animation (view on YouTube), contains four major repair and enhancement elements:

  • Replacing the damaged seal system with a more robust system
  • Replacing the main bearing
  • Installing enhanced monitoring systems
  • Adding steel to strengthen the machine and accommodate the new seal system

Other major enhancements of the work plan include:

  • Widening the openings at the center of the cutterhead
  • Improving the soil conditioning injection system
  • Installing bit- and wear-resistant steel on the cutterhead
  • Extending the length of the agitator arms in the mixing chamber

STP will provide WSDOT with additional supporting information about rebuilding the machine in the coming months, in accordance with the design-build contract, to demonstrate how the repairs will meet the contract’s performance and technical requirements, including:

  • An analysis demonstrating that the machine’s structure can withstand all loads from the surrounding ground and its own operation
  • Seal design details and background calculations
  • Design of revised conditioner injection systems and cutterhead openings
  • Updated operations plan including enhanced instrumentation and monitoring for key machine components
  • Complete testing program for all modified machine components prior to restart of mining

Bertha is currently stopped approximately 60 feet underground between South Jackson and South Main streets. As owner of the machine, STP is responsible for ensuring it functions properly at all times. STP is currently building the underground walls of a circular pit (pdf 2.5 Mb) crews will use to access and repair the machine.


No Milepost 31 speaker series in July

Due to the July Fourth holiday, there will be no Milepost 31 speaker series event this month. We look forward to seeing you in August.

Sidewalk closure required for Pergola repair

Closed for two days!Closure expected to last two days

The sidewalk under the Pergola in Pioneer Square will be closed on Thursday, Feb. 6, and Friday, Feb. 7, while workers repair broken glass and assess other damage to the structure.

Contractor Herzog Glass will be on site to replace the 28 glass panels that were broken or damaged after Super Bowl revelers climbed on the Pergola. During the sidewalk closure Seattle Parks and Recreation staff will make a closer inspection of the top of the structure to better understand any damage.

The cost of repairs is estimated to be between $15,000 and $25,000, which has all been donated by the community. Community members Amanda Gallagher Quinn and Shana Pennington-Baird started a crowd-funding campaign that raised more than $16,000 in less than 24 hours. The Western Washington Honda Dealers Association donated $10,000. The Seattle Parks Foundation is handling all the donations. Any money left after Pergola repairs are paid for will be used for Pioneer Square parks and green spaces.

Pioneer Square Pergola

The Pergola was commissioned for construction in 1909 to be the covering to an underground comfort station, said to be the most ornate west of the Mississippi River. When local media told the public about the $25,000 price tag, there was some community resistance. Then-Park Board Executive Ferdinand Schmitz was so certain of future popularity of the Pergola and underground restroom that he promised to repay the City in full if people objected to it. He never had to make good on his promise. The comfort station closed in the 1940s.

On Jan. 15, 2001, the Pergola was hit by a truck, and shattered. The thousands of shards of cast iron were painstakingly pieced together by the century-old, family owned Seidelhuber Iron & Bronze Works in South Park. The refurbished Pergola is now supported by an internal skeleton of 20 tons of structural steel.

The Pergola and the Tlingit Totem Pole in Pioneer Square Park, as well as the adjacent Pioneer Building are all National Historic Landmarks.