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S Henderson Stairway

Updated: December 20, 2022

What's Happening Now?

We want to provide a construction update with a status update on materials we are waiting on to complete the Henderson Stairway project.

The project has been on pause for two months while we've been waiting for the stair railings and light poles to be delivered. We had originally anticipated an early December delivery of those materials, but now anticipate receiving the poles and railings as soon as January 2023. 

  • Our light poles are normally made from steel, but we are using aluminum poles for this stairway. Our supplier has experienced aluminum supply chain issues, which has caused delays in the production and delivery of the light poles.
  • Fabrication of the hand railings started earlier this month after our supplier was also experiencing material availability challenges. Ultimately, we decided to substitute for another type of pipe so they could start the work.

We will continue keep folks informed about the construction schedule through webpage updates and listserv notifications and plan to provide an update next month.

While it is possible to access the stairs while the project is on pause, we ask that you do not use them until we've installed the hand railings and lighting, which are important pedestrian safety features for the new staircase.

Here are some highlights of the work we did this summer and fall on the new stairway. We poured the new concrete stairway, including the bike runnel, stairs, and landings. Crews began forming and pouring at the top stairway at 39th Ave S in early August and finished the final pour in October at the base of the stairs at 41st Ave S. In addition to pouring the new stairway, crews installed bases for the new pedestrian lighting and prepped the area for vegetation that our Urban Forestry team will be plant next spring.

S Henderson Stairway construction progress photo

Left: New concrete stairs, bike runnel, and landings for new S Henderson Stairway. Right: Bases for pedestrian lighting have been installed. Landscaping will be planted by our Urban Forestry team in the spring.

As part of our project work, crews have upgraded the existing ditch and culvert drainage system at the bottom of the stairs at 41st Ave S. The ditch has been regraded and the culvert replaced to collect runoff from the staircase and provide safe access to the new stairs.

Drainage improvements at base of the stairs at 41st Ave S

Left: Crews regraded existing ditch and replaced the culvert to collect runoff from the staircase. Rigth: Crews installed compacted crushed gravel to improve water retention in the soil at the base of stairs.

Stay informed

To stay up-to-date on what's happening during construction, sign up for email updates here.

Questions about the project?

Email us at or leave us a voicemail at (206) 257-2153.

Project Background

Beginning in 2018, we began the feasibility and planning process for a new stairway on S Henderson St between 39th Ave S and 41st Ave S (approx. 440 ft). The Henderson Stairway will better connect south Beacon Hill residents to the Rainier Beach light rail station, local schools and community amenities, while helping to advance the City's Pedestrian Master Plan goals.

This stairway is currently planned to include multiple landings to meet ADA requirements, lighting, and a runnel for people to walk their bikes up the stairway. The planned stairway, which has received several community requests, provides a direction connection to Rainier Beach Station from South Beacon Hill and reduces walking distance by approximately 0.5 miles.

Rendering of S Henderson stairway
Visualization of stairway upon completion

Project Benefits

  • Gain another neighborhood connector to schools, Sound Transit light rail, transit and businesses
  • Clearly designate the space for a specific use and reinforce the neighborhood identity through place making and wayfinding
  • Increase engagement opportunities through neighborhood walks, physical challenges, student-led events 
  • Walking improvements help make neighborhoods safer and more connected

Project Area

The new stairway will be located on S Henderson St between 39th Ave S and 41st Ave S.

Project Map for S Henderson Stairway

Top of stairway (39th Ave S)
Top of stairway - 39th Ave S

Bottom of stairway (41st Ave S)
Bottom of stairway - 41st Ave S


S Henderson Stairway Profile and Aerial Graphic

Examples of placemaking, wayfinding and programming around Seattle

Examples of placemaking around Seattle

Nearby Projects

Project Materials

Project Planning Notice, December 2018

Visualization of Stairway, June 2020

Online Drop-in Session Presentation, November 2020

Outreach Summary Report (from November 2020 Online Drop-in Session and Survey)


This project has received funding through a grant from Sound Transit.


2017 Project added to Pedestrian Master Plan
2018 Began feasibility study
Early 2019  Began planning and design, sent letter to area neighbors notifying of project initiation
Due to construction costs, SDOT seeks outside funding
Fall 2019 SDOT awarded Sound Transit System Access Fund grant
Late 2019 Conducted second round of outreach with letters to adjacent neighbors 
Summer 2020 Conducted geotech soil sample collection at three locations
Fall 2020 Online outreach drop-in session and online survey
Fall 2021 Final Design Milestone
June 2022 Construction begins



Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.