Christina, our neighbor over here near 40th Ave NE and Latona, writes:
Had a little chat this morning with construction workers on 40th greenbelt–stair rehab project. They’ve excavated the old stairs and we’ll soon have a new poured concrete staircase with new handrail. Stairs will be 6ft 10inches wide (the standard stair width of Seattle, or of something)–that’s double-wide what the old one was.
So, even though it seems like no one in the city or rest of Wallingford proper cares much about us in Wallingfaux (98105 zip, 98103 taxes/real estate flyers/post office, best neighbors around), we’ll soon have a much nicer and WAY less creepy staircase to take us down to Ivar’s or to our little secret waterfront park.
Up with the 98105, down with creepy stairs!
Some of Faux used to be called Harrison Heights. That notation is on some of the WPA black and white photos and HH was also the telephone “number” first two letters (HH-54321, back in the days of party telephone lines).
Some of the houses where now-I-5 is from 6th Ave and 7th Ave are scattered here and there as well. Are you out there Paul Dorpat? This is one for you.
I suppose from the bottom up, this will be the Stairway to Heaven.
It would be nice if the underbrush was cleared away, trees trimmed, and a sidewalk put in on the upper stretch of NE40th. The view south over Lake Union to downtown is terrific!
I don’t know whether the area was ever called “Harrison Heights” as a colloquial neighborhood term, but it is noted as “Harrison Heights Addition” in the King County property legal descriptions–perhaps when it was first platted and developed.
e.g., “HARRISON HEIGHTS ADD N 24 FT”
I’m not entirely sure of the boundaries of the original block of development, but check it out on the King County Parcel Viewer
Cement steps!! Sounds perfect for a little mosaic action!
We too are 98105 Wallingfordites. If pressed for a more specific neighborhood name, I usually go with Latona – I think that’s the plat we’re in (if that’s the right term).
I ride past this spot on Burke-Gilman during my morning commute. They’ve been at it for 2 weeks, and there have been trucks, backhoes, about 10 people with shovels, and at least 2 supervisors. All this to build 8 steps of wood box filled with gravel, and to clear away blackberry bushes. It must be a jobs program.
I never noticed it, but Google Maps (for one) has TWO “NE 40th Street”s there! See http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=47.655592,-122.324757&spn=0.00122,0.002336&z=19
I can’t recall now if those are really both labeled 40th. That’s a little confusing/ambiguous, isn’t it?
I have gone by that staircase twice a day 5 days a week for over 15 years and can count the number of times on one hand I’ve seen someone using it.
That’s something else I was gonna say: we too walk around the ‘hood a lot, and I’ve never used that staircase. And every time I drive past it westbound on “lower 40th” (for lack of a better term), I cringe, waiting for someone to pop out into the street. Seems like kind of a nasty crossing.
I’m one of the handful of people who use this stairway on a regular basis. I take it between one and six times a day. It’s my favorite way to get to JSIS (John Stanford International School) from the Burke-Gilman Trail. Yes, it’s rarely used, but it takes you through a bit of rare urban woods in Wallingford.
Thank you SDOT for mowing the blackberry brambles along upper 40th (that’s how you distinguish the two 40ths, “upper” and “lower”) and for clearing out the invasive plants in the area. Workers told me the reason for the cleanup came from neighbors complaining about homeless encampments in the green space between the two 40ths.
I have never been bothered by anyone, walking this stairway in day or dark, but I have picked up plenty of garbage there.
Some folks at JSIS see the stairway as a “green” link between the Burke-Gilman Trail / Cheshiahud Loop and the soon-to-be-enhanced JSIS playground, so we’re thrilled by the attention that little stairway is getting.
BTW, it’s way more dangerous to cross NE Pacific at 4th NE than lower 40th. Not that many drivers take lower 40th, especially westbound. They usually curve left and take Pacific.
I pass the bottom of that staircase fairly often, and I too rarely see anybody using it. The character of the area is gradually changing, though. The area under the I-5 bridge has been fanced in, the underbrush has been mostly removed and the unregulated parking on upper 40th has all but gone away with better enforcement and renovation of the area west of Peace Park. Walking past there used to be just plain scary! For whatever reason, I’m glad to see that area is getting some attention. Wonder if it’s in anticipation of the tremendously increased volume of Montlake to Fremont/Ballard traffic when the 520 bridge is finally done??
The closest I ever came to colliding with a bicyclist was when one shot down those stairs and nearly ran into my car. Sure hope they take this opportunity to install some kind of barrier at the bottom to force users to stop at the bottom.
Yes indeedy, there are 2 NE 40th streets but seems like even people that live on one or the other aren’t aware of that.
The attention to those steps and the area in general is long overdue.
The area has suffered not just from neglect but also from people using it as a dumping ground (busted furniture, the usual side-of-the-road trash, chunks of concrete, and other crap). The overgrowth and trash also makes nice home for critters of the rat variety.
I hope that with the new stairs (and awareness of them), the area will not get abused so much. Just with the cutting down of the blackberries (they did more cutting back than they usually do), there have been people running and walking along the upper 40th stretch. As long as people keep walking on the grass and blackberry sprouts, it won’t get so out of hand. The city tends to do its annual mow just before the 4th of July. Would be nice if it weren’t unwalkable before then. 🙂
Thanks for the “two 40th’s” explanations, folks – but for some reason their mere existence has been bugging the $#!+ out of me lately. “Upper” and “lower” 40th, indeed! That’s not what made America great!! 😉
I guess if I have to obsess over something, that’s a suitably trivial object d’obsession.
It also will designate which 40th St a place by the even or odd numbering of the building. Even is on the north side – the upper 40th St. and the odd would be the south side – the lower 40th St… This is taking for granted that no one ever builds on the green strip in the middle…