Schmitz Park Staircase

The City of Seattle plans to build a staircase at the blind corner of 57th & Stevens. Stevens is the street that leads up to Alki Community Center & Alki Elementary from the east. It doesn’t have a sidewalk so the City’s proposal would create a path for people coming up 57th on a sidewalk to walk into Schmitz Park, & then walk on the paved street in Schmitz Park to the school. As with all changes, there’s support & opposition to this plan. I do believe many Alki Elementary families will be impacted by these plans. We will briefly discuss the plans at June’s Membership Meeting and provide additional resources and contacts with families.


Below is some background on the project – including the history, public outreach and goals of the Olmsted Parks Landscape Restoration Project on Schmitz Boulevard:

  • This is a maintenance project, which replaces “goat path trails” with a stairway to improve safety, curtail slope erosion and provide public access to Schmitz Park, Alki Community Center and Alki Elementary School for neighbors, families and children.
  • The 2018 Olmsted Parks Study provided the general concept for the work at this project site.
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) conducted previous outreach efforts during the planning stage, including a citywide survey to prioritize the 10 selected projects. More information can be found at: (
  • Public outreach is different for a maintenance project vs. a development project, and does not require the same level of public process.
  • The project removes goat paths, restores landscapes and builds stairs to allow for circulation without further eroding the hill.
  • The project started with a site visit with the designer, SPR District Crew Chief, and District Gardener on June 17, 2020.
  • The design team made some corrections to the original plan for the lower wall and identified an additional goat path that was discovered.
  • A 30% level of detail design was presented by staff to an internal SPR project review committee on September 8, 2020 with two alternative stairway locations. One of these locations was across from the alley, and one at the street curve at the east end of the lower wall along SW Stevens St.
  • The easternmost location was selected consistent with Olmsted’s original vision for the park, which allows a more direct connection to the waterfront.
  • Technical review also determined that metal stair on pin foundations, rather than timber, would minimize impact to the site and avoid the issues SPR had been having with timber crib wall maintenance on steep slopes.
  • Before implementation of this maintenance project, a sign was posted on-site, SPR issued a press release (which was published on the West Seattle Blog (link below) and maintained a current project web page.

  • SPR’s Project Manager personally delivered flyers about the project to each house in the immediate vicinity of the project site. She also discussed the project with neighbors and no one expressed any concerns.

The Conservation Corps began work earlier this month to clear invasive horsetail fern, clear and reveal the base wall and seed the area, prepare the other two goal paths for planting and grind the tree stumps to get ready for replanting replacement trees. The metal stairs are being fabricated at the SPR metal shop and the project is expected to be complete by fall.

If you have any additional questions regarding the maintenance work, please continue to work with Michelle Whitefield, the project manager at