On the morning of Saturday, February 8, over 300 participants across Bellevue, Burien, and Seattle participated in Feet First’s Second Annual Stairway Walks Day. This unique event featured eighteen distinct walks from Jake and Cathy Jaramillo’s outstanding guidebook, Seattle Stairway Walks: An Up-and-Down Guide to City Neighborhoods.
From the quiet, wooded Ravenna Park ravine to the bustling streets of downtown Seattle, the diversity of scenery offered on Feet First’s Stairway Walks Day was quite extraordinary. Through the region’s remarkable public stairway network, participants explored the history of our neighborhoods, and examined the impressive but ever-changing landscape of today’s built environment.
In Bellevue, Neighborhood Walking Ambassador Connie DeLaVergne guided folks around Kelsey Creek Farm, exploring winding paths and stairways. The still-functioning farm, which is home to ponies, sheep, chickens, pigs, and more, has a quaint, rustic charm to it. The pretty landscape of old barnyards and stables belies the fact that it’s just minutes from downtown Bellevue.
Across Lake Washington, Feet First Board President Dave Ramsay led an expedition of Southwest Queen Anne, partnering with Verna Ness from the Queen Anne Historical Society, who added fascinating commentary. The walk wove its way through the neighborhood, using turn-of-the-century stairways to guide folks along. Highlights included the famous Wilcox Wall, a complex, ornamental staircase which anchors the original Queen Anne Boulevard to the area below. Reflecting on the walk, Dave said, This was a wonderful way to get folks out walking and exploring one of Seattle’s historic neighborhoods. It’s amazing what one can see at three miles per hour!
By the end of the day, participants had collectively walked up and down more than 100,000 steps, acquainting themselves with some of area’s longest stairways. A lot of eyes were opened as many became more aware of public stairways, our region’s scenic byways for neighborhood connection and discovery. Author Jake Jaramillo said, “We hope these unique stairway walks give people a better appreciation of our wonderful public stairway infrastructure, which is a vital pedestrian resource. Hear more about their walk and their dedication of public stairways in the video below.
Inspired to keep our public stairways walkable, Jake and Cathy Jaramillo have partnered with Feet First, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and the City of Seattle, to organize a Stairway Spring Cleaning Day. Volunteer Stairway Captains are needed to organize neighborhood spring cleanings on Saturday, April 26 from 10am-12pm. To sign up as a volunteer, please visit www.feetfirst.org/springclean or contact Drew DeVitis at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 206-652-2310 ext. 5.