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Pedestrian Accessibility Tours

Community outreach and input are important components in how SDOT plans and considers pedestrian improvements. For pedestrians that may have different needs due to a disability, whether permanent or temporary, having the opportunity to discuss particular challenges or recommendations with SDOT engineers has proven to be a valuable and informative learning opportunity. These discussions can help inform the engineers of the needs of pedestrians with varying abilities and also helps pedestrians understand some of the challenges and constraints engineers deal with in an existing built environment.

Pioneer Square Tour

In Spring of 2015, SDOT engineers teamed up with Liz Stenning, Public Realm Director at the Alliance for Pioneer Square, to take a tour of the Pioneer Square area. Randy Earle, a local accessibility consultant and advocate (more about Randy at We Will Find a Way) was generous enough to lend a wheelchair to our SDOT engineers so that they could gain perspective of the various  pedestrian challenges in an older neighborhood like Pioneer Square, which is also designated as one of eight  “historic districts” (presenting additional challenges) . In addition to the circumstances encountered using the wheelchair, we also discussed challenges that may be evident to ambulatory pedestrians thanks to the help of Kiana Parker, who joined us as a student of Seattle University and an advocate for people with disabilities.

 Randy Earle and Liz Stenning Discuss Wheelchair Challenges in Pioneer Square with SDOT Engineers

SDOT engineer John Ricardi in borrowed wheelchair(left), Liz Stenning (center) and Randy Earle discuss wheelchair challenges in Pioneer Square.


SDOT Engineer Experiences Steep Sidewalk Slopes Using a Wheelchair

SDOT engineer John Ricardi uses a borrowed wheelchair to gain perspective in navigating steep sidewalk slopes.

Rolling Walkshops at Pioneer Square and ID

In September of 2015, SDOT joined Lisa Quinn at Feet First in conjunction with a number other groups that advocate for pedestrian friendly communities. As a part of the Seattle Design Festival with an equity first theme, Lisa helped coordinate two “rolling walkshops” that allowed these pedestrian affiliated organizations to address various pedestrian conditions in Pioneer Square and the International District (also one of eight “historic districts”). Curb ramps, street crossings, sidewalks, and other pedestrian features were discussed with those that joined us on the tour. Concerns specific to pedestrians with mobility disabilities and visual impairments were key topics in our tours through the neighborhoods.

Pedestrians Voice Concerns in the International District

Community members share access input in the International District.

Peggy Martinez from Lighthouse of the Blind

Peggy Martinez from Lighthouse of the Blind, discusses street crossing orientation during one of pedestrian access tours.

SDOT Discusses Curb Ramps and Street Crossings

An SDOT staffer discusses curb ramps and street crossings.

Upcoming Events

SDOT plans to participate in vision simulation training at the Lighthouse for the Blind in October of 2015 as a part of National White Cane Safety Day. This will be another opportunity for SDOT engineers to engage with the community and to learn first-hand from pedestrians with visual impairments. Participants will have the chance to experience wayfinding by use of a cane as well as learning other cues that help pedestrians with visual impairments navigate pedestrian facilities.

 Pedestrians Engage in a Vision Simulation

Pedestrians Engage in a Vision Simulation

If you have any opportunities for community engagement that involve the needs for pedestrians with disabilities in the Seattle public rights-of-way, we encourage you to contact SDOT’s ADA Coordinator, Michael Shaw at (206) 615-1974 or by email at