This Month: November 2009 
November 2009: Galer Stairways, Seattle, WA 
In Seattle one can travel on foot from Lake Union to the top of Queen Anne Hill  via three sets of stairways (plus some streets).  These stairways are the Galer Stairways: Lower (#9), Middle (#10), and Upper (#12).  They go from the west side of Lake Union to the top of adjacent Queen Anne Hill.  When added together (plus the 38 stairs between lower Taylor and upper Taylor) they total 504 stairs. Too bad they are not continuous. 
Galer Stairways: #9 Lower - #10 Middle - #11 Upper
The Galer Stairways start on the east side of Westlake Avenue North, cross over the roadway via a pedestrian overpass and then head up the east side of Queen Anne Hill.  The Lower Galer Stairway ends at Dexter Avenue and then one has to make a short sidewalk journey up the hill to reach the base of the middle stairway just below Aurora Avenue. Originally Aurora Avenue provided a barrier to pedestrian travel, but in the early 2000s the city constructed a pedestrian bridge over Aurora at Galer.  The bridge links to the stairs on the west side of Aurora Avenue and the upward climb continues.
Westlake Avenue pedestrian bridge and Lower Galer (#9)
Aurora Avenue pedestrian bridge and Middle Galer (#10)
The final climb is up the Upper Galer Stairway between 5th Avenue West and 4th Avenue West.  The higher one goes the better the view until the stairs end near the summit of Queen Anne Hill.  I had the opportunity to talk to one of the homeowners who lives adjacent to the upper stairway.  He said that he bought his house in 1947.  Today he pays more in annual property tax than he originally paid for the house some 60 years ago.  Of course the house is worth a lot more today than it was in 1947, so he can't complain too much. 
Once the top of the stairs is reached continue west some five to six blocks to reach Queen Anne Avenue and the local business district. There you will find plenty of small restaurants and shops to explore before heading back down the stairs to Lake Union.
Lower section of Upper Galer (#11)
Upper section of Upper Galer (#11)