A well-hidden stairway on the Cedar Park route has long been a favorite of ours. On our first encounter, this particular stairway was easy to miss, dropping quickly away from NE 42nd Avenue into a generous cover of trees and shrubs.
An initial flight of just 27 steps ended in a very narrow asphalt pathway running through a shallow ravine. We wondered (in an excited way) where this path was taking us! We could hear a brook running alongside the path, and then see it cross underfoot just as we came to a final flight of stairs dropping down to the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Well the news is that for now, this stairway is closed for replacement by the City. It's a significant part of the route, so if you just bought the book and are raring to try some routes, we suggest you do other ones until about the end of the year, when the city says the job should be done.
The new stairs are located just a few feet south of the old ones, but in keeping with the city's stairway construction policy they'll be wider, have more substantial double handrails, and they'll include a runnel on the side so bicyclists can roll their wheels up and down. There will be more steps too; we made a preliminary count of 46 steps compared to 27 with the old stairway. The old stairway will be removed.
This will change the character of this part of the route, since a couple of trees were removed and the area has been cleared to make way for a new stairway alongside. It's safe to say that the stairway will be more visible and in-the-open. It also might be useful to bicyclists who want to get through this part of the neighborhood down to the Burke-Gilman trail. All those things are good for the 'hood, but we will miss the old, mysterious, "hidden" stairs.
Here are a few pictures showing the construction and other views of the route that we captured on a sunny November day.