4th Street Stairway Of Death Becoming Less Deadly

4th Street Stairway Of Death Becoming Less Deadly

[Thanks to DANA’s Greg Anderson for the pics!]

If you’ve been to the downtown Austin warehouse district you might agree that part of the appeal is the intermittent above grade pedestrian experience.  Always precarious, though I never witnessed anyone fall.  The staircase across from the Spaghetti Warehouse has always been especially dicey.

The City of Austin is making some changes.  You will no longer risk breaking an ankle (or a head) crossing the street at 4th & Colorado.

Was it mom and stroller friendly?  No.  Was it ADA friendly?  No way.  Was it deadly?  Well, almost, but not because of the stairs.  Was it charmingly awkward?  I think so.

Is this a good use of city funds right now, perhaps at the greater expense of the neighborhood’s magic formula?  You be the judge.

BTW, have you joined DANA yet?

So long stairs!

So long stairs!

Uninspired design

Can we at least have some ivy or vines on the walls?

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. I contacted the city about this. Given how much the elevated pedestrian experience characterizes the Warehouse district, I wanted to know why there was no public input on the tear down and design.

    The answer I got is that the ADA has been lobbying the city to take action here (specifically surrounding the need to accommodate convention visitors).

    A worthy cause, to be sure. However, the resulting design is antiseptic, lacking of character, and a blank canvass for taggers.

    Also, Great Streets are planned for this block of 4th Street but have been postponed to facilitate more discussion of a street car system. Thus, what we have now is a stop-gap solution.

  2. That will be good for downtown. Though my son always loved those stairs, but not as much as the wood ones at Spaghetti Factory.

  3. Oh come on, those stairs are infamous and tons of fun. They are are drunkenness litmus test!

  4. I love ADA but will miss the character these steps provided.

  5. The sketch is of 4th @ Colorado. You’re thinking of 4th @ Lavaca. That corner will be known as the “Stairway of Doom” instead of “Stairway of Death”.

  6. As someone who risks his neck on those stairs all the time, I’m glad. But what happened to Halcyon in the sketch? Will it be vaporized? I note, too, that’ll I have to go way out of my way to get there on my way back, thanks to that rail.

  7. avatar Amber G. says:

    I love that joke from Jim Gaffigan:

    “Stairs are just an organized hill….”

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