The Dipsea Stairs.
The Dipsea stairs are part of the history of the illustrious Dipsea race. The Dipsea race has been run (more or less) continueously from downtown Mill Valley to the beach at Stinson beach for more than 100 years. I (myself) have run it almost for 30 years. The Stairs themselves - run up and down one of Mill Valley's numerous lanes that the City is very interested in maintaining (on old parcel maps it's known as Hale Lane.) And this is where the Dipsea Foundation steps into the story.
For Many years - Jerry Hauke (one of the many illustrious directors of the race) had taken it upon himself to use his rather large brood of children to repair and maintain the trail that is known as the Dipsea Trail. Jerry stepped down sometime ago to hand the race over to his son - but his son had a completely unexpected , completely untimely and tragic death . The running community to this day - continues to mourn his loss.
Now the race is managed by secretive group of individuals known as the Dipsea Committee. Many of these members also serve on the Dipsea Foundation. The Dipsea Foundation is a charitable organization that is - in part, funded by the Dipsea race itself but the foundation also solicits funds from individuals and business as well.
The foundation attempts to preserve and maintain the history of the race but also endeavors to assist in maintaining the actual trail iteself. Hence the Dipsea stair project was born.
The Flight of stairs you will see pictured here on this web site is only the third of three flights. The first flight originates near Old Mill Park near downtown Mill Valley. The second flight is a short jog up a couple of connecting streets near by the end of the first and the third flight begins about 100 yards south of the top of the third flight.
The project was exceptionally challenging. Because the lane is essentially a public street (Hale Lane) - numerous utilities are using the lane to transit between the two streets it connects. There is a gas line, water line and a couple of storm drains buried directly under the stairs. The original design called for numerous individual piers to be drilled 30" into the ground for the railing posts. I suggested a change in the design that essentially called for extending the treads (stair tops) on either side of the stair case in such a way as to minimize the excavation. We also added numerous footings at each of the pairs of posts in an effort to improve connection between the earth and the stairs. The terrain in this area is extrememly steep and was difficult to work on. All the wood was high quality clear redwood . The concrete that actually did the concrete work on the job was Whiteside Concrete Construction.