The U-District Partnership will host a community forum on Tuesday, October 7th at 7pm at Alder Hall (1310 NE 40th Street) with the Seattle planning and parks departments to discuss public open space in the the University District, one of Seattle’s most populous neighborhoods. Despite being adjacent to a major university campus, according to the U-District Parks Plan the area has less than half of the recommended park and open space it needs. An under-construction light rail station and impending upzone have prompted debate about how to ensure future residents and employees have enough breathing room.
The U-District Partnership is an organization of business and university leaders focused on creating a vibrant neighborhood. U-District Square is a separate group of citizens who are specifically advocating for constructing a plaza on top of the light rail station, which is scheduled to open in 2021, and who are also leading the effort to construct an adjacent parklet on 43rd Street (Kickstarter campaign). The City of Seattle is also considering the feasibility of converting 43rd and 42nd Streets, which are east-west streets connecting with the university campus, into “green streets” with landscaping and pedestrian improvements. Brooklyn Avenue near the station is being studied for traffic calming and bicycle improvements, and may even be designated as a festival street for farmer’s markets and other frequent events.
Major existing open spaces in the neighborhood only include Cowen Park and a parking lot at the University Heights Community Center, and there are at least two P-Patches for community gardening. The large median within Campus Parkway, which is pedestrian accessible, is being eyed for major improvements.
The forum will continue with two additional events on October 30th and December 3rd.