Since late 2011, DPD has been working with the U District community toward completion of an Urban Design Framework in April of this year. The Urban Design Framework will provide broad guidance for future development, streetscapes, public spaces, and other investments as the neighborhood changes over the coming decades. Much of the change anticipated in the U District will result from the light rail coming on-line in 2021, bringing 12,000 riders to the neighborhood daily.
DPD anticipates several key work products in the coming three years: Land Use Code amendments (rezones), streetscape concept work, and possible amendments to design guidelines for the neighborhood. We have been working intensively with members of the community in partnership with other government agencies and City departments.
The University District Livability Partnership (UDLP) is a broad coalition of U District residents, students, business owners, social service providers, the University of Washington, other property owners, and members of the faith community, with sponsorship from the Chamber of Commerce, the UW, and the City of Seattle. The (UDLP) includes extensive involvement from City departments including the Office of Economic Development, DPD, Neighborhoods, Transportation, Police, and Parks. The UDLP released its strategic plan for Seattle’s University District in late February 2012. The strategic plan document is available at www.udistrictlivabilitypartnership.org.
Between October and January, the UDLP sponsored three community-wide meetings called “U District Next: A Community Conversation.” Hundreds of residents, neighbors, and other constituents attended these events and participated in group discussions. Videos of the talks can be viewed at udnext.com.
In addition to those meetings, DPD has hosted over a dozen meetings with the University District Livability Partnership’s Urban Design Working Group to discuss land use planning, streets and transportation choices, public space, and urban design in the U District. These sessions helped create a draft Urban Design Framework.
Next Steps for Community Input
DPD and the UDLP will present a revised draft of the Urban Design Framework to the community at an open house in late March. Public commentary on the draft Urban Design Framework will be accepted throughout March. In mid-2013, DPD will begin scoping an Environmental Impact Statement to begin the technical analysis of several development scenarios consistent with the Urban Design Framework.
Visit the website, www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/University_District/ProjectInformation/index.htm, for information about the Urban Design Framework and updates on the U District Planning process, or contact: