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Urban Planning & Policy

UDP works with local stakeholders and policymakers on a variety of policy and urban planning issues, including mobility and transportation, long-term visioning for our changing built environment, housing policy, support for the creative sector, infrastructure planning, and construction management. The initiatives below are a major part of our projects and priorities for the district.

Lid I-5: North Seattle

A growing coalition of stakeholders from the U District, Roosevelt and Wallingford are considering the possibility of building a lid over a portion of I-5 between NE 45th and NE 50th Streets. There is renewed attention to freeway lids on the national stage and in other areas of Seattle, like downtown, South Park, and Montlake. Led by UDP, the North Seattle group began meeting in the summer of 2022 to build support for the project. The group hopes to secure funding for a feasibility study, similar to one conducted for the Lid I-5 downtown group. 2023 activities will include summer walking tours, a community visioning process, and education and engagement at local events. Learn more about Lid I-5 North Seattle here.

U District Arts and Culture Initiative

In 2022 UDP launched a new Arts and Culture Initiative focused on creating long-term partnership and vision to support the diverse arts and culture organizations in the U District. Through a series of large stakeholder group meetings and small working group meetings, the initiative has created a vision and strategic short and long term directions for a collaborative effort. Priorities for 2023-2024 include ongoing collaboration between U District arts and culture organizations, an inventory of arts and culture assets and spaces in the neighborhood, design of a series of regular events, and marketing and branding support for organizations and the initiative.

U District Bike Network

As the U District continues to grow and upgrade its transportation infrastructure, policymakers have an opportunity to invest in a network of safe and accessible bike connections to serve the neighborhood, the new light rail station, and the 80,000 people who come to the University of Washington campus every day. The U District Partnership is working with stakeholders from the U District and surrounding neighborhoods to advocate for a safe, complete, and efficient bike network in North Seattle. Priorities for this advocacy include a complete north-south and east-west bike lane network, improvements along the popular Burke Gilman Trail, robust protected bike lanes and greenways, and a long-term solution for cyclists to cross I-5.

NE 42nd Greenway Revisioning

UDP is collaborating with neighborhood stakeholders on an engagement and conceptual design process to re-envision the sidewalk and street space of NE 42nd St between UW campus and Brooklyn Ave NE. The goal of the project is to redesign 42nd Street as a place for people to experience and stay, and which will act as a welcoming and accessible gateway between the UW campus and the U District. Priorities include creating a pedestrian-friendly environment along the corridor, which could include widened sidewalks for accessible passage, outdoor seating for adjacent businesses, strengthened connections to the Allegro Alley and the Ave, and mature trees and planting. There may also be planning around temporary events and activations.

Rapid Ride J Line

Providing fast and reliable bus service for the neighborhoods of Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, and University District, the current bus route 70 is planned to be upgraded to a Rapid Ride bus line. Rapid Ride buses provide enhanced speeds, headway reliability and public realm improvements like new paving, protected bike lanes, and adequate accessibility. Planned to be finished in 2026, the J Line will terminate at U District Station. The UDP is working with the Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro to ensure the public realm updates associated with the bus line provide the most benefit and least impact for the neighborhood. Learn more about the Rapid Ride J Line

Sound Transit Development Site

UDP has long-advocated for sufficient affordable housing, as well as proper ground-floor activation and amenities for buildings.