Centered on the Ave Scheme
This concept would place a public square centered on the intersection of University Way and 43rd Avenue, right at the heart of the U District. The area above the new light rail station to the west of the square would be a five-story new traffic-oriented development building (T.O.D.) directly above the station as described for the current City scheme above. One variation could be the inclusion of a pedestrian passage connecting the plaza to the UW Tower just west of Brooklyn Avenue.
The public square would have limited vehicular access (possibly including a street car system as shown). Properties at the corners of the plaza intersection would need to be purchased and new buildings at the perimeter of the square could have direct frontage onto the adjacent pedestrian areas.
The public square could be complemented by amenities for pedestrian use such as planter/benches, kiosks, outdoor sculpture (especially at the intersection of 43rd and “The Ave” as shown) and/or a fountain/pool, an electronic graphics display board, and possibly even a large glass canopy (not shown) to provide flexible inclement weather use. Sidewalk cafes would be a possibility with this scheme where activities in the plaza could be viewed while dining.
- Provides significant relief space for crowds of light rail users
- Completely matches City’s current light rail T.O.D. building design
- Provides new public-use space for markets and fairs in the U District area
- Provides indirect open space for the UW Tower office building
- Creates a strong new focus to the U District
- Eases pedestrian traffic flow to/from the UW campus and UW Tower (via a building tunnel as shown)
- Could accommodate a sculpture/fountain feature at U District’s center
- Maximizes potential for pedestrian-oriented retail/cafes directly bordering the public square
- Allows creation of a significant sculptural icon visible from blocks away
- Maximizes pedestrian traffic through the square creating “defensible space”
- Would not allow natural light directly into light rail mezzanine below grade
- Center area of plaza not as pedestrian-oriented (roadway intersection)
- Requires multiple private (and Post Office) property acquisitions at four corners of intersection
- Plan would be enhanced by reducing vehicular traffic on both “The Ave” and 43rd for stronger pedestrian orientation