Advocates call for plaza above U District light rail station by Amy Radil

KUOW - Advocates call for plaza above U District light rail station

by Amy Radil - November 14th, 2013

A group called “U District Square” is asking the University of Washington to help create a European-style public plaza around the neighborhood’s future light rail station.

Cory Crocker, who studied architecture at the University of Washington and overseas, said he’s trying to build support for a public plaza atop the planned light rail station on Brooklyn Avenue. 

“We don’t have an urban hardscape space that’s surrounded by businesses and cafes and life throughout the day like they do in Europe,” Crocker said. “And that’s the part I miss, and I think we can create it here.”

The Brooklyn Avenue station is part of the Northgate Link, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

Crocker said it could be home to the neighborhood farmer’s market and other public events. The University of Washington would own the rights to the space over the light rail station once it’s built. Crocker’s group hopes to persuade the UW to allow the plaza and build a planned office tower somewhere else, with help from the city.

Doug Campbell, owner of the Bulldog News, told the UW Regents that the plaza would help to create a more stable and inviting neighborhood. 

“Very few UW faculty and staff choose to live in our neighborhood core, especially if they are raising a family,” Campbell said. “This needs to change.”

Former mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck also supports the plan. Orin Smith, who chairs the UW Board of Regents, said the group made a “compelling presentation.” The university’s administration would also have to weigh in with a recommendation as the light rail construction proceeds.

By Amy Radil

The published report can be found on the KUOW website.