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Community concern about UW expansion plan

Published on July 5, 2017 by Angela Nhi Nguyen

The University of Washington has revealed a 10-year plan to expand its Seattle campus and some people are voicing their concerns about the effects it could have.

It's called the Campus Master Plan, a proposal to grow the main UW campus by six million square feet within a decade.

Some are expressing concerns about the plan, saying it could contribute to the city's transportation and affordable housing problems.

Pam Honegger works in the University District and said costs are why she doesn't live in the city.

"I would love to live within walking distance or biking distance of my job, but there's just no way,” Honegger said. “I'd have to do another full-time job just to be able to do that."

People like David West are also cautious of the plan. He's part of the U District Alliance for Equity and Livability, a group that advocates for community and local labor. They also released a report on the past and present growth of the Seattle campus.

"The UW is making no effort to improve their transit pass for employees to make it more affordable for low-wage workers," West said.

For its part, the university said the master plan is mainly intended to address growth.

Theresa Doherty is the senior project director.

"I know there are some people concerned about that, but the Campus Master Plan isn't really the document or the place that outlines how the university is going to fund that particular program," Doherty said.

Doherty said the plan doesn't have any adverse impacts because growth was already anticipated.

The Seattle City Council and the University of Washington's Board of Regents must approve this plan before it's finalized.

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