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Our new University District Construction Hub helps people and goods move through work zones and reach their destinations  

Signs show that there is construction ahead in U District. Photo: SDOT

You may have noticed a lot of construction going on in the University District. We know that it can be challenging to navigate these work zones, so we’ve established a new University District Construction Hub to help people and goods reach their destinations and travel in and around the neighborhood. 

So what is a Construction Hub, anyway? 

Construction Hubs help us bring together separate projects in a neighborhood into one holistic, coordinated system. Our Construction Hub coordinators work with private developers, public agencies, and utility companies to minimize disruptions caused by construction so that people can access destinations and move past work zones safely and efficiently.  

For example, we ensure that at least one sidewalk remains open per block and avoid closing major streets or sidewalks when other nearby streets are closed due to construction – or during large sports or multi-stadium events.  

The University District Construction Hub will: 

  • Improve coordination between multiple construction projects 
  • Help people and goods get to their destinations by avoiding multiple street and sidewalk closures 
  • Avoid future street closures by encouraging utility providers to complete in-street work at once while a street is under construction 
  • Help to cut down on carbon emissions from vehicles stuck in traffic during street closures 

The U District Hub started on April 1, meaning that all work that takes place on streets and sidewalks now needs to be coordinated and scheduled.   

We create a construction hub in neighborhoods like the U District where numerous construction projects – both public and private – are being built close to one another at the same time. We also create a hub in cases where one significant project has a big impact on surrounding streets and sidewalks, or in a sensitive area where we need to take extra care.   

Map of Construction Hubs in Seattle.
Map of Construction Hubs in Seattle. Graphic: SDOT

There are currently seven other Construction Hubs across the city: 

  • South Lake Union/Denny Triangle 
  • Uptown/Belltown 
  • Capitol Hill 
  • First Hill/Yesler Terrace 
  • Downtown/Pioneer Square 
  • Georgetown 
  • South Park 

You can find a map of these hubs on our Construction Hubs website.  

A new building under construction and road closure in U District.
A new building under construction and street closure in the U District. Photo: SDOT 

The U District is experiencing unprecedented investment and growth. 

The U District is growing at a quick pace, with more than 20 new towers proposed, over 3,700 residential units under development, and many new retail and commercial spaces on the way. Land use and transportation go hand in hand. The City’s transportation network is growing and improving in order to accommodate new developments and the influx of people that they bring. Sound Transit’s U District Light Rail station now supports 12,000 daily riders and SDOT is continuing to invest in transit projects to help people move through the neighborhood safely and efficiently.  Our new Construction Hub will help ensure effective coordination and communication during this period of increased construction and change. 

Map of the University District Construction Hub area, with the orange line showing its boundaries.
Map of the University District Construction Hub area, with the orange line showing its boundaries. Graphic: SDOT 

“I want to thank the University District Partnership for raising this great idea of having a dedicated construction coordinator here in in the U District and I appreciate SDOT and the Harrell Administration for making it happen. Due to the robust upzone approved by a previous City Council to allow bigger buildings here and the recent opening of the popular new light rail station, the U District is seeing many construction projects causing temporary growing pains with sidewalk detours and street disruptions for the increasingly vibrant neighborhood. A City construction coordinator dedicated to this hub of increased activity will help to smooth out any conflicts so we can maximize access and mobility during this period of transition in the neighborhood.”

– Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4, Northeast Seattle) 

“The U District is experiencing an unprecedented amount of development, with over twenty towers expected to come online in the next few years. The Construction Hub Program has improved permitting coordination and communication with the community through periods of significant growth and change in our center city. We thank the City for investing in this resource for the U District in the years ahead.”

– Don Blakeney, Executive Director, U District Partnership

Construction can create challenges for people to get where they need to go safely and efficiently. It can be especially challenging for people with disabilities or mobility challenges. 

With many of these projects directly affecting our streets and sidewalks, we must maintain safe, comfortable access for people traveling through these areas. We teamed up with Rooted in Rights to create a video to educate contractors and other people working in the right-of-way on maintaining a safe space for people to travel through construction sites. These tips aren’t just useful for people using wheelchairs – they make worksites safer for everyone! 

The video is embedded directly below – so you can just hit play! 

Construction site access: it’s important for everyone! Video produced in partnership with Rooted in Rights.

Construction Hub coordinators also help to identify and resolve potential conflicts between projects that overlap in time and geographic proximity. 

By grouping multiple projects in one Construction Hub, we can better anticipate potential travel disruptions in advance, and generate solutions so that people can continue to have access and travel through the neighborhood. The hubs also help us work more efficiently. 

For example, we coordinate between projects that include work on utilities so that multiple projects can plan and complete their work while a street is undergoing construction. This type of efficient collaboration helps the City of Seattle and utilities save time and money, and it reduces the number of overall street closures necessary during construction.  

Construction activity in Seattle's U District.
Construction activity in Seattle’s U District. Photo: SDOT 

Construction activity and materials can have a large carbon footprint. Effective coordination between nearby projects helps to reduce inefficient work and helps to cut down on carbon emissions from vehicles stuck in traffic during street closures.  

By introducing each new Construction Hub – such as this new one in the U District – we can make sure construction activities are completed as efficiently as possible, and that project materials are used deliberately, which allows us to be good environmental stewards and help advance Seattle’s climate goals, which include achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.