Summer Green Street poster at the 2024 U District Streetfair booth

U District Green Street Summer Activation

A Summer Pilot of the Green Street on NE 42nd

Let's Try Out a 'Green Street' This Summer!

With your 1,686 votes at last year's Streetfair, we developed a design plan to  transform NE 42nd Street into a 'Green Street', providing a vision for a future, permanent change to this vital connection between  The Ave and UW campus. 

At this year's Streetfair (May 18-19), this project received another 391 votes amongst intense competition to demonstrate strong community support for the proposed summer activation. 

If awarded the requested funding for this summer, we'll bring in potted trees, outdoor seating, play equipment, and lighting. We'll paint street murals and set up a stage for outdoor concerts, art shows, and movie nights. The goal is to create an attraction to enjoy over the warm days and nights, and bring more foot traffic to local businesses. The project will also address the five-acre deficit in open space and ensure the U District remains livable, sustainable, and accessible as it grows. 

As a form of 'tactical urbanism' (quick, cheap, and temporary modifications), all of this activity will culminate with the U District Food Walk, when The Ave is again prioritized for people on Saturday, September 28.  

Come join the fun!

Guiding Principles

Throughout our project development, these are our guiding principles:
Create places for people, centered on the pedestrian experience
Embrace superior & sustainable urban design best practices
Provide for the needs of local stakeholders & small businesses
Enhance the connection between campus & community

The Project

During this summer (June-October), we will build out our proposed Green Street as a prototype to test public responses to the improvement strategies from the completed conceptual plan to make NE 42nd Street safer and more pedestrian-friendly. This 'tactical urbanism' project will set the stage with outdoor seating, temporary trees in planters, traffic calming, play structures, and pavement painting, phased in over a series of weeks.

Once ready, we will host a series of free activities to include outdoor concerts, art installations for art walk, outdoor movies, buskers, and community gathering of all kinds. These temporary installments are to test ideas for permanent installation and/or eventual capital improvements for this community space. It will also activate this public area in the heart of the U District during the summer.

We have the roadmap and we have the street, now let's build it together!

Community Benefits

If last year’s successful product was the recipe, this year’s will be the pudding. Through quick, temporary activation of one section of NE 42nd Street, this project will bring so many benefits to the U District’s dense urban center:

  • Activation of the public right-of-way on 2 blocks of a non-arterial street
  • Improved safety and accessibility to campus, light rail, & the main shopping street
  • Pedestrian prioritization with traffic calming measures
  • Increased tree canopy and vegetation using temporary trees in planters
  • Outdoor seating and play areas, including large chess board
  • Musical performances, street markets, outdoor movies, buskers, and other activities
  • Increased foot traffic and economic activity for adjacent small businesses
  • Volunteer, community-led placemaking within an engaged neighborhood
  • A demonstration of how one street can be transformed to inspire other neighborhoods

Community Involvement

Our novel approach is to build and activate the street with volunteers, phased in over a period of weeks, sequentially focused on: Surface, Vegetation, Lighting, Furniture, Music, & Art. Once the transformation is complete, and throughout the summer, our project will support three scheduled events: U District Streetfair (volunteer activity only), U District Art Walk, and U District Food Walk, as well as intermittent events. The goal is to create a temporary space by and for the community, following the priorities of our conceptual plan.

Our project fulfills the promise of the new Seattle Transportation and Comprehensive Plans that: "Communities should be the ones to shape spaces in their neighborhoods." Last year we developed the conceptual plan together, reaching a consensus approach, and this year we implement those prioritized strategies to invite the general public to experience a summer-long 'mockup' of the Green Street where we will collect feedback on which temporary measures might be incorporated into a future permanent redesign of the street. This ‘tactical urbanism’ approach was the revolutionary recommendation from other cities’ success stories, like in Copenhagen, New York City, and Barcelona.

Building upon our successful public engagement efforts within our diverse community, we will host a streetfair booth, deliver presentations to stakeholders, produce a project website and newsletters, conduct on-site surveys, organize a representative steering committee, and host free events to activate the street. This project leverages the exceptional involvement of community members over the past decade as we continue our partnerships with the U District Community Council, U District Partnership, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, among others. At last year's streetfair booth this project garnered 1,686 votes in support, by far the most popular program initiative! We feel that community support and involvement has been sufficiently verified.

Volunteer Opportunities

As on previous projects, volunteers will be engaged on our steering committee, during the phased transformation of the street, at special events, and for general project management. There are several volunteer opportunities: 1) serving on the Steering Committee, 2) hosting our engagement booth at the Streetfair, 3) collaborating on each of the six phased weeks of installation, 4) hosting events throughout the summer, and 5) breaking down the installation at summer's end.

Already, we have several pledged volunteers, many of whom have volunteered on past community projects, and we anticipate increasing the number of volunteers with this fun summer project. To manage our volunteers, we propose hiring a project coordinator (Work Study student at the University of Washington) and employing our online project management system for efficiency and effectiveness.

Project Timeline

Check back later for an updated timeline, or subscribe to stay in the loop on this project. 

More Info

For more information on the project, and to subscribe for frequent updates, visit the website at: You may also email us at
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Funding provided by the Neighborhood Matching Fund of the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Additional funding provided by 4Culture of King County and the U District Advocates, who serves as our fiscal sponsor.
City of Seattle
4 Culture
U District Advocates

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