City Of Burien Releases Study On Ways To Improve SW 153rd Corridor
The City of Burien released a new study Wednesday (Oct. 12) that focuses on finding ways to improve the SW 153rd Street corridor, with hopes of it becoming its “own unique destination.”
The study was created by a 12-person panel of local business owners, residents and artists, as well as members of the BEDP, Parks Department, City Council and other related groups. It outlines enhancements the city says are needed to help the district, with more than 90 small businesses, reach its economic potential.
The city’s goal is to “create a strong, unique identity for SW 153rd Street as a destination corridor in downtown Burien” according to the study.
Here’s more from the study, which can be downloaded as a PDF file here:
SW 153rd … is inconspicuous relative to other areas of downtown, such as SW 152nd Street and 4th Avenue SW, and the City desires to look at ways to support and enhance its economic vitality. Opportunities to give the corridor a stronger identity and clearer wayfinding are important to its economic vitality within downtown. With over 90 businesses located between 1st Avenue S to the east and Ambaum Boulevard SW to the west, the corridor is ready to be discovered as its own unique destination in downtown.
As a preliminary step, the goal of this study was to identify whether there is support from business and property owners for enhancements and to discuss what direction those enhancements should take. This study does not identify actual solutions but is meant to provide the context for enhancements. The next step will be to convene a stakeholder group, along with designers, to develop concepts and a budget.
The initial stakeholder group meetings found a consensus around the need to improve the corridor. As a result of this process, the following design goals were identified for the corridor:
- Create a unified commercial corridor that supports businesses.
- Strengthen the business environment by supporting the full range of businesses.
- Provide clear wayfinding to the corridor at key locations.
- Provide pedestrian amenities to encourage a more friendly business environment.
- Provide parking management for both the corridor and downtown.
- Create a strong, unique identity for the corridor that the businesses can associate with.
Part of the challenge the panel found was that the SW 153rd Street corridor is a very wide, auto-oriented commercial/retail street. In comparison, SW 152nd Street is a narrow, pedestrian-oriented commercial/retail street. The buildings along SW 153rd Street are generally about 180’ apart. Buildings on SW 152nd Street in Olde Burien are 60’ apart – one-thirds closer to each other.
“The SW 153rd street realm is about three times wider than most commercial main streets,” the report reads. “This results in storefronts that are very far from the roadway. This diminishes the presentation and legibility of individual storefronts, with their storefront signs being less clear.”
As anyone who’s driven down SW 153rd can attest, it does seem very wide, which presents a challenge in how to make it more user-friendly without having to re-build it at a huge cost? We here at The B-Town Blog wonder:
“What the heck were our city planners thinking when they designed this street? That we’d all be driving super-wide Cadillacs with really big fins?”
The report concludes with photos of various street-oriented works of art, and is meant as a starting point for further discussion. Here’s some of them:
We recommend you download the PDF here, take time to read it, then come back here and chime in with a Comment – we’re curious to hear your ideas on how you’d improve SW 153rd’s appeal?