Council hears of proposed Ambaum changes for Metro Rapid Ride H line


Print This Post  Email This Post

By Jack Mayne

King County Metro Transit proposed changes to Ambaum Blvd. SW at Monday night’s Burien City Council Study Session, as a way to accommodate its new Rapid Ride H that will replace bus Route 120 by the year 2020.

The Council agenda noted that the “upgrade of Route 120 to bus rapid transit service means that riders will have higher quality amenities, more reliable travel times, faster travel times, and more frequent service.”

Public Works Director Maiya Andrews introduced Jerry Roberson, a Metro program manager to outline the system’s new Rapid Ride H-Line Service which will “replace and substantially improve” the current Route 120 which connects Burien to Downtown Seattle via Westwood Village. Andrews said that in order to get bus rapid transit into Burien, Metro and the city have to make improvements on Ambaum and will return on April 23 to update the Council on the final design of the project.

Benefitting to citizens
Roberson said Metro wants residents know that it isn’t “only attempting to carry forth a transportation plan but also to show that we are intent on providing a benefit to the citizens of Burien.”

Rapid Ride, said Roberson, is Metro’s “premium and arterial bus rapid transit product, right-sized for its communities.”

“Start of revenue service is currently planned for the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021 depending on paving coordination with Seattle Department of Transportation for the Seattle segment along Delridge Way” which should be decided soon, Roberson said.

Current lines A through F “carry about 65 percent more riders” than before they were started, he said, and carry about 67,000 passengers every work day at a 27 percent faster pace than before it was started.

The F line, which currently serves Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, and Renton, now gives what Metro calls “streamlined service to major employers, stores … residential areas, medical facilities, and other services.”

Open house April 7
The Rapid Ride H line work is nearing completion of planning and in June the project will enter the design phase, Roberson said, with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2019. Soon residents and businesses in the Ambaum area will get a Metro postcard outlining the program and providing ways to contact Metro with problems or questions.

Metro has a planned a Saturday, April 7 Open House at 10 a.m. at the Burien Community Center. There will be canvassing of residents and businesses for comments, suggestions and the expected complaints.

Some proposed changes on the H line will require some upgrades along Ambaum, Roberson said, including at SW 136th Street where there will be sidewalks added, as well as relocating “non compliant, unsafe strip parking that will connect neighbors east of Ambaum to H Line stations.”

At the Burien Transit Center “much needed pedestrian improvements are proposed,” Roberson said, to “better accommodate additional foot traffic and increased frequencies.” The Transit Center will get a new pedestrian access path “adjacent to the bank property at the south end of the property” along with increased visibility crosswalks and new vehicle turning lanes for increased pedestrian safety.

Ambaum changes
On Ambaum, there will be new “protected pedestrian crossings” at 139th, 142nd and 150th, he said, along with a new crossing 150th between 6th and 4th avenues and wider sidewalks along Ambaum between 16th and 136th if a certain crosswalk proposal is accepted, Roberson said. A traffic signal would be added to the 150th intersection.

In addition there will be “intersection improvements to assist with safe turning movement” including reconfiguring the 116th and Ambaum intersection to “provide an exclusive westbound traffic turn lane, improving operations for all vehicles” plus a second left turn lane at 128th and Ambaum.

Police study
The Council was told by City Manager Brian Wilson of a potential to hire an outside firm to study the police departments of both Burien and SeaTac that would include the potential of a joint review of police services in the cities of SeaTac and Burien. Currently both cities contract for police services from the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Councilmember Pedro Olguin wondered if such a study would examine the problems of operating a unified force with different city requirements, a matter that Wilson said would be in an potential study.

New Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht had been slated to brief the Council, but sent word to City Manager Brian Wilson she was unable to attend. Mayor Jimmy Matta asked Wilson to reschedule her appearance.

Stephanie VanderVelden was appointed to the Burien Human Services Commission to serve an unexpired term that will end on March 31, 2019.

Print This Post  Email This Post

Comments are closed.