Council backs SR 509 extension to I-5; reminds fireworks are illegal in Burien


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By Jack Mayne

Even though the Burien City Council unanimously endorsed a state project to finish the connection of State Route 509, it is not expected to cost local taxpayers any Burien money.

The Council was told by Public Works Director Maiya Andrews that completing SR 509 to I-5 is to complete the connection to the regional transportation network, which supports travel to destinations in the south.

The Council voted 6-0 to support a memorandum of understand for the project that, so far, says city taxpayers will be not be expected to pay for the work. Councilmember Nancy Tosta was excused from the meeting.

Travel times may improve
“Access from the south will be supported in the by northbound and southbound ramps at SW 188th Street,” said a summary of the project Andrews provided for the Council. The completion of the 188th Street interchange is now included in the project. Travel times will not change significantly for locations north, but there are “significant reductions in travel time to destinations to the east and south accessible via the new SR 509 alignment.

“For trips to the south and east that can use the new SR 509 alignment, there are notable travel time savings. Trips to and from Kent are expected to be 5–10 minutes shorter, with the greatest reductions in southbound evening peak travel. For Federal Way trips are expected to be up to 20 minutes shorter, with morning northbound trips experiencing the largest reductions,” the Council agenda said.

Only Burien has not signed the memorandum of understanding for the project and “some if those parties have expressed interest in Burien signing to show support of the project” to help identify and get grants and further assistance of financing from the Washington Legislature “even though there is no expectation of financial contribution from Burien.”

Andrews said a memo from the project director, Craig Stone, wants Burien to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the project even though at present there is no potential cost for local taxpayers.

“What the MOU effectively does for Burien, what it requires us to do is to support the state on grants and on legislation supporting the project,” said Andrews. “It does not require us to provide any money because we are not listed” as having projects directly involving the state redevelopment of the 509 alignment.

Fireworks illegal in Burien
New Burien Police Chief Ted Boe said “emphasis patrols” will be held and various outreaches conducted to citizens concerning the Burien fireworks season. Boe reminded Council that fireworks are illegal in the city, but his department is gearing up to handle the usual large number of calls with emphasis on areas where there have been large numbers of calls in the past.

“Our preference is compliance with the law the way it is written,” Boe said, “We also have the option of giving civil infractions for $125 or confiscating anyone’s fireworks in their position in the city limits.” He said police will circulate notices of the illegality of fireworks in the city to a wide area, include social media, mainstream media and visits to apartment complexes. There is also an information sheet going out to people in their utility bills.

The chief said there would be police emphasis patrols informing people with his officers and those from Fire District 2 together starting June 29 through July 3. Fire District 2 Assistant Fire Chief Ray Pettigrew (pictured below) said his people try to educate people on the laws and regulations, leaving enforcement to police. The holiday is usually a very busy one for his people, he said.

Correspondence online
City Manager Brian Wilson said the newly redesigned city website now allows the city to include with the council agenda easy access to Correspondence to the Council (click here for direct link). The issue of access to the incoming correspondence has caused difficulties in the past, as it was once included on the agenda, then removed. But now Wilson said it will be easy for Councilmembers, and citizens, to click the date of the correspondence and follow the links to the desired document.

Wilson said items are still available in hard copy form at the front desk on the third floor of city hall.

Councilmember Bob Edgar said items sent to all members of the Council are not picked up for the listing but those sent to a single member are automatically in the document center and thereby to the Council and available to residents.

Increased Building Permits
Community Development Director Chip Davis told Council the state has increased the amount it will charge the city for buildling permits which, in turn, prompts the city to adopt the costs of building permits that fall under the International Residential Code.

The new costs approved by Council unanimously are $6.50 for the first unit and $2 for each additional unit and projects under the International Building Code or the International Existing Building Code will go to a flat fee of $25.

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