[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Guest Editorial by Joe Fitzgibbon, Planning Commissioner for the City of Burien:]

GUEST EDITORIAL: Why Burien Should Approve The Transportation Benefit District 5by Joe Fitzgibbon

The residents of Burien will have the opportunity this November to vote YES for investments in bicycle and pedestrian facilities. For the price of a half tank of gas, we can make our city safer for our kids and families walking and biking.

As The B-Town Blog has previously reported, a YES vote on the Transportation Benefit District and the proposed $25 vehicle license fee will enable the City of Burien build bicycle lanes, provide safer connections to schools, and repair inadequate sidewalks to increase the mobility of our seniors. I hope you will join me in voting YES to approve this levy to make our city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Over 400 Burien residents helped shape what we want our city to look like through the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans. All agreed that our city would be a better place if people could easily get around on two feet or two wheels. Since then, the city has completed some projects, but our progress has slowed because of the competing demands on the city budget — roads, parks, and public safety.

A YES vote on the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy will enable the city to keep moving ahead with some of the highest priority projects from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Master Plan–specifically, improvements to S and SW 136th St and 8th Ave S.

This is a great time for us to tackle these improvements. Construction projects are coming in under budget because demand for residential construction has declined. It is likely that we won’t ever be able to build these projects more cheaply than we are able to right now.GUEST EDITORIAL: Why Burien Should Approve The Transportation Benefit District 6

The benefits of better pedestrian and bike infrastructure are numerous and include improved home value, making students safer, and saving school districts money that can instead be used for teaching. It can save you money too. It reduces emissions and makes our air cleaner. It encourages healthy and active lifestyles.

Opponents suggest the cost of improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety is too high and this is not the right time to make our streets safer for walkers and bikers like students at Kennedy High School and Cedarhurst Elementary.

I disagree. The cost of this investment is less than seven cents a day, per vehicle. We must not sacrifice the safety of our children and our quality of life here in Burien.

And our community partners all agree; organizations including the American Heart Association, Washington Conservation Voters, and the 34th District Democrats have all endorsed the Sidewalks and Bikes Levy.

If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected] Let’s vote YES for a healthier and safer Burien!

(Joe Fitzgibbon is helping lead the Safe Sidewalks Now campaign and is the chair of the Burien Planning Commission).

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