How do you get around Downtown Burien?

The City of Burien is preparing a Downtown Mobility Plan, and they want to hear from residents. “The Plan will focus on how you get to Downtown Burien and how you get around it once you’re here,” reads an announcement. “It will drive how we improve the overall look and feel of our city’s core. And you’re invited to share your insights at our Storefront Studio later this month.” Here’s more from the city’s website:
With Downtown Burien recognized by the Puget Sound Regional Council as one of 25 regional growth centers, the City has prioritized the need to plan for increased density and transportation management in the short and long term. In support of those goals, the City has initiated a Downtown Mobility Study to provide guidelines for a creative toolbox of policies and other regulatory amendments to the Zoning Code. As millennials enter the workforce and baby boomers downsize from their traditional family homes, companies are choosing to locate in walkable downtowns because that’s where these talented and experienced workers want to be. While many companies have relocated to urban areas, the increasing costs of living and doing business in a major metropolis have spurred interest in suburban edge cities. Rather than suburban office parks, walkable mixed-use suburban cities are attracting the most interest from new or relocating businesses. Burien has the potential to provide the qualities that these companies and individuals look for by offering a desirable downtown neighborhood. Across the region, residents are supporting locations where they have the opportunity to drive and park once to complete multiple tasks, or to use public transit, walk, or ride their bike. Additionally, businesses and employees value connectivity and a range of transportation, housing, and entertainment options. The ease of travel to and from Burien, affordable lease rates, and an active community offer a strong base from which to attract jobs and residents. The study will identify and evaluate strategies to support an integrated multimodal transportation system for the Downtown and Old Burien zones. While a parking study is included as an element of the evaluation, the consultant team is studying a combined and cohesive strategy to balance parking and vehicle circulation, transit access, land use regulations, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian facilities, alley activation, arts and cultural identity, economic growth, and stormwater management. This study will account for the varying needs of land uses and business types within the District by engaging with community members, business owners, and City Council and staff. The City is looking beyond standard transportation planning and envisions creation of a framework to support all elements of a thriving multi-use zone.
Here are the event details:
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 25, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Discover Burien, 427 SW 152nd Street INFO: The Storefront Studio provides you a chance to drop in, speak directly with staff and consultants, see work in-progress, learn about the process, take part in activities, and make suggestions to influence the Plan.
Walking Tour Want to learn more about mobility in Burien? Each day, we’ll lead a walking tour to see and evaluate downtown opportunities
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24, Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 25, Noon to 1 p.m.
WHERE: Discover Burien, 427 SW 152nd Street
mobility flyer cropMobility Workshop Not able to drop in during the Storefront Studio? Curious about what we’re learning? We’ll host an evening workshop at the end of the Studio event for participants to see and evaluate emerging plan goals and strategies.
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. WHERE: Burien City Hall, 400 SW 152nd Street
Learn more about the project at www.burienwa.gov/mobility. Downtown Mobility Study Consultant Team
  • Project Manager: Fehr & Peers Kendra Breiland
  • Urban Design: MAKERS John Owen
  • Economic Analysis: ECO Northwest Morgan Shook
  • Community Engagement: Studio Cascade William Grimes
  • Civil Engineering: Mayfly Robin Thaler

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

9 replies on “City of Burien seeking input on new Downtown Mobility Plan”

  1. Is there a parking problem in Burien? No of course not. The 2007 Parking study submitted to the city council, during a time of a thriving economy, reported there was no parking shortage and could not see one even 15 years out.
    Drive around Burien. Anyone and everyone can see the vacant buildings. Why? Because the current parking ordinance has kept investment in small business to a crawl. The policy adds up the square footage of your space and then spits out a requirement for parking stalls- and if you do not have them you must pay nearly 10K for each stall …..or they demand you to run around town like a homeless person begging property owners to deed you their stalls. Its so stupid that in the entire history of the program, and we are talking about more than ten years, no small business has ever paid for ghost stalls or found a property owner willing to give his property away. The policy has created no funds in more than ten years so why keep it, its not working. During last week’s city hall meeting the city manager claimed he finally had one fool to actually deed his property away…………one transaction in more than ten years………….wow, no wonder all these buildings are vacant. Seattle has no such policy. Seattle is vibrant with small business but the same business people refuse to come to Burien because of this silly policy. Hundreds and hundreds of small business people have been turned away by this silly policy.
    Take the Tin Room for example. Burien’s largest theater and oldest theater and only theater. One parking stall. But somehow the seats are always filled. This parking shortage is a myth. The Tin Room is a mobility study.
    Today we watch other cities thrive while we see for lease signs on every corner.
    There will never be a parking shortage in Burien. In fact, parking is improving as lifestyles change. Today people are trending away from owning cars…. using Uber and Lift to get around. This method of getting around is growing to the point that some are wondering if it might do away with the massive funds we spend on public transportation. Some cities are thinking ahead. Uber solves parking shortages. Other cities have figured this out. They have wisely removed these parking barriers. Seattle does not even ask about parking if you want to open a business under 2500 square feet.
    Well now Burien has raised the B&O tax and of course they have to spend these funds on parking studies because the parking ordinance they have has raised zero funds. So let’s spend it on mobility studies and branding. News Flash. If you cannot get rid of the parking barrier for small business then all the branding in the world will not bring in investors ……….except Starbucks and CVS……which is exactly what we see happening in Burien.
    Will this mobility study go anywhere? Or will it never end up on the city agenda. Please, please put the 2007 parking study on the agenda so our city council can do some work. The bottleneck is on the desk of our city manager. Give our city council members something to work on. Stop wasting on tax dollars on more studies an no action.
    See you at the mobility study meetings…………all we can do is continue trying.

    1. So john if only only big business’s like cvs and starbucks can move in to burien then how is computer sonics(moved from tukwila),Snack Gyro,Burien Fish House (has a fish truck but decided on burien over other cites for there restaurant),The Bite Sandwich Company and the new pot shop able to move in and have parking. Among all the other new small business’s around burien.

      1. Obviously the city’s formula spit out a number that was less than or equal to the number of stalls already linked to each of the properties. The number of stalls the city deems required is based on property square footage.
        Would you like someone to explain it a third time?

    2. John White, Thank you for the info on the parking space agenda of Burien. It sheds another light on how downtown Burien is unfriendly to new small businesses. I hope whoever decided to use square footage as a way of determining customer flow, is no longer in the city’s employ. I am assuming it is the property owners who pay for these parking spaces and then that cost is passed on to the tenants, which becomes a very big hurdle for any new business. You are certainly right that this parking space fiasco need to be addressed for the sake of a healhier business community in downtown Burien.
      On moving into the future of traveling around, I am a fan of Uber and the like, and agree that they are probably going to be a big part of future travel where they are accepted. But I do not see how they will ever accommodate the mass transit needs of all citizens. They are just too costly for daily commutes and people on fixed incomes or for those with handicaps who still live active lives. They are also not nearly so efficient as transit or rail for moving large numbers of people at peak rush hours. As the greater Burien area seems destine to become a bedroom community for Seattle’s new giants of commerce we will need to move larger and larger numbers of people around, quickly.
      As you say people are moving away from cars as a ‘ must’ for every individual. We have drifted away from giving every kid a car at graduation, as was pretty much the norm 30-40 years ago. It’s just too costly for many and our properties often cannot accommodate 3-4 cars in the driveway. People are consistently show an interest in alternative ways of getting around. I would like to see transit and rail service that would accommodate more bikes and even light weight scooters and Segway type vehicles. I can see riders paying an additional fair for the space they would require. Perhaps such spaces could be used for whatever the rider needed to transport, like groceries, luggage, etc.
      The thing is, we need to make such services user friendly and welcoming if they are going to be successful. The cost needs to be kept in check, but the usefulness for daily life also needs to be considered. Mothers have strollers, seniors have walkers and wheel chairs, people going to the airport have luggage and people who do not have cars will need to use public transit to bring home their groceries and other shopping. In my favorite vision of ‘loop buses’ for Burien, I see vehicles that are designed for these needs.
      As security becomes more of an issue, I would like to see more of an investment in man-power to have security guards not, only at transit stations but also riding the various services as floaters with eyes open to provide a much needed prevention of violence. Done right, this could actually be a draw for those who value their safety.

  2. I drive to Burien from North side of town. The condition of 1st Ave is getting worse every day. The pot hole crew cannot keep up with the daily maintenance that should be doing.
    A waste of tax money will not fix adding all the new buildings in Downtown Burien…It will be a total cluster when they get filled.

  3. This all sounds like such bad planning from the get-go. Why wasn’t traffic flow and parking thought of before the more recent rush to build-up downtown Burien?
    Those who want to gussy-up ‘downtown Burien’ have no shame in demanding that all other Burien neighborhoods pony-up money for it’s ‘needs’ while the rest of so-called Burien can wait for decades for any improvements. Some of us out here in the hinterland would just like access to a sewer-line, more frequent police patrolling, traffic lights at busy intersections, street repair and clean-up….and the list goes on. But no, our tax money is supposed to help poor little downtown Burien put-on a new branded happy face, while it turns it’s collective backs on the rest of Burien.
    ‘ALL’ of Burien needs an improved mobility plan, not just downtown. It can start as simply as 2 or 3 loop bus systems that touch the outlying boundaries and pass through our various neighborhoods and ‘downtown’ Burien. These loop buses can run on streets other than 152nd when downtown, to keep that avenue less congested. Loop buses should also make stops at our many parks and public services and schools to allow for quick errand runs and lunch breaks. Loop buses need to run fairly frequently to be successful. We do not need to re-invent the wheel. There are many fine examples of small towns providing such service. And yes, there are grants and public funding for transportation services.
    Doing some fun things like having free family, seniors, or sports days, or a free paper-bag lunch in the park day, or business/school challenges to pay for bus shelters, are all ways to make people aware of new service and help first time riders feel welcome.
    As I understand it, one of the new residential structures in ‘downtown Burien’ will be for fixed income seniors. That is a population who often need to give-up driving. Let’s have the forethought to start now to accommodate their needs…which believe it or not, all too soon can be our need, too. So, rather than thinking of bus service as a cost burden, we might think of it as a rather affordable improvement for ALL of our mobility needs.

  4. How about putting in sidewalks so the people of Burien could actually walk to get there…..Parents with strollers in the street or trying to navigate on the side of the road is not safe. That would increase mobility and keep us healthy. It might be more dangerous to walk home drunk than drive, I know it sounds crazy but you might be safer in your car than on side of an un lit, no sidewalk Burien neighborhood street. I am not saying you should ever drive drunk but hopefully you get my point about how sidewalks would help downtown Burien.

  5. If you want a vibrant down town you need to think beyond racing through it by car and park in front of the store you need to visit. A vibrant down town is where people shop, go out and have dinner and are willing to walk some distances or use public transportation to get around. European big cities are getting more car free zones and these are typical vibrant cities. I understand this is a stretch for most of American, but if Burien wants to distinguish itself in the region it should think out of the box. In other words, parking is the last to focus on when discussing mobility. Actually, Burien should identify an area where they want they the least traffic and build a concentration of stores, restaurant and public places people will visit and enjoy spending their money.
    The Dutch town I grew up in used to have the main street also going the main traffic through to the next town. Now 40 years later you are not even allowed to bicycle through it, but it houses the region’s best stores, restaurants and theaters voted best place to shop for the last 15 years in a row.
    City of Burien you want to improve your reputation? Your down town mobility plan could be the right place to start. Have people come from other towns to shop and dine out and they will enjoy your city. A old Dutch saying is a good reputation arrives by foot and flees by horse. The analogy is you need some foot traffic…

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