Here’s our recap of Monday night’s (Mar. 27, 2023) Burien City Council meeting:
Metro RapidRide H Line Project Update
Metro’s new RapidRide H Line serves a 12-mile route between Burien, White Center, Westwood Village, Delridge, and Downtown Seattle. Sections of the route along Ambaum Blvd. SW are still under construction, but the majority of the road and bus stop updates are now complete. The improvements along the route include safer crossings for pedestrians, with new sidewalks, safety railings along the s-curve, and new crosswalks. The Rapid Ride route is now a 40-minute trip from Burien to 2nd and Virginia, which used to take 55 minutes.
The H Line, replacing Metro’s 120 bus, has about 6,000 riders each weekday, with 1.7 million rides in 2022. It is the sixth busiest bus route in King County. During rush hour, the H-Line will run every 7 minutes. Mid-day it will come every 10-15 minutes, and evenings about every 30 minutes.
During the meeting’s public comments section, one community member questioned the rationale for dedicating 50% of Ambaum’s capacity for such a small percentage of the population, while relegating everyone in their own vehicle to just one lane.
Parking Enforcement Update
Burien Police Department (BPD) has no dedicated traffic officers, but hires one Reserve Officer for 8 hours a week to respond to parking enforcement issues. This includes abandoned vehicle complaints as well as suspected stolen vehicles and cars overstaying their welcome in spots marked with a 2-hour limit.
Chalking tires for parking enforcement has not been allowed for some time, but that has recently changed thanks to a judicial decision. However, before BPD starts using this tool again for ticketing infractions, they will spend some time communicating with local businesses to make sure everyone is aware of the change.
Chief Ted Boe said one issue the police have in dealing with abandoned vehicles is that each time they put a 24-hour notice on a vehicle, the owner can simply move it 8 inches and be in compliance with the current law. He would like to clean up some of the code, so that the police don’t waste their resources playing cat-and-mouse like this with abandoned vehicles. He said he would be happy to bring some samples from other cities of more effective parking codes that he’d like to see in Burien.
City Manager’s Report: Camping Update
The final date for campers to be allowed to remain outside the library building will be Friday, March 31, 2023. As the date nears, volunteers and aid workers are in daily contact with the population currently living there, making sure they are aware of the deadline as well as other options. Three individuals have managed to secure housing so far.
One commenter at this meeting spoke about how the police and city council have failed the city in allowing campers to remain in the downtown area. He said things like public urination and even attacks have become the norm, and that parking enforcement should not be an area of primary concern for the police in the face of this bigger issue.
New Subdivision Approved
Council approved a new 12-lot subdivision, on a property just off Ambaum & 124th. The property currently contains one house and several outbuildings, as well as scattered trees, pasture land, and a stream. The stream is seasonal, and has no fish, and all buildings will be 15’ from it. Subdivisions require public notice, which they have done. They also must provide recreation space, and this one has a planned children’s play area.
Affordable Housing Demonstration Project: EcoTHRIVE Approved
EcoTHRIVE’s affordable cottage community was approved unanimously by council to be one of five Affordable Housing Demonstration Projects. EcoTHRIVE is a well-planned, resident-owned eco village. The land, located in Boulevard Park, will be a permanent land trust, and buyers who qualify by earning less than 50% area median income will be able to stay even if their income later increases, but all future cottages sold will remain affordable permanently.
The top aims of this project are to provide housing and community, to create a safe, healthy, energy efficient, and affordable model for living. Each cottage ranges from 320 (studio) to 650 square feet (2 bedroom). The private areas are small, but there is also a community gathering building that is more spacious. The buildings will be surrounded by a lush landscape of native and edible plants. According to their financial model, the development won’t require ongoing subsidies once it gets going.
Watch video of the full meeting here.