The following letter on the Transportation Improvement Plan was sent to Burien Daily by Burien resident Tim Kniffin on June 18th, 2012.
Hi, my name is Tim Kniffin and a few months ago, I accepted a job with The Edge Foundation, a Seattle based organization. Our family (my wife, I, our two year old) chose to move to Burien from Vancouver, BC because we fell in love with the area and its lovely downtown. We picked a spot only a few blocks off 152nd- we wanted it to be a place we used frequently for living- groceries, transportation, and enjoyment.
I recently spoke to the Burien City Council about their Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) about making Burien more accessible for walkers, bikers, and families. Having a dense, walkable, bikeable, liveable downtown should be a top priority for the city. Foot traffic encourages community, health, the environment, and creates a sense of unique place for Burien residents and visitors. It makes Burien a desirable place to live, work, learn, worship and play. It also makes Burien a destination for others. Several surrounding areas can offer bright lights, big-box stores, and discount prices- but they can offer nothing unique or ennobling. People don’t want to have to look through a windshield to see if they recognize someone. Burien can be a place much more attractive than those bland, ugly places because it can offer something those places cannot: it can offer itself. Burien is a wonderful, beautiful, diverse town with amazing services; bland strip malls cannot compete with this.
While the TIP addresses some of these issues, it doesn’t do so nearly enough. Still left unaddressed are the many areas within blocks of the downtown area have no sidewalk or bike lane. Essentially, these streets are “daring” the thousands of people who live within walking distance of the downtown to walk there. Even residents living close might not want to risk the walk because the design of the neighborhood makes that walk downright dangerous. Many of the USA’s (and the world’s) most popular and liveable cities are moving in this direction. So should Burien.
Our city can be a beautiful, vibrant, amazing city that residents can proudly live in, businesses work in, and visitors come to see. I applaud the efforts of the Burien City Council, and encourage them to do more to make this area attractive to all who wish to spend time here.
Tim Kniffin is a member of WABI, the Burien walk/bike Association