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Turning Vision into Strategies to Plan for Burien’s Future

In 2022, the City of Burien embarked on a process to gather community input to inform major updates to our Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Master Plan (TMP), and Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. During the first phase, we asked broad questions about our community’s wishes for living, working, and playing in Burien now through 2044. Planners are also looking at existing plans and past community engagement to supplement what they are hearing during the Shape Your City initiative.

Earlier this year, we followed up with the community to gain deeper insight into what we heard last year. We asked for people’s stories about housing and priorities for transportation, parks, recreation, and public art. Our goal was to identify specific strategies to include in the updated plans. During this phase, we started to ask more specific questions that are more closely related to the different plans. Read below for themes that emerged.

Comprehensive Plan (Burien 2044)

On the topic of housing, people expressed concerns around affordability and accessibility and gave feedback on design, location, and other factors related to “middle housing”. Other themes that emerged include:

  • People often moved to Burien for its affordability and accessibility.
  • Escalating housing costs are a concern. Burien is at risk of losing residents due to a lack of affordable, quality housing (both ownership and rental).
  • Improving existing housing (e.g., play areas, parking, unit maintenance) is important.
  • Housing solutions for Burien should include middle housing to improve housing choices and help with affordable homeownership.
  • Criteria for middle housing should address location, design, open space and landscaping, parking, access, infrastructure, and more. There is also a desire not to overburden the permitting process.
  • Burien should place more density at intersections and in the Urban Center for improved design and walkability. There is a concern about rezones and what that means for existing residents.
  • Burien should focus on housing opportunities for the workforce and multigenerational families.

Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan

While community members expressed some satisfaction with current parks and services, there were concerns about safety and infrastructure. Other themes that emerged include:

Parks and trails

  • Aging parks need improvements including better parking, restrooms, accessibility, and safety. More shade and better lighting were also expressed as a need.
  • Community wants to see improve signage and more connections between parks and trails.
  • People wanted to also see more open forest and open space as well as more trees.


  • Some community wanted to see more picnic shelters and open play areas for free play.
  • A new splash pad for youth was a popular request.
  • Covered walking spaces and repairs to existing sports courts were also requested.


  • Community asked for more recreation programs in the parks and more recreation programs for youth.

Public Art

  • Public art feedback focused on maintaining our current public art collection, rotating temporary public art through different neighborhoods, and investing in more public art in the parks.
  • Community asked to be more involved in making public art through projects like community murals and temporary art pieces. 

Arts, Culture, and Community

  • Community wants to see more gathering spaces including spaces for older adults.
  • More live performance spaces were also requested.

Transportation Master Plan

While Burien has public transportation that supports regional connections, community members commented that there is a lack of public transportation options that serve destinations within Burien. There is support for a Burien circulator (or shuttle bus) to help riders get to Burien Transit Center and other light rail connections. Other themes that emerged include:

  • Community members want to feel safer riding transit, including while waiting at Burien Transit

Center, and to see more enforcement on buses.

  • There are mixed opinions on recent changes on Ambaum Blvd SW related to RapidRide H Line

construction and the impact on driving. Many community members have yet to see the benefits of the project, as the travel time to Seattle is not yet enticing riders to use it instead of driving.

  • Community members reported that they do not feel Burien is bicycle friendly due to a lack of maintenance on sidewalks and bike lanes, lack of enforcement of traffic laws, and not enough comfortable facilities.
  • Multiple responses identified a need for more sidewalks throughout Burien, especially in places with higher traffic volumes and near schools to provide safe routes to schools.

Community engagement: How we gathered your feedback

Between November 2022-June 2023, City staff and consultants gathered feedback through multiple methods including:

  • Open house event held in the community room at the Burien Library (April 2023)
  • Online and mailed surveys targeting specific topics and demographics
  • Small stakeholder groups hosted by City staff and community facilitators
  • Community Connectors hosted sessions at the Burien Community Center for in Spanish and Vietnamese speakers.
  • Southwest Youth and Family Services and Para los Niños hosted discussions on the topic of housing
  • Walk Bike Burien (WABI) hosted a “walk and talk” session to discuss transportation and parks issues
  • Burien 2044 Advisory Board provided input on Comprehensive Plan updates
  • Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Arts Commission provided input on PROS Plan updates

What’s next?

The third phase of community engagement will begin later this fall and will focus on gathering feedback on drafts of the Comprehensive Plan (Burien 2044), Transportation Master Plan, PROS Plan, and Economic Development Action Plan.

An open house is scheduled for December 6, 2023 in the community room at the Burien Library. Opportunities to provide feedback online will be launched later this fall. Plans will also be discussed during advisory board meetings and City Council meetings over the next several months. Visit our event calendar to stay up to date on upcoming opportunities to engage.

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