City To Assess Walkability With Walk Friendly Ontario

Kingston will assess its walkability this fall as a pilot city with the Walk Friendly Ontario initiative. The City, prompted by KFL&A Public Health, is one of five Ontario municipalities to have signed on for the WALK Friendly pilot project.

“As a council, we passed a resolution that strives to make Kingston Canada’s most sustainable city, and as part of that goal we recognize the importance of promoting active transportation,” said Mayor Mark Gerretsen. “This pilot project is not only a great opportunity to measure walkability in Kingston, but also to promote walking as a viable choice of active transportation.”

WALK Friendly Ontario is a recognition program designed to encourage municipalities to create and improve spaces and places to walk (www.walkfriendly.ca). The assessment tool that communities will pilot test will measure walkability in the areas of policy and planning, engineering and community design, education and encouragement, and enforcement and evaluation.

“KFL&A Public Health is really excited to support an initiative that will inform and support our community to be active in a way that is safe, accessible and enjoyable,” says Stephanie Sciberras, Physical Activity Specialist with KFL&A Public Health.

The other communities participating are Fort Erie, Thunder Bay, the Municipality of South Huron (Exeter) and London. All five communities will assist Walk Friendly Ontario in evaluating the tool by applying the assessment to their communities and using the supporting materials.

“We are really hoping to create an overall picture of walking in Kingston. As a pilot city, Kingston hopes to set an example for other Ontario communities in becoming more walkable,” says Daniel Shipp, Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator. He says that being noted in this effort as a walkable city will highlight Kingston’s dedication to improving sustainability, accessibility, opportunities to be active – and promote the city’s many cultural and heritage destinations.

Media contact information: Cindie Ashton Communications Officer 613-546-4291 ext. 3116, cell 613-329-3462. The City of Kingston media hotline is 613-546-4291 ext. 2300.

The City of Kingston

This press release is attributed to and shared on behalf of The City of Kingston for the purpose of education and news reporting. The selective redistribution of press releases via Kingstonist.com does not suggest endorsement or approval of the originator. For more information regarding the City of Kingston, visit their website.

18 thoughts on “City To Assess Walkability With Walk Friendly Ontario

  • I would rate Kingston very low on the walkability scale. There are far too many corridors(Johnson, Union, Sir John A, etc) that are uninterrupted with crosswalks. Also, is it just me or is traffic slightly worst this year?

    • I don't think Kingston actually has crosswalks like they have in pretty much every other city. There's the sort of "maybe cars will stop?" lines in front of city hall, and a few "courtesy crossings" but motorists aren't actually required to stop at those.

      I walk to most places and downtown is fine, but anywhere outside of the downtown core and you're in for a confusing time.

      I would also like to see more action taken against people cycling/skateboarding/etc. on sidewalks. Cyclists on sidewalks should be given tickets (unless they're 6 years old.)

      • Riding on the sidewalk can be MUCH safer for a cyclist than the road, (assuming they yield to pedestrians).

        -Sir, you can't paint everything with the same brush – there are many underused sidewalks that make great makeshift bikepaths when the alternative is to bike on a busy road..

        And BTW – technically I think it's illegal for a 6yr old to ride on the sidewalk!?

        • That is simply not true, there have been studies done that show cycling on the sidewalk is substantially more dangerous to the cyclist. The hit from behind/side swipe people fear is a very small percent of accidents. Most are intersection/turning/driveway where being on the sidewalk is MORE dangerous for the cyclist as the chance of not being seen is much higher then being in traffic

          "The California study found that bicyclists who ride on sidewalks are at twice the risk for being injured in a bicycle accident. A Canadian study a few years later that also focused on sidewalks and bicycle accidents found that the injury rate was four to six times higher for sidewalk riding than for biking on streets and highways. The Canadians also found that 90 percent of all bicycle accidents occur at intersections. While not conclusive, the study suggested that riders who ride their bikes on sidewalks are less alert to nearby vehicular traffic and other potential hazards. In addition, the study suggested that drivers might not be looking for bikes entering intersections from sidewalks."
          http://www.cunninghampilaw.com/blog/bicycle-accid

          Not to mention the risk to pedestrians (toronto woman killed by cyclist last year) and pedestrians adding risk to the cyclist. Stay off the sidewalk

          • Nothing more scary than a cyclist who is riding quickly on the sidewalk and enters a pedestrian crossing at the same speed when one is turning right onto another road for example. It is so easy to miss a speedy cyclist — a driver isn't expecting them and even with a shoulder check, they are so far away physically you don't see them. A sidewalk is no place for a cyclist. Nothing more irritating to me than seeing a cyclist weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic, and heck, I'm a cyclist! If a particular route is routinely dangerous (heLLO Princess Street between Bath and Division) I find a side route.

  • There are numerous areas where pedestrian walkability is limited. There are no stop signs at all along the Barrie Street perimeter of the Queen's campus… I've witnessed and been involved in many near-collisions at the intersections of Barrie and Stuart and Barrie and Court/Union. It's crazy that a zone as high in pedestrian traffic as a university campus doesn't have basic pedestrian crossings around it. Likewise is true for the stretch of Ontario Street between Princess and Johnson – sadly the scene of a fatal pedestrian collision recently. Why is it so difficult to have stop signs or real pedestrian crossings installed?

  • This is a walkable city in the sense that you can walk to most attractions, but man there's many bad drivers that think they have the right of way, if they even see you to begin with ..

  • Is Kingston friendly for people who choose to walk? Kingston can be a good city for walking if one lives in the down-town core around Queen's University and the surrounding area. The higher density provides a better environment of available stores, and often more accessible side-walks and a higher preponderance of cross-walks and traffic lights. Outside of the down-town, however, the car rules. The city aspires to be "sustainable," but urban sprawl has led to their being huge swaths of the city being very inconvenient for pedestrian traffic. Sir John A. MacDonald Drive towards John Counter Street does not even have a side-walk or safe area for most people to walk, let alone to do so with any reasonable degree of comfort. There are many other areas like this as well, and something needs to change. Such a huge reliance on the car is not sustainable over the long-term.

    • I absolutely agree. It is interesting to me how the majority of responses limit themselves to the Downtown Core only. I trained for a marathon and live in the far West End of the City and I can assure you, this city is generally unwalkable outside of the small section of town in the Centre. It was extremely discouraging to have no sidewalks on Taylor Kidd past Mona Drive, to have inconsistent sidewalks on Princess from Gardner's to the West End (first one side of the street, then the other, then back over), no sidewalks on Princess from Bayridge west, none on Bath Road past the Bayridge overpass, and nothing on significant sections of Sir John A as noted above. There are actually sidewalks that start and end in the middle of nowheres, such as on Bath Road and also Collins Bay road close to Princess. These NEW sidewalks have clearly been laid in response to city regulations but have been done so without thought about their usability. It would be nice if ALL parts of the City were deemed "worthy" of walkability and not just the Downtown Core.

  • Notice how rebuilt intersections are made wider to accomodate traffic, which it makes it more difficult to cross – Montreal at Stephen used to have a pedestrian island, Place D'Armes and Wellington used to be narrower, allowing pedestrians more time/less stressful crossings.. I don't think these 'intersection improvements' help greening Kingston…

  • Sidewalks should be built for pedestrians – wide enough for two people to walk side by side,or to pass another person.

  • As well wheelchair users must be accommodated. Sidewalks must remain flat and driveways should not be accommodated at the expense of safe use for pedestrians. These half flat sidewalks with a sudden incline at each driveway is downright dangerous for pedestrians,wheelchairs,people using crutches or walkers or walking side by side. It makes snow removal difficult & is very ,very hazardous in icy weather.
    The newer flat but wavy sidewalks are a bit better,but for people wearing multi-focal corrective glasses it can leave one with a feeling of 'sea-sickness' and a very uninviting walk . Again,poor snow removal & icy weather make these sidewalks hazardous.
    Let us go back to accommodating the car by a bit of asphalt on the street side at each driveway. This seldom extends more than 12 inches onto the street and does not interfere with bike riders who should ride much further from the curb. I ride a bike. In 50+ years of riding on downtown city streets have never seen this as a hazard.

  • As well wheelchair users must be accommodated. Sidewalks must remain flat and driveways should not be accommodated at the expense of safe use for pedestrians. These half flat sidewalks with a sudden incline at each driveway is downright dangerous for pedestrians,wheelchairs,people using crutches or walkers or walking side by side. It makes snow removal difficult & is very ,very hazardous in icy weather.
    The newer flat but wavy sidewalks are a bit better,but for people wearing multi-focal corrective glasses it can leave one with a feeling of 'sea-sickness' and a very uninviting walk . Again,poor snow removal & icy weather make these sidewalks hazardous.
    Let us go back to accommodating the car by a bit of asphalt on the street side at each driveway. This seldom extends more than 12 inches onto the street and does not interfere with bike riders who should ride much further from the curb. I ride a bike. In 50+ years of riding on downtown city streets I have never seen this as a hazard.

    • Agreed – the "sidewalk" along Montreal Street from downtown towards the 401 is ridiculous. Absolutely unwalkable due to the up and down and up and down of the driveway accommodation plus the canting of the sidewalk itself. I gave up completely on this stretch of road and walked on the side of the street.

      • I was hoping someone would bring up the fact that sidewalks are so bad that they take to the street. I have noticed this in my neighborhood as well, which is concerning when those who opt to use the road are pushing a carriage, or in a wheelchair. Huge safety concerns there, while there have been some very close calls involving cars. We need to do better.

  • Kingston can make a valid claim for Walkability based on the Rideau Trail, the Waterfront Trail, and the Frontenac Trail. It has also created an excellent path along the Block D waterfront. KFL&A Health also encourages walking for exercise.

    That being said, the City has carefully educated drivers that they need not stop for waiting pedestrians at Courtesy Crossings, has never installed pedestrian-controlled lights and audible signals at critical cross-walks such as the KGH on King St W, or near the CNIB building on Princess Street with medical buildings on both sides, and has installed a very modest patchwork of cross-walks in the City.

    If the Walkability initiative serves to encourage the City to do more, that would be very welcome.

    In the meantime, we await much-delayed changes from the Province that would reinforce pedestrian safety and protection on cross-walks. This the case in provinces such as BC, Alberta and Nova Scotia where hefty fines are in place when drivers fail to stop for waiting pedestrians at cross-walks. It's been at least 4 years since a provincial MoT committee was formed , and 2 years since it presented its recommendations. A letter to the Minister last December to take an interest had no effect, nor a letter to our MPP.

  • Just what we need, more obstructions to snarl traffic in this city… It`s not like the majority of pedestrians in Kingston bother to use crosswalks, or actually wait for the walk signal.

    Then again, I`m sure your headphones or that important text message from your BFF is so vital that you don`t need to pay attention to what`s going on around you.

    Don`t worry, just make us evil drivers trying to get to work wait; we don`t mind :(

  • This is a really great discussion here, and lots of good ideas! Will somebody summarize those ideas and present them to the Walk Friendly folks and the city?

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