Beginning in early January and, through public consultation and a number of additional special meetings, Kingston City Council set out its five strategic priorities through 2022, which they affirmed and approved an implementation plan for at their meeting on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Today, we take a more in-depth look at priority #2: Improve walkability, roads and transportation, within which the city has identified a number of smaller priorities:
- Repair of roads and enhance the usability of sidewalks, walkways, and paths in support of the active transportation master plan. This includes the rehabilitation of local urban and rural roads, an identification of low volume roads that can be used to complement active transportation priorities in neighbourhoods, a pothole maintenance program for both roads and on-road cycling lanes, and the rehabilitation of arterial and collector roads. To complete this, staff will: be releasing a list of 2019 works planned and will be further bringing a list of works planned for 2020-2022 to council this fall; present a plan to implement the Active Transportation Plan alongside budget presentation this fall; more closely track pothole repair requests, and; coordinate the Active Transportation plan with the Transit strategy, including potential transit priority corridors (transit-ways) and intersections for active transportation priority.
- Enhance public safety through active transportation along with a focus on pedestrian access and enforcement. This task includes the consideration of red light cameras (to be implemented, if approved, in 2022), a centralized signaling system, implementation of projects from the Kingston Road Safety Plan (Vision Zero), the reconstruction of the intersection at King Street and Portsmouth Avenue as part of the Front Road reconstruction, and creating a list of additional intersections that can be enhanced with active transportation designs.
- The creation of network connections of east/west and north/south corridors using existing infrastructure and creation of a transit way. This task looks to design and implement transit priority corridors along the existing Kingston Transit express routes, and the design and implementation of active transportation priority routes, along with improvements along the Queen Street and Ontario Street corridors, Bayridge Drive from Princess Street to Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, and transit priority feasibility and implementation studies in alignment with the corridors identified in the Active Transportation Master Plan.
- Install crosswalks around schools, sidewalks and heavy pedestrian traffic areas. This task would require the development of an ‘Active route to school’ program, which would look at transportation, parking, walking routes, active transportation design, and enforcement policies. This is also going to create a review of all crossing guard locations, upgrade four school crossing locations, consult neighbourhood stakeholders for school routes, and create a report to council in 2021 on active school routes and continue to update this new report annually as patterns and neighbourhoods change over time.
- Explore a pilot model for providing transportation connections in rural Kingston. This project will complete a needs assessment of the rural areas including public meetings, and will produce a full needs assessment along with recommendations in 2021.
Most of the projects in this priority are funded through existing budgets, however, as most of these projects fall to the capital budget, a number of previously-approved projects are going to be deferred to enable this priority to take place between 2019 and 2022. These projects include:
In deferring (or altering, or cancelling) these 15 projects, staff forecasts that they can add $57,155,000 to the capital funding capacity, enabling the work on this priority to be completed during the 2019-2022 years.
This priority, like the others, will be tracked through a quarterly report card to council.
This is the second of a five-part series looking at the projects the city has listed as part of their 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. Part 3, focusing on demonstrating leadership on climate action available next week. See also part 1 on increasing housing affordability.
Born and raised in Kingston, Tommy Vallier bleeds limestone. An avid council watcher since 2004, he first began reporting on municipal affairs in 2011, helping to modernize meetings and make them more accessible through social media and live video. When he isn’t focused on City Hall, he’s an avid gamer, theatre supporter, and Disney fan.