Have your say: Yay or nay? – Dedicated bus lanes in Kingston

Kingstonist file photo.

At their meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2019, Kingston City Council discussed a motion to direct City Staff to look into the creation of a “Kingston Transitway” through dedicated bus lanes.

Moved by Deputy Mayor Peter Stroud and seconded by Councillor Bridget Doherty, the motion spoke to the “permanent greenhouse gas reduction that is achieved by a major shift from personal vehicles to Transit,” as well as the fact City Council has already set “ambitious targets” for increasing public transit use. The motion also pointed out that Council has already identified and included “explore Transit-way” in the 2019 to 2022 Strategic Plan.

The motion asked that City Staff identify at least one north-south and one east-west lane that could be converted into dedicated transit lanes. It also looked for Staff to look into the availability of grant funding from other levels of government, and to identify what is needed to operate buses in dedicated lanes.

After much discussion and some obvious confusion around which corridors would be best suited to support such a plan, Council eventually voted to defer the motion to a later meeting. The motion will be re-tabled at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019.

So, what do you think, Kingston? Have your say in the poll below, which will be discussed on Council in Action on YourTV Kingston on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Add your comments below, and those on the panel may discuss those, too.

[poll id=”452″]

29 thoughts on “Have your say: Yay or nay? – Dedicated bus lanes in Kingston

  • Dedicated bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, but nothing dedicated to cars. Unless you own a Smart Car you may as well walk.

    • Every lane is a car lane!! The problem is the city doesn’t have the room to do these extra lanes. Without a major expensive and time consuming reworking of all roads this plan will not work. I’m from Kingston but now live in Calgary, where there are some transit only lanes and more kilometres of bike paths and lane than any where in North America. But it only works because of space. Kingston just doesn’t have it. I also find it fun that Councilman Stroud is fronting this movement after he embarrassed himself and him ward this past summer. Why is he even still on council?

  • We just left a major city (525000 people) who a few years ago put in a bus lane on major roads. This city had a two major one way roads, with 3-5 lanes of traffic. They put the bus lanes in, and they lasted less than a year before they took them out. It made it dangerous for people making right hand turns, slowed down traffic, and still had issues with merging. We NEED to enforce that buses have the right of way, and if there is a signal, you MUST let them out, or face a fine. That’s the best solution to keep them flowing!

  • Though I do not have all the information to made an informed choice, I personally do not think the city requires dedicated bus lanes at this time. Such traffic congestion for the majority of the city would likely be exacerbated if we were to transition into dedicated bus lanes. As well, the cost of this shift would likely be exponential considering our city streets are primarily two lanes if not one. Currently, buses have the right away to assist with their timing. As a once daily transit user to now daily driver, it is expected to experience such delays regardless of your preferred transportation method, one in which is typically is best addressed by time management. Lastly, I believe it would be more affective to review this proposal following completion of the second crossing so that traffic trends could be analyzed and assessed to ensure the cities choices are efficient, effective, cost wise, and in line with our needs.

    • Agreed. I would say that if every Kingstonian, city council included, had to drive or ride in Toronto for a month inclusive, they will quickly realize that you all have it lucky. Lol

    • Agree. The situation is not that bad to warrant dedicated bus lanes. Maybe in the future.

  • No to dedicated lanes. This council loves to solve problems that don’t exist and this is one of them. The volume of traffic in Kingston is low enough that buses are not sufficiently impeded to justify the penalty other users of the road would pay by having dedicated bus lanes (unless new lanes were to be created, but that seems like a colossal waste of money). Buses already have priority when pulling away from bus stops (cars must yield right of way) and every bus I see is always travelling faster than my car whenever I am on the road. Council should stop listening to the “Good Idea Fairy,” and get on with its current plans for infrastructure improvements and repairs.

  • Stroud is off on the wrong foot. If Stroud, City Council, and the city bureaucrats are really serious about the future, they’d eliminate fares through a 100% transit subsidy. But the 2015 Transportation Master Plan simply says the issue wasn’t even investigated or costed. What are we doing subsidizing empty seats when we’ve declared a climate emergency for good reason?

    Where fares have been eliminated, there is usually an immediate 200% increase in ridership, and steady growth afterwards. Bus ridership increased 300% when Cape Breton Regional Municipality made buses free in Summer 2016. Let’s do this in Kingston, and then we talk seriously about the bus lanes we need.

  • It depends. If there are 3 lanes to work with, fine, but, for example, reserving one of the two available lanes on Bath Or Princess for bus traffic only, would be a nightmare for drivers. For some people, I suspect that’s the goal (make it so miserable to drive into the downtown that you almost force people to use public transit). Btw, the current express bus routes are great and very efficient. Perhaps identifying other potential express routes would be equally beneficial to commuters.

    • I don’t believe we have the room to put in dedicated bus lanes as all of our streets are either one or two lanes wide already. If they took Princess St or Bath rd down to one lane of traffic for regular vehicles I believe driving conditions would worsen significantly. Until the city has more bus routes that don’t make people walk such aa large distance to reach I don’t believe they will be able to increase the amount of people utilizing the buses to require putting in dedicated bus lanes. I know I for one am not comfortable walking well over a kilometer in the dark and/or winter months from my home to the closest bus stop or from my job to the closest bus stop (not to mention having to switch buses) in the middle of the night when I get off work. I believe that the city needs to take the money they are spending on the dedicated bike lanes, ect and fix the roads themselves so they are safer for the drivers using them. It seems lately the city just wants to spend money on things that really aren’t essential, or needed.currently.

  • Every single time I go out I witness our fantastic Kingston drivers turning in or out of the bus only lanes on bath road across from the YMCA that are supposed to only be used for the busses to get in and out of the Kingston Centre.

    KP doesn’t regulate one intersection, how are they going to regulate bus lanes throughout the city? It’s a waste of time and money.

  • If they really want to improve they would establish permanent park and ride lots instead of using lots that are for other purposes, people are leaving cars all over the place so they can take a bus downtown now.

  • Instead of dedicated bus lanes what about putting city busses on all roads in kingston east. You don’t want people driving downtown but how else do we get to kingston if we don’t drive

  • We have a significant retirement community. Not all are capable of walking, walking to take buses, or biking. It is winter 5 months of the year here. Bicycles/buses are not the only answers.

    Our roads need serious help. Prioritizing this work must happen ahead of all these nice-to-have ideas. Our buses currently run on schedule with exceptions being accident or weather-related slowdowns. Dedicated lanes are not going to stop this.

  • Like another comment, we basically left another town that got sucked into this. Only the bus companies win. Taxpayers lose.
    Here’s what I think all commuters should want: full buses and substantially better tracking before we commit to independent bus lanes. Count how many times you see an empty bus compared to a full one.
    Now, let’s talk about the impact that empty buses have on our roads and maintenance. The weight and frequency pounds the roads into oblivion and are a major source of potholes.
    Finally, let’s ask serious questions about the combination of smaller buses especially for secondary routes, better planning and use of technology to maximize the customer experience.
    The only successful BRT-type structure I’ve seen is in Ottawa and they’re starting to move away from this (although with a giant fiasco called LRT).
    Ultimately, public transit will only work if the public is ready to use it and pay for it.
    Otherwise, fix our roads first.

  • Bike lanes that don’t pay a licence,bus lanes ,what next.Bike lanes should be out of the city,that’s what they made the kp trail for.So no more lanes unless you get rid of the bike lanes.

  • Can you imagine the impact of shutting down one lane of traffic specifically for buses, where the hell are the rest of us that commute from out of town going to drive. Its already congested in KTown at peak times, Jeez. Think carefully about this !

    Again the majority of people forget about the rural peoples.

  • Our streets are not wide enough…at least not downtown. Even in the west end you would still need to widen the roads in order to provide a dedicated bus lane & there isn’t the available space in most areas.

  • This city limited the population density downtown, forcing the east/west ends to explode. Now we’re going to spend how much on dedicated bus lanes, climate emergency? We can’t afford to fix the roads under the buses wheels.
    The city is going to tax and spend its business and residents right out of city limits in the name of the climate. It will choke all the life out of downtown.

  • OK About buses, instead of bus lanes, why not make sure the handicap are thought about. I have been told that my scooter is considered the right size for bus transportation. But buses coming to Amherstview are always the older buses that are sent. which means that the entrance to the bus is smaller, and difficult to enter. This was reviewed by transit who said I should talk to our council months ago, which I did. But so far nothing done. I need. to get to Hospital. and Drs Appointment which makes it very difficult.

  • You must first understand what are the needs of the community not the wants. We are developing Counter St and destroying wetlands, guess they don’t impact climate change. Developed bike lane on Bath Rd, spent at least one million for very limited rider use. Another want? Bike Lanes on Centennial, causes traffic congestion creating more emissions. Could consider a limited number of subsidys for electric vehicles on a yearly basis. Those that are committed to environment can use their money. Don’t cherry pick. When you can verify your costs and returns maybe you can commit our money to your projects, to date the record does not speak well

  • Yes, because when we grow bigger, we can then more easily convert these to LRT lines.

  • Anita in Kingston West end: after reading all the educated, well thought out replies I also do not think we need dedicated bus lanes. It only takes 10 from my house to St. Lawrence and 15 minutes to Queen’s and these buses are usually always full up till 6 p.m. I am a senior citizen that is on the road with my vehicle daily and limiting car driver’s mobility and time is not the way to go. This council should concentrate on what the citizens who voted them in want…fix our roads and the second crossing and quit getting ahead of yourself with a wish list that makes no sense at this time. Can you not finish what you started before you get carried away with grandiose plans of this nature or is that too much to ask?

  • Nope … having come from Toronto, seeing empty bus lanes while the cars/trucks are backed up is ridiculous. More people in the cars/trucks then the bus. Very inefficient and ineffective method of dealing with traffic congestion.

    There must be a better way … find it and design it.

  • No…stupid idea from a councilor whom shouldn’t be in that position ….open your eyes the streets are narrow enough downtown with cars parked like idiots everywhere in winter …plus how do you plow those lanes …can’t do it first cause the wings dump snow to the right so it would be a nightmare …in my opinion bike lanes should be an ash vault lane attached to sidewalk …totally off road …safer for everyone. If you want to alleviate congestion start with timing the lights so if you are doing the speed you should be getting green lights along your route …they have the technology you could set them up coming into the city in the morning & reverse it for afternoon escape from the city….This would alleviate alot of congestion, idling vehicles & red light running . If you try to drive gardeners road from 4-6pm you will see how crazy this city is to get anywhere. One red light after another you pretty much have to speed to get the next light green …sad but true

  • I like to see the bus line. In Kingston. For Kingston Township transit buses service. And Kingston Transit Buses service’s. On route 15. Coming down on prince Charles drive. Kingston Ontario’s

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