Complete Streets Are For Everyone!

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Have you noticed that sometimes getting around Kingston whether you are on foot, on bike, on the bus, or in your car just seems awkward, frustrating, or downright unsafe? Sometimes we like to blame that crazy driver or the crazy pedestrian for a nearly missed accident. But what if the system we are traveling in could be designed better to minimize conflicts between different travel modes? Enter the concept of Complete Streets.

Complete Streets are streets that safely accommodate all users – pedestrians, bicyclists, disabled people, transit users, and automobiles. They are safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all abilities and using all different modes of travel. Not all Complete Streets look the same. For example Fair St. in Uptown Kingston is relatively complete. It is somewhat low traffic, the sidewalks are wide, and biking on it feels safe. On the other hand, Broadway in Kingston is not complete. Although the sidewalks are wide, it is very challenging and dangerous to cross the road, pedestrian, bike, and automobile conflicts are common, and buses are not as frequent as they could be. Shorter crossing zones, bike lanes, and better public transit accommodations are needed to make Broadway complete.

The Complete Streets Advisory Council is a city body established by the Common Council in 2010. We serve as a resource, collaborative partner, and advisor to city officials and municipal staff for Complete Streets and transportation. Members of the CSAC have expertise or a passionate interest in safe transportation for all. Two Kingston Land Trust Board members serve on the CSAC, Andi Turco-Levin and myself. I serve as the Vice Chair of the CSAC. We hold five meetings per year, which are open to the public. In between meetings, we work on projects in three areas: policy, capital projects, and communications. Currently, we are working on new proposed sidewalk code for the city. We also take comments from the public on transportation issues and relay them to city officials along with our recommendations for solutions. In the past year, we provided support to the city for their transportation grants, serving on technical advisory committees and conducting outreach to the community.

The Kingston Greenline is a pivotal unifying project for implementing the Complete Streets concept in Kingston. It is a rail trail hub for the county, but to make it happen we need to have Complete Streets right in the center of Kingston where the old rail beds are covered by buildings. The Greenline will be the spine for active transportation (walking, biking, rolling) in Kingston. It is the beginning for a full bicycle and pedestrian master plan, which would create a safe, reliable network of walking and bicycling infrastructure allowing people to come from the city’s neighborhoods to the center and to businesses without needing a car.

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