Kingston’s Looking for a “Big Jump”

If you’ve been following along as our work on the Kingston Greenline has progressed, you might have heard us talk about the Green Lane Project. Starting in 2012, the Green Lane Project was PeopleForBikes‘ campaign to build the sort of bike lanes that everyone would want to use – protected bike lanes.

An example of a two-way protected bike lane, with plastic flex-posts, in Columbus, OH.

An example of a two-way protected bike lane, with plastic flex-posts, in Columbus, OH.

Here in Kingston, we took the successes of the Green Lane Project to heart. Research has shown that protected bike lanes are the best way to increase ridership, particularly among groups that are less likely to ride without them: women, senior citizens, and families.

So, as part of the project to redesign Broadway, we joined with others to push for a protected bike lane along Kingston’s main transportation artery.

That design is still working its way through the necessary approvals, but just last week the City of Kingston took another major step in the march toward a fully-connected bike system with its application to PeopleForBikes’ next initiative, the Big Jump Project.

The Big Jump Project is a three-year effort to help 10 places achieve a big jump in biking – a doubling or tripling of people riding – by building a network of safe and comfortable places to ride and engaging the community. The goal is also to validate a core concept: that if a city does all the right things, more people will ride and the community will be a better place to live, work and play.

Turns out that Kingston was one of 80 cities across the nation (1:8 odds are pretty good!), and one of only 13 cities with populations under 50,000 to apply. The 10 winners will be publicly announced in January — but that won’t be the end of the line for the other 70 or for the rest of the United States. Instead, PeopleForBikes sees this as the beginning of a nationwide focus on finally connecting the all-ages biking networks that can make our communities significantly better for millions of people.

So cross your fingers for Kingston, and let’s keep working to make our great city an equally great place to bike…for everyone!

Complete Streets Are For Everyone!

IMG_0919

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. Continue reading Complete Streets Are For Everyone!

Linear Thinking Sometimes Good For Parks

Proximity to parks in Kingston: (current)

Kingston Land Trust

What do you imagine when you think of the word “park”? Is it a green patch with benches and picnic tables? A rugged wilderness with backcountry hiking trails? Or something in-between? In-between urban and rural parks–both conceptually and physically–are linear parks. Linear parks often consist of a trail and the narrow strip of land surrounding the trail (think of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which ends at Kingston’s doorstep). While their linearity is clear, their “park-ness” is less so. But think–a linear park has nature, trails, and points of interest like benches and bridges. A linear park IS a park, simply a different kind of park, with the added benefit of providing transportation between bigger parks (“polygon parks”?), neighborhoods, and cities.

Continue reading Linear Thinking Sometimes Good For Parks

Trail Mix

Complete Streets

For the past few months, the Kingston Land Trust has been working on developing a sustainable framework for management of the Kingston Greenline. As part of a recurring column in the Kingston Land Trust Newsletter, we’ll be introducing some concepts that provide a base for better understanding trail management.

This month’s concept… Trail Types.

For each portion of the Kingston Greenline a Trail Type has been identified based on trail surface, extent of built infrastructure, surrounding environment, and relationship with a rail corridor or active rail line. These distinctions help determine maintenance needs, and guide planning and design decisions. Identifying trail types for different portions of the Greenline also helps determine both short- and long-term maintenance costs.

There are several Trail Types that have been identified for the Greenline, including:

Continue reading Trail Mix

Why Do We Care About Building a Better Broadway?

Build a Better Broadway

If you read the local papers last fall, you probably noticed a healthy debate about proposed changes to the Broadway corridor in Midtown Kingston. A project called “Building a Better Broadway” has been making its way through the planning process, and with details starting to emerge it’s clear that there are lots of perspectives to consider.

You may not know that the Kingston Land Trust has been actively involved in developing the proposed design, though. “Huh,” you might say. “Why would a land trust care about the design of a busy city street and commercial corridor?” We think we have a good explanation, and we hope that in providing it, you’ll have a better sense of why the project is so important.

What’s the proposed design?

In short, the goal of the new design is to bring more people to the Broadway corridor – to shop, to dine, to attend a show, to travel, to live. Doing this means providing a “complete street” that comfortably and safely accommodates ALL users, including people walking or riding bicycles.

Continue reading Why Do We Care About Building a Better Broadway?