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.

The latest design calls for a host of changes between Liberty/Elmendorf Streets and Chester Street. Among the improvements are: synchronized traffic signals, improved pedestrian crossings, sidewalk improvements, a “road diet” to increase safety, and bike lanes. Part of the reason so much attention in the papers has been devoted to the bike lanes is because we’ve been fighting hard to make sure they are included.

Why do we need bike lanes?

Broadway is often rightly called the City’s “spine,” as it provides the only direct connection between Uptown and Downtown without an at-grade railroad crossing. That’s important for lots of reasons. For us, a bikeable and walkable Broadway is a crucial element of the vision for the Kingston Greenline – a network of trails and complete streets that will criss-cross the city, linking our neighborhoods, our parks, and our commercial districts.

Broadway is also often the LAST place that people would choose to walk or ride their bike, or even – if they can avoid it – drive their car. But we can fix that. We have to fix that, in order to support a safer, healthier and more vibrant city!

Lots more to come…

You can read the full report at Ulster County Transportation Council’s site. Over the coming months, we’ll be digging through the design and sharing more details, so stay tuned!

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