Newly approved transport plan a disappointment, city councillor says

City Councillor Peter Stroud says new plan will do “very little for students”

City councillor Peter Stroud says active transportation plan will do “very little” for students.
Journal File Photo

On Sept. 17, Kingston City Council approved a plan for the City’s active transportation strategy to be implemented over the next five years.

The approval, which will invest $23 million into planned infrastructure spending, was passed by a 9-4 vote.

The five-year strategy falls under the Active Transportation Master Plan, which aims to build $127 million of infrastructure over the next 20 years and will include more than 1,000 kilometres of pedestrian and cycling routes.

The next five years of the strategy will focus on three areas: the Bayridge area, Reddendale and Henderson areas, and the North King’s Town area.

The lack of action in other areas of the City was controversial at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This plan serves suburban interests, which is why it passed. We have a lot of suburban councillors,” Sydenham District Councillor Peter Stroud told The Journal. “It does very little for students.”

Stroud, whose ward encompasses Queen’s and much of the University District, said he is disappointed with what was chosen for the next five years from the “menu” of options offered in the plan.

“The framework for helpful things in the downtown is there, but we haven’t chosen to do any of them in the next five years,” he said.

Stroud emphasized it would have been “logical and cheap” to continue the line of bollards that already exist down Johnson and Brock, to create safe cycling routes from campus to downtown.

“We need protected areas so students can get all the way downtown without being worried about getting hit by a car,” Stroud said. “It would be easy to repurpose one of the lanes on Brock and Johnson as a transit way—a protected lane that allows active transport and buses but not private vehicles.”

According to Stroud, one of the City’s major transportation problems is people driving single-occupancy vehicles, particularly in the downtown core. Single-occupancy vehicles are the “least efficient, most expensive, and clog infrastructure the most,” Stroud said.

He sees the solution to this problem as improving the transit system and making both public transit and active transportation, which includes biking, walking, and skateboarding, safer and faster.

Stroud said protected lanes are central to making active transportation safer, which would directly affect students.

“The student population has the highest active transportation mode share of any group in the city by far,” Stroud said. “And they are doing it despite the fact that things are unsafe.”

According to the City of Kingston’s website, motor vehicle collisions in Kingston result in more than 300 personal injuries and approximately three fatalities per year. In June, The City implemented Vision Zero, which aims for zero injuries, collisions and fatalities per year.

“The way to achieve this is to redesign streets to not allow traffic to speed. [The five-year implementation] plan doesn’t do that,” Stroud said.

Car-free since 2015 himself, Stroud said he’d like to see campus and downtown become more vehicle-free.

Ultimately, Stroud would like to see parts of main campus vehicle-free, but his immediate goal is to make the stretch of Union St. in front of the JDUC an extension of the scramble crossing at University and Union. “Without through traffic, Union could be full of students during the day,” he said.

Stroud said he’s determined to continue to advocate for his constituents, both students and local residents. “We’re all on the same page,” he said. “We know what we want, and we’re not getting it.”

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