….put up or shut up?

Kingston seeking volunteers for its many and various community committees.

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dream big, execute frugally

In a previous post I was less than complimentary about the lukewarm efforts Kingston has implemented to become a bicycle friendly community.  Full disclosure:  I am ambivalent about the whole idea, as for the most part policy seems to have been outsourced to car hating activist led single issue groups, but given that the city has embraced the spirit, if not the practice, perhaps they might consider a few easily implemented ideas to further the vision.

Covered bicycle shelters.   Assuming the city means to increase the number of cyclists, bicycleshelterought it to prioritize covered bicycle shelters?   Failure to consider, let alone implement, such an easy and relatively cheap* piece of infrastructure does bring their commitment under suspicion.    Nearly every European city of similar size to Kingston prioritizes multi-modal transit, and includes  covered bicycle racks proximate to bus and regional rail lines. Continue reading

magic lines win bronze!

credit: kingston whig-standard

So, Kingston is now about five years (give or take a year or so) into its experiment to transform the city into a ‘Bike Friendly’ community.   Despite its efforts it seems Kingston only managed to  ‘win’ Bronze (yay!) recognition from Share the Road Foundation – in 2012!  Hardly something to shout from the rooftops.  And judging by the fact that this recognition is buried deep within the City of Kingston’s website, its not an honour they’re too proud of either.  So lets have a look at what our tax dollars have delivered so far.

  • Magic Paint Lines of Protection.   Surely there must have been a  rapid proliferation of happy commuter cyclists making use of all of this new bike friendly infrastructure?  You’d expect that after the congratulatory pats on the back, city administrators would be trumpeting the success of their bike lanes, twitting and instagraming hordes of cheerful cyclists streaming down the bike lanes of Taylor Kidd, Johnson Street, or any number of arterial roads where these have appeared.  Or not.  Could it be that cyclists, with a dash of cynicism, recognize that the city simply rolled out the magic paint lines of protection as a cheap means to meet their goals? Listen, shh….. Hear that?   The sound of squadrons of cyclists rolling merrily to work along Johnson, Brock, Taylor Kidd, Centennial.
  • Share the Road Chevrons. Similarly, the city added ‘sharrows’, superimposing Cycling_Sharrowsthem into motor vehicle lanes, thereby endangering any cyclist foolish enough to believe them. Forgetting that by mid November, they have disappeared from sight and mind (along with fair weather cyclists) under snow, ice and sand.
  • The multi use bicycle path from nowhere to nowhere.   In a daring gesture, Kingston is building its first separated dedicated bicycle path!    Huzzah!   That should garner us some points from the stingy Share the Road Foundation.    Except, except – its going to run from Collins Bay road along the south side of Bath to Coverdale Road, a hotbed of cycling activity!   This expensive vanity project will remove (!) one lane of vehicle traffic eastbound along one of the city’s busiest arterial routes, to provide approximately two kilometers of bikeway for……. no one!

Which do you suppose is true:

  • painting bike lanes and chevrons protects 190lb meatsacks from 2 tons of metal, or (2) does nothing to make Kingston a ‘bike friendly community?
  • Dedicated paths from nowhere to nowhere will bring out Kingstonians in their (two wheel) droves?
  • Building dedicated separated lanes, from the downtown core out, will encourage growth in bicycle useage.
  • Painted lanes on suburban arterials magically creates cyclists?

What Kingston should do…

  •  Stop faffing about with painted bike lanes and use the boulevard between the sidewalk and road for more than simply winter snow storage.  Create instead dedicated bikeways on the boulevard right of way.

  • Kingston city planners could stand to visit Outremont, to take in first hand the proper way to encourage cycling without pissing off motorists at the same time.  Note:  four lanes of motor vehicle traffic, physically separated bicycle lane reclaimed from city property between the roadway and sidewalk.

Separated bicycle lanes, Chemin de la Cote Sainte Catherine, Montreal.   Source:  http://dandyhorsemagazine.com/blog/2013/10/16/test-ride-montreals-separated-bike-lanes/