A Voice from Rideau Street

When people are defending the proposed Wellington St. Extension, they often invoke traffic on Rideau St. as a major problem it would solve. As a home-owner on Rideau St. for the past six years, I want to make it clear that I am firmly against the Wellington St. Extension.

Rideau St has always been a route into and out of the city; you can see this in old maps. No one who has moved onto Rideau in the past century should expect to be living on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac. But Rideau St. is not unduly busy. Every day I leave my house to walk, bike and/or drive along Rideau St. I back out of my driveway into traffic, or, if on my bicycle, merge into traffic. In over six years I’ve never had to wait more than a moment for a break in the traffic. Every day I also cross Rideau St to visit Douglas Fluhrer Park; again, I never have to wait long at all, no matter the time of day.

Rideau is a lively and diverse street. In addition to cars, there are always plenty of pedestrians, as well as bikes, strollers, dog walkers, skateboarders, wheelchairs and scooters. For many of us living on Rideau, this activity is what makes it a vital and interesting place to live. Could it be made better? Sure. But the Wellington St. Extension won’t solve any of the issues that may be of concern to Rideau St. residents.

The traffic on Rideau St. is not a problem for many of us who live here. What IS a problem is the threat of a large noisy expressway cutting Rideau St. residents (and the rest of the city) off from one of the last pieces of green waterfront left in the city.

— Susan Belyea

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3 thoughts on “A Voice from Rideau Street

  1. The traffic will be crazy,,the map turtles will be gone, as the snappers, the herons, widgeons, red heads, flicker families and the warblers..obviously no one cares. I walk there everyday as so many others do also. What do they gain from taking all that away. Kingston has the poorest green spaces in Ontario. They should look to Ottawa and Toronto for advice, best green spaces ever with all that traffic.

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  2. I have watched Bryan Patterson’s video blog about the Wellington Street Extension, and it seems to me that his plan would sacrifice Kingston’s only remaining natural riverside public parkland in order to create a mini-highway for commuters and heavy transport, traffic that he says presently comes into town via Rideau St. This extension would then allow the area to be “opened up” for new development.

    He first needs to prove there is heavy traffic on Rideau. I live on Rideau and I drive cab along our city streets all day. I don’t see it.

    If there is traffic congestion on Rideau, I would like to put Mr. Paterson’s plans in a different context.

    The very heavy rush hour traffic on many major streets like Bath and Front all going towards downtown in the morning and away from it in the afternoon, and the congestion of the downtown tourist and entertainment streets in general are evidence of larger development and transportation issues that need to be looked at before considering a WSE. The greater density, walkability and availability of
    smaller scale shopping, attractions, corner stores and wilderness green spaces which are attracting people and development to our downtown all need to be further developed in our suburban neighbourhoods so that they become more attractive to families and seniors both.

    1. What new development built along the river will be improved by a heavy traffic WSE?
    2. Sir John A’s “Parkway” was built to bring heavy transport traffic downtown. Do we need another one by the river?
    3. Isn’t it a contradiction to destroy the habitats that flourish along the banks of the Cataraqui River which draw those to the river who live there now, in order to build a WSE so that the riverside area can be “opened” for further development and thereby make more traffic?
    4. When the third crossing is built, transportation patterns will change. Shouldn’t we wait and find out what those will be?
    5. How would the WSE add to the newly “opened” area’s attractiveness, bio-diversity, sustainability or support any of the river’s historical values were it to be built along the river?
    6.What would the people think who live on the other side of the Cataraqui River when their homes lose their river views?

    In my view, it is the job of our political leaders to increase sustainability and intensify our economy, to protect wilderness areas, carefully develop and add density and interest to what we have in all the neighbourhoods of the city, and try to sustain what nature, history and past development has already given Kingston. Areas other than the downtown need our attention so that green spaces can be increased and neighbourhoods enriched.

    See National Posts’ article:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/22/downtown-torontos-pace-of-population-growth-triples-outpacing-suburbs-as-echo-boomers-flock-towards-urban-centre-report/

    Here is a Time magazine article about the same thing.
    http://ideas.time.com/2013/07/31/the-end-of-the-suburbs/

    Joan Sutherland

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  3. I couldn’t agree more! It will be a very sad day for Kingstonians if the unnecessary Wellington St. Extension is built. City government is like a dog with a bone on this one. Why? Perhaps a smoke screen to keep East Enders content?

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