Fixing Causeway Congestion

The Third Crossing and the Wellington Street Extension are closely linked: the usual claim is, we need the Third Crossing, so we need the Wellington Extension. This letter from the Whig (October 5) thus seems appropriate to repost to this blog:

It is disappointing to see so many candidates in favour of a third crossing of the Cataraqui River. All that money, $300 million or more, would be spent to alleviate traffic congestion during the morning and afternoon commutes. I have often taken my daughter to work during the rush hour across the Lasalle Causeway so I know that rush-hour traffic adds approximately five minutes to the commute. Still, I do not support a third crossing, especially since the city has so much aged infrastructure work to do.

Here is a simple and inexpensive idea to alleviate the causeway congestion issue.

On most days, people who commute using the causeway use their cars only to get to and from work. There may be people who work in offices nearby who would be ideal partners to share a ride but would never know it. I propose that we create a site where downtown workers can connect with each other in order to share rides. They could specify their work location, work hours and contact details. If we could connect even a few of these people, we could virtually eliminate the congestion and the need to spend all that money.

Downtown Kingston has been very proactive in encouraging active and public transportation, but it has not promoted this idea yet. I propose that the city, with Downtown Kingston and the Chamber of Commerce, organize a ride-sharing site for commuters. The beauty of this idea is that it would not have to cost anything. There are all kinds of carpooling social media sites and apps that can be used.

The biggest obstacle is attitude. It seems we are still stuck in the seventies, when the car was the centre of our world. But if we stop for a moment, open our minds and consider the benefits, we will realize the considerable savings that carpooling will bring: monetary savings such as gasoline, insurance and parking; environmental such as emissions and noise. These are significant savings that will benefit people directly and put money back into their pockets. But they must be open to consider the possibility.

There are better ways to spend $300 million. I would rather see it spent on a community centre in Pittsburgh District than on a third crossing, especially since we have not explored all other options. Ask your candidate. This is the time.

David Dossett

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