One of the most disturbing things about the 2006 Environmental Study Report on the Wellington Street Extension is the thinness of its traffic justifications. And we haven’t been provided with any more up-to-date traffic data. Before we leap into this very costly venture, or its even more expensive cousin the Third Crossing, we definitely need to have traffic count information along with information about the origins and destinations of the trips.
In addition to the bare traffic counts, the questions below could be addressed to people crossing the river either on the 401 or the causeway, or to those coming south on Division, Montreal, or Rideau:
•What is their destination?
•How often do they make this trip?
•Do they use Montreal/Rideau Streets?
•Would they use an extended Wellington Street instead?
•Would they use the 3rd crossing if built?
•Would that change their route?
•If yes, how?
•Do they pay for parking at their destination? How much per trip?
•What sort of public transit might be attractive or practical to them?
•If X or Y type of park and ride, ride share, bike paths, or public transit were available, at Z cost to them, would they use it?
The idea is to do a study of what alternatives people actually have or would use. For example, many people choose to live to the north in South Frontenac where housing costs and taxes are lower, but they work in Kingston. They may use Montreal and Division and Sir John A Blvd and the Sydenham Road to get downtown. They might possibly benefit from another north/south arterial. But shouldn’t we try park and rides in Glenburnie and Elginburg first? And how could we set those up in ways that really make them handy for people? To plan out transportation strategies, we can’t just count cars: we have to understand people’s real circumstances, and have them consider real alternatives, most of them far cheaper than the bridge and road-building envisioned so far.
— Mike Cole-Hamilton