Mapping Alternatives

On the really useful and cool city site Snapshot Kingston, you can look at any neighbourhood through the years via maps and aerial photos. One thing historical photos can illuminate is the question of ways to provide road access to the tannery lands. It has been suggested by some that the Wellington Extension is necessary to “unlock” those lands for development. But look at this photo from 1978:

To orient you, Montreal Street is running up the left. Rideau runs up beside the old Hanley Spur railroad line in the right half of the photo. The tannery is in the upper right quadrant. The Bailey Broom Factory is the L shaped building near the lower right corner.

What you can also see is Russell Street, which looks like a dirt road here, running left to right (west to east) about 1/3 down from the top, and then curving down to meet Rideau. And you can see River Street coming in from the east just above the oil drums, and going over the train tracks via a bridge to Rideau Street.

Here’s a shot from 2013: Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 2.14.26 PMSee how Russell and River Streets no longer go through? In the case of River, the bridge was taken down at some point, and the road was not made to go through when the tracks were removed. One nice effect of the incomplete road is that you can ride your bike up along the old tracks unimpeded. But it might be a good idea to bring River Street out to Rideau. As Hank Doornekamp has pointed out, the Woollen Mill (very right lower corner) has only one ingress and egress — Cataraqui Street — which is even perhaps a safety issue. Continuing Russell eastward on the grid might also help distribute traffic around. It seems to me that if one were to imagine the tannery development in a green sustainable framework, putting a cycling trail on the old railway spur and good bus service, and connecting these roads, one might go a long way to meeting transportation needs in a 21st century sort of way. There might be a real demand for housing close to downtown and linked via greenways to both the golf course and parks to the south. What do others think?

— Laura Murray with thanks to Mary Farrar and Anne Lougheed for info


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