Yes to Trails, No to Roads

At the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policies committee earlier this week, staff presented a report on the current state of development of recreational and active transportation trails throughout the city.

Some supporters of the trails, particularly the K&P trail that follows the line of the old Kingston & Pembroke railway, have been championing the Wellington Street Extension, because its proposed design would allow for the trail to run alongside the road.

I think it is time for Kingston residents to insist to our council that we want these trails, now, and that they ought not to be tied to road building. Frontenac County has spent $2.2 million dollars to bring the K&P trail from Verona down to Kingston, and it has plans to extend it north to Sharbot Lake. Kingston has done a stretch near Dalton Avenue that is really lovely — even though it’s in an industrial area near the 401, it is bucolic! This summer I met a man from Quebec up there who had come down from Verona by bike. He wanted to know how to get downtown where he was supposed to meet his girlfriend on a patio. It was embarrassing to tell him that, no, he’d reached the end of the trail, and to get there he would have to go along Dalton, down Sir John A, and so on.

Imagine what a wonderful transportation and recreational resource it would be to have the K&P go all the way to downtown. It would allow safe cycling commuting, and recreational hiking and cycling as well. It would be a great opportunity for education about Kingston’s railway history. It would be a superb amenity to complement any development that may happen on the tannery lands or the inner harbour, offering residents a quick and pretty way downtown and also a connection to the north end. The staff report this week indicated that the trails do qualify for development charge spending, because they are infrastructure.

We should not have to build big new roads to get bike paths. Let’s assert that to our councillors, and encourage them to put some muscle behind our proclaimed commitment to sustainability.

–Laura Murray

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