To Mayor Paterson, Council, CAO Hunt, all the Commissioners as well as Paul MacLatchey and Mark Van Buren:
I am writing to you today regarding the proposed Wellington Street Extension that is soon to be discussed by City Council. I very strongly oppose the construction of Wellington Street extension for a number of reasons.
Firstly, new roadways send the message that driving through downtown is a viable option. Up until this point, motorists not headed downtown would otherwise drive around. The Downtown BIA thinks this will encourage more people to shop downtown, however, it will only cause new congestion points on Princess between Bagot and Ontario Streets. I must emphasize that downtown cores of this age are simply not designed to be driven through. No new roads will make the existing infrastructure compatible. Right now the congestion is at the edge of the lively shopping district, not the center. For the sake of the atmosphere of my shopping district, please leave it there. Downtown congestion and parking issues can better be dealt with by offering free transit between parking lots at CFB Kingston and the Kingston Centre respectively.
Secondly, Kingston has a plan to become “The most Sustainable City in Canada” – a goal which will absolutely never be achieved if council continues to approve new roadways designed to accommodate long daily commutes. Seriously supporting public transit and cycling infrastructure means taking a challenging stance to encourage our culture to embrace new values.
Thirdly, Doug Fluhrer Park is the quietest, most serene park in the downtown core; it deserves to be preserved and cared for by the community that has embraced it over the past years. I strongly encourage Council to embrace Joe Quattrocchi’s vision for a multi-use path along the water on the North and South sides of the Rideau. Expediting the construction of this path sends the message that we are serious about promoting active, healthy commute options for those living on the North and East ends of the City. Supplement the building of the paths with free safe cycling and winter cycling training for those who may need a little extra encouragement. All this can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of the Wellington Extension.
Council needs to decide of it wants to cave to the pressure from suburbs and developers, or build a community that is appealing to innovative young professionals they are working so hard to attract to our city.
Sincerely, Jolene Simko