Pavement in the Park

WellingtonX has been working hard as you know to respond to the massive Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan drafts. Meanwhile, at the very same time, a proposal has been brought to the Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation Policy Committee to extend the K&P multi-use pathway from Binnington Court up by the 401 to the heart of downtown. This has been fast-tracked to make the sesquicentennial deadline of 2017.

On the face of it, extending the trail is a good idea. However, as we have written in an earlier post, it has risks in that it may potentially open a path for the WSE. Councillor Hutchison, the longest opponent of the WSE amongst us, has been assured this is not a problem, so we have to take him at his word at that and have taken a back seat on discussions of this trail.

However, it has become clear now that what is proposed for the Fluhrer Park section is a THREE METRE WIDE asphalt pathway to replace the current more narrow path. See the report here.

The WellingtonX core folks have no time or energy to go to EITP tonight to fight this (we are still in the throes of the Transportation Master Plan coming to Council next week), so we hand it off to you: do you think this is a good idea? How will you feel when those bulldozers come along? Is this what the greening of Kingston should look like? Tell EITP what you think. Contact councillors Allen, Schell, Hutchison, Neill, Turner, and Stroud today. The meeting is at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers; there will probably not be an occasion for the public to speak other than special delegations that the committee would have to permit with a 2/3 vote.

— Laura Murray

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2 thoughts on “Pavement in the Park

  1. In my view this is not what we want. Managed trails – bike trails especially – as much as some of us might love them and use them, can be one of the first steps toward gentrification of neighbourhoods and re-development of green space Parkification is a word that is applied to over-designed green areas; while Douglas Fluhrer park is, obviously, a park, the reason it works so well for humans and other creatures and plants is precisely because it has avoided too much planning/designing and parkifying. It is not Breakwater Park or Lake Ontario Park, but a different sort of green space, on the water, right beside downtown.

    Trails can be made accessible for walkers and wheelchairs and strollers without pavement. And not all parts of all trails need to be suitable for bikes. A quick look at trail-building guidelines suggests that the proposed extension of the K&P trial through the park conforms with standard widths for multi-use trails that are designed with enough room for two cyclists to pass each other safely. Perhaps, for now, the request should be for simple paths through the park rather than an official extension of the K&P trail. And then when the Wellington Street extension is finally off the books, the K&P extension could be built along the Rideau Street side of the road allowance.

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  2. From today’s Daily Telegraph (UK):-

    The average annual rainfall in London is about 25in – that equates to 1.6 million tons per square mile.
    Small parts of the Lake District, Snowdonia and Lochaber collect more than 150in of rain a year or 10 million tons per square mile. That’s a heck of a lot of water. So where does it all go?

    We all know a short-term excess of rain can be disastrous: rivers overtop their banks, transport is disrupted, homes are flooded. But in the course of a year all that water disappears, taking its place in that endless journey which sustains life on our planet called the “hydrological cycle”.

    Some finds its way directly into streams and rivers; this is called runoff. Some of it drains into the soil; this is percolation. Some vanishes directly into the atmosphere, this is termed evaporation while some is absorbed by plants and transmitted to the air via transpiration.

    In the UK this complex process is remarkably efficient at redistributing those enormous quantities of water for at least 99 per cent of the time, the remaining one per cent constituting periods of flood and drought.

    Given the great variability of British weather from week to week and year to year, there must be some sort of safety valve which enables the hydrological cycle to cope with run-of-the-mill downpours and dry spells.

    The role of safety valve is played by groundwater which is gradually used up (by evaporation) during dry periods but which is regularly topped up (by percolation) when it rains. The same process applies on a regular annual cycle which sees groundwater levels drop in summer and rise again in winter. In simple terms then, the ground acts like a massive sponge which keeps drought and flood to a minimum.

    It should not really be a surprise that in a climate like ours which has fairly regular precipitation habits the hydrological cycle works efficiently. The landscape has evolved over aeons to accommodate most of the meteorological vicissitudes we experience.

    However, it will fail if the climate changes abruptly – at the beginning or end of an ice age, for instance – or if the natural environment is seriously tampered with, as when housing estates are built on floodplains.

    I can’t claim any credit for this, it was Jane that found it and pointed out the significance to the K&P widening proposal and the park overall.

    Mike

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