What is the WSE and why don’t we want it?

What is the Wellington Street Extension?

The WSE is a road proposed to extend Wellington Street north from where it ends now at Bay Street. It would run through Douglas Fluhrer Park, and adjacent to the new urban K&P trail up the former railway tracks east of Rideau Street, crossing Montreal at Quattrochi’s and heading northwest up to Elliott & John Counter Boulevard.

Map with WSE and K&P

Approximate route of the proposed WSE (red) and the new urban K&P trail (blue)

The Environmental Study Report approved by Council and the Province in 2008 describes a two-lane arterial road with a speed limit of 50 km/h and a “design speed” of 70 km/h. The road would vary in width, with a parkway design through the industrial lands in the north section, and a more narrow profile through Fluhrer Park. The minimum right of way for new roads in the City of Kingston is 26 meters. The road would include sidewalks and bike lanes. It was originally estimated to cost $35 million; staff at one point claimed it would be less, but they did not provide a convincing explanation for the projected cost reduction. Current costs no doubt have risen.

Why don’t we want it?

  • It would destroy a lovely and rare waterfront park and the new urban K&P trail – a quiet, landscaped recreational trail would become a noisy bike lane. These are rare resources in Kingston’s mixed-income north end.
  • It would sacrifice the current uses of those spaces by animals and people to those who don’t live in the area and merely want to get through it.
  • It promotes an outdated planning philosophy in which private car traffic is considered an inescapable and effective foundation of progress and economic activity.
  • The cost (environmental, human, aesthetic, financial) of the road has been clearly demonstrated. But the need for the road has not been adequately demonstrated; nor have alternatives been adequately explored.

One thought on “What is the WSE and why don’t we want it?

  1. Make it a lower cost bike and pedestrian path instead. In spite of bike lanes on Montreal St, bikers typically use the sidewalk anyway to get away from the traffic. Living at the northern exit point of the proposed extension I would enjoy using a non-motorized means to get downtown without traffic in my ear all the way. I think such a proposal will make the north end more desirable as a residential domicile.


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