The public comment period for the “Building a Better Broadway” project ends this Friday September 4, 2015. I spoke regarding the project during public comment at the Board of Education meeting on September 2 and members of the BOE also discussed the project briefly.
I encourage parents and community members to submit comments regarding the project to Brian Slack email@example.com as soon as possible. If you have comments/concerns similar to those already submitted, your submission will lend credence to the concern. If you have a different comment or concern, your submission will ensure that it is brought before the project staff and Technical Advisory Committee.
My comments to the KCSD Board of Education on September 2, 2015:
Thank you for the resolution at the last board meeting asking for a 30 day extension of the Building a Better Broadway project comment period.
I was disappointed when the City of Kingston decided to only extend the comment period by two weeks until this coming Friday September 4. Many parents are just returning from vacations and are overwhelmed with getting kids ready for school and probably have not even heard about the project let alone been able to submit comments.
My initial concerns submitted for the project centered around the loss of half of the parking between Pine Grove Avenue and East Chester Street including all parking directly in front of KHS. The parking concerns centered on three areas:
- finding parking when large events are going on
- being able to park close to the entrance when not many people are at the school due to concerns regarding safety that some parents have when coming to KHS
- and parking at drop-off and dismissal times.
Mr. Slack said the project planners will be meeting with the BOE on Sept 16 so I am hoping that you will keep these additional concerns in mind during that discussion since the formal comment period will be closed.
Additional concerns are:
- Implications of 2 construction projects (KHS and Broadway) at the same time on traffic around KHS
- Mr. Slack proposes re-opening the crescent drive for student drop-off/pick-up but I thought it was closed for more reasons than just post Sandy Hook security including access to the fire lanes.
- Will KHS students be encouraged to ride bikes to school? If so where will they park their bikes and who will instruct on bike safety while on the bike paths, crossing Broadway, using the new traffic signals which include bike-turn signals, etc?
- General enforcement of bike/traffic rules regarding the bike lanes. The lanes are not on school property but an accident just off school property will affect the school just as an off-property fight would. Unfortunately bikers in general do not follow the rules of the road as they should as any driver can attest.
I understand the benefits of bike riding even though I am not a biker. I am concerned though about the many implications of bike lanes on Broadway. Are there other ways that we can meet the needs of everyone (bikers, parents, students, business customers and business owners)?
I will end with this question: if a project presents so many issues for the members of the Kingston City School District to overcome, can the project really be good for the City of Kingston?
- My original post regarding the project noting the loss of 55 parking spaces on Broadway around KHS
- Building a Better Broadway draft project plan – dated July 22, 2015 and Appendix
- Existing Conditions report and Appendix contains parking observation data and analysis. Note: this parking data is an area of concern as the data is just a ONE time count of cars parked one day in the spring of 2014 in both public and private parking. As it turns out the count was made for the private KHS parking lots after 4pm on the date selected and after 7 for the parking on Broadway right in front of KHS. Despite the time, the Broadway parking is ‘heavily utilized’. Based on this one-time observation and inclusion of both public and private parking lots, the Existing Conditions report concludes “The parking data do not indicate a widespread parking deficiency, but there are areas where parking regulations could be modified to encourage more parking a block away where adequate capacity exists.”
- E-mails between Jolyn and Brian Slack detailing some concerns and responses – Building a Better Broadway project emails
- Submit your comments by Friday September 4, 2015 to: Brian C. Slack, AICP Principal Transportation Planner Ulster County Transportation Council 244 Fair Street • Kingston, NY 12401 firstname.lastname@example.org • (845) 334-5590
- Ulster County webpage for Building a Better Broadway project
- City of Kingston webpage for Building a Better Broadway project
- Comments I submitted regarding the project and responses from Mr. Slack – Building a Better Broadway project emails
Building a Better Broadway project timeline that I have assembled after learning of the project in August 2015:
- RFP – September 30, 2013 – bids due October 30, 2013
- Press release for Bringing Back Broadway – undated but sometime before fall 2014
- Existing Conditions Report and Appendix November 6, 2014 – parking data from spring 2014 Note: the parking data is actually a ONE time count in the spring of 2014 of cars in the parking spaces/lots after 4pm for the private KHS parking lots and after 7 for the Broadway parking directly in front of KHS.
- First Public Meeting – November 19, 2014 – presentation
- RFQ – January 26, 2015 – responses due February 23, 2015
- April 20, 2015 Needs and Opportunities report based on Nov 19 public meeting. Note: I did not notice anything in the Nov 19 presentation indicating parking loss when I looked through the presentation but this report clearly refers to the possibility being discussed back in November 2014. While there were a couple of comments indicating opposition to bike lanes and questioning the need for them, the vast majority (by a 31 out of 33) were in favor of bike lanes. In fact, the most common comment related to bike lanes was the desire to see dedicated bike lanes, even at the expense of loss of parking. Many acknowledged that this would be a painful conversation but one they were willing to undertake. Also 2.3.8 Parking Lack of parking was not expressed as a concern, rather, it was the need to better sign the parking lots just off Broadway to make the municipal parking lots more attractive with landscaping and to provide replacement municipal parking off Broadway where spaces on Broadway may be replaced by bicycle lanes (or perhaps angled‐parking on the opposite side). This report also minimizes the impact of the parking loss by noting that the cars observed as being parked in the spaces could be accommodated in other parking locations (p. 15 and 16). The report claims observation of ‘peak parking demand’ however if you examine the actual data in the Existing Conditions Report Appendix, the observation was conducted on ONE day in front of KHS after 7 which I do not consider an accurate evaluation of ‘peak parking demand’. And it turns out the Broadway parking smack in front of KHS was ‘heavily utilized’ even at the time surveyed.
- Freeman article July 14, 2015 – The city has hired Greenman-Pedersen Inc., of Babylon, N.Y., to draw up design plans for the work, which is to include new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, trees, benches, historic-style lighting and other streetscape improvements. The work will also include new traffic and pedestrian signalization. Work to begin at best fall 2016 according to Mr. Swanzey.
- Second Public Information Meeting – August 6, 2015 – announcement flyer; July 28 Freeman article announcing the meeting; presentation – The presentation has a graphic on p. 23 with the impact on parking which shows that the parking remaining on Broadway after the loss of 55 parking spaces still exceeds ‘demand’. The presentation file does not indicate how ‘demand’ was determined. I have already noted concerns with the parking data in the Existing Conditions Report if that is the basis for the determination.
- Freeman article reporting on August 6 meeting – I heard about the Building a Better Broadway project shortly after the August 6 meeting.
- KCSD administration/BOE learned about Building a Better Broadway project and voted to request 30-day extension of public comment period – August 19, 2015
- Comment period extended to September 4, 2015 – August 20, 2015
- Dr. Padalino announced that he will serve as KCSD representative on the Building a Better Broadway planning committee – September 2, 2015