KHS 100th Anniversary Parade

Building a Better Broadway update

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 bsla@co.ulster.ny.us 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?

I took the following notes when Dr. Padalino took time prior to his regular report to the BOE to address the Building a Better Broadway project.  He confirmed that he did arrange for a presentation on the project to the BOE on Sept 16.  Also the school district has been offered a seat on the planning team so Dr. Padalino will be ‘at the table’ for upcoming discussions.   “Thank you to Jolyn and Maria for bringing me up to speed on the project last week.”  Dr Padalino will be taking comments from BOE and parents even after the comment period is closed.
Mr. Shaughnessy was contacted by Tom Polk regarding the project.  He will submit his own comments tomorrow (before comment period ends).  Thinks it is a very ill-thought out plan especially as it impacts the high school.  One concern is that the east bound lane of traffic will be right against curb at Kingston High School.  Pointed out accident last year where student bolted out at Dunkin’ Donuts and was hit by bus.  No buffer between KHS sidewalk and moving traffic.  Where will there be adequate parking for pick-up and drop-off?  What will city do with bus stops on Broadway?  How will emergency vehicles get through with just 2 lanes for traffic?  Mr. Shaughnessy does not feel that a presentation will help as he has thought about the project and doesn’t think a presentation will change his mind.
Dr Padalino believes that having a seat at the planning table will give KCSD opportunity for continued input.  If board members have individual comments, he recommends submitting them before the comment period closes this week.  Mr. Shaughnessy – little bit unsettling that would go ahead with these plans and not seek the input of the school district.  Dr Padalino – that was communicated (to the city), that he was disappointed about that.  Plan for the project isn’t due until next year.  Dr. Padalino will report back to BOE about his participation on the planning committee.
Ms. Guido said she commented individually on the plan as a resident near Broadway.
Tom Polk, an avid biker, the father of two children who attended KHS and a member of the Building a Better Broadway technical advisory committee, spoke to the BOE during closing public comment regarding benefits of the project beyond bike paths but did not know of the 2-minute limit on public comment so did not get to share his full comment.  He spoke of new traffic signals along Broadway, new count-down timers for pedestrians and sidewalk improvements including bump-outs.  You can read the details for all of these items in the draft project plan.  Mr. Polk stated that the Building a Better Broadway plan would be presented to the City of Kingston Common Council later this fall.
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Notes regarding “Building a Better Broadway” project:
  • 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 bsla@co.ulster.ny.us • (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

7 thoughts on “Building a Better Broadway update”

  1. Hi Jolyn,

    I wanted to drop a quick note in response to some of your concerns about the BBB project as expressed in this post. Reading this thread, it appears that you are not in favor of the protected bike lanes that are included in the design. Many of your concerns are constructive and helpful to ensure the best possible design. However, I take issue with some of your claims and with your overall tone, which comes across as oppositional rather than constructive. I would point specifically to your characterization that people on bikes break the laws more than motorists. On what basis do you make this claim? And to what end? It seems shortsighted and destructive to turn this project into a battle between “bicyclists” and “motorists.” In fact, most of us wear both of those labels at various times. And we all – people on bikes, on foot, or in cars – deserve safe and accessible ways to navigate our public streets.

    You are clearly someone who thinks deeply about issues, and who performs research to inform her opinions. Here, however, I think you have more homework to do. The BBB design – including the bike lanes and all of its other features – represents a giant step forward for all of Kingston, and if we work together to address key concerns in constructive ways, we can make it even better. If you wish to learn more, please let me know and I’ll gladly share some objective research on topics related to the project.

    Respectfully,
    -Tim Weidemann
    Co-Chair of the Kingston Rail Trail Committee and member of the BBB TAC

    1. Thank you for your comment Mr. Weidemann.

      I am sorry that you felt that one sentence about bikers not following the rules of the road in the entire post turned it into an attack on bikers. That sentence was also in comments to the Board of Education where I had to present a great deal of information in 2 minutes and perhaps I was not as eloquent as I would have normally been.

      My observation about bikers not following the rules of the road is just that – an observation based on personal experience and the experience of others that I have talked to or who have commented in various places with regards to the Broadway plan.

      My biggest issue regarding bikers not following the rules of the road is bikers not stopping at stop signs/red lights. Do all bikers know (and do they obey) that they are required to stop just like cars and that they must wait for the light to turn green just like cars? My experience has been that either many do not know or they choose to disobey the law.

      A friend observed three bikers (all adults dressed as if they were traveling to work) on Broadway one morning last week and all three were breaking various laws. One was riding on the sidewalk (must be under 12 to ride on the sidewalk in the City of Kingston). One was riding in traffic but going the wrong way (bikers must follow traffic rules and ride with the traffic). The third rider was riding with traffic but ran the red light and did not have a bell (bell or other audible signal required by NYS law). All three bikers did not have bike registrations on their bikes and registration is required in the City of Kingston.

      I am sure that not all bikers break the laws but many do, be it intentional or not. In fact my family has just learned about the New York State requirement to have a bell or other audible signal on your bike so they have been breaking the law unintentionally when they have been riding.

      I am not opposed to bike paths and I am not trying to create a bikers vs. motorists situation. My intention is to raise concerns so they can be addressed and hopefully solutions can be found that will satisfy everyone.

      My question is who will educate the bike riders so that they ride safely on the bike paths following all applicable laws? Those who ride bikes now need the education but my assumption is that the number of bike riders will increase with the bike paths so the education will be even more important.

      Bike riders will not be the only ones needing education however. Drivers will also need to be educated on the bike signal portions of the new traffic lights as well as what the sharrows mean. A refresher on bike signals and how to watch out for bicyclists would be a good idea as well since the number of bikers in Mid-town is going to increase.

      1. We still build roads for cars even though many motorists disobey vehicle and traffic laws, so I’m confused by your argument. We still build sidewalks even though many people jaywalk. Because some people on bikes do not follow all the applicable (and in some cases, like bike registration, arcane and punitive) laws, we should punish all people – those who ride and those who might if it was safer and easier? People who ride on the sidewalks do that in many cases precisely because we don’t have bike lanes or other infrastructure that makes it safe for them to ride anywhere else. The arguments you make seem based on a perception that people on bikes are a nuisance that we should discourage. Education is a need ( for people on bikes AND people in cars) but that isn’t a reason not to make biking safer.

    2. Tim,
      Tone is subjective when reading a text. Jolyn is quite versed on many things including this bike lane. She has been clear in her concerns. Are you going to call her “shifty” like you did me?
      Maria

      1. When did I call you shifty, Maria? I have told you in person that I respect your concerns, and all of my comments, which you can read on the public record, have been designed to incorporate your concerns and ensure they would be addressed. If you were at tonight’s meeting, you heard the consultants provide a revised plan that – point for point – responded to your concerns with solutions. Yet so far, despite your claims to support this project, you continue to circulate misleading petitions that lead me to believe you wish either to kill the project or at least eliminate the bike lanes. And as I said in my comment to Jolyn, I respect her approach to other issues, but feel that her comments cast people who ride bicycles in an unfair negative light. I stand by that.

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