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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com • (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