Kingston Uptown transportation improvements outlined

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KINGSTON — A proposal for Kingston’s uptown transportation improvements, regarding safety and traffic flow, was presented during a virtual public hearing Thursday afternoon. The improvements are part of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative project grant the city won from the state and will be focused on both motorized and non-motorized transportation.

An advisory board was created for evaluation of the transportation improvements, comprised of business owners, officials and professionals. 

Following a public survey, with about 136 participants, the corridors of Albany Avenue, Quentin Avenue and Schwenk Drive, Fair Street and Clinton Avenue were studied for possible safety improvements, signaling and traffic flow improvements.

Participating individuals said on Schwenk Drive, 23 percent witnessed a near-miss collision, 43 percent said they won’t ride a bike due to lack of developed bike lanes and 46 percent said they were afraid of crashes. 

There was a higher concern recorded for Clinton Avenue, where 32 percent of those surveyed said they were involved in a near-miss collision. 70 percent of pedestrians said they would feel safer with high-visibility cross walks, pedestrian crossing signals and sidewalk improvements, while 50 percent said they would feel safer with exclusive pedestrian crossing. 

The number of collisions recorded, however, was most apparent in Frog Alley, across from the Spectrum building, having 14 collisions over a three-year period, of drivers attempting to make U-turns into that area.

Out of preferred solutions, one is to create an urban, mini, roundabout on Schwenk Drive, traffic signals for pedestrians and vehicles on John Street and Westbrook Avenues, utilizing newly created traffic gaps on Clinton and Main Street for traffic flow, as well as improving pedestrian accommodations on Albany Avenue. All of the traffic signals will be coordinated with each other.

Mayor Steve Noble said those areas’ street designs are antiquated and the city is looking to adjust for the current needs of their residents.

“Many of those were designed a very, very long time ago and didn’t take into consideration the amount of traffic that we have today, as well as the amount of people on foot and on bicycle that utilize and live, work and shop and dine in this area,” said Noble. “With this multi-million dollar project, we are looking to make improvements to those gateways,” he said.

Members of the public will be able to provide comment up until December 31. An overview of the presentation, in print, is available on the city’s website, as well as a video of the public hearing on their YouTube channel.