In recent days, there have been several announcements for meetings and discussions in various circles online about some upcoming, exciting Kingston transportation projects. Yet, I can imagine for the citizen who’s picking up the tidbits of information here and there, it can be quite confusing!
The Skinny on How Transportation Projects Happen
Transportation projects basically happen in three phases: planning, design, and implementation (or construction). Simply put, during planning, feasibility studies, initial concepts, and preliminary plans are developed by planners. During design, engineers and planners create detailed designs and budgets for the project. During implementation, contractors and engineers construct the project.
Check out the graph to see when you, the citizen, have an opportunity to influence the design of a project. Too often a project is already moving into the construction phase when people notice it is going on. At that point, it’s too late for the public’s voices to be integrated into design. It’s important to show up at the public meetings during the planning and design phases to have an influence on the ultimate outcome.
Kingston’s Current Projects
The Kingston Connectivity Project
There are several pieces of the Kingston Connectivity Project â€“ Building a Better Broadway, Traffic Signalization on Broadway, the 587 Intersection Project, and the Kingston Greenline, which includes the Kingston Point Rail Trail, Complete Streets Connections in Midtown, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, the O&W Rail Trail, and the proposed Catskill Mountain Rail Trail. What phase are we in for each of these pieces?
Building a Better Broadway
PHASE: END OF PLANNING, MOVING INTO DESIGN
The Ulster County Transportation Council (part of the Ulster County Planning Office) utilized $80,000 in federal funds (that can only be used for planning studies) to hire consultants, VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture of White Plains, to plan the concept for a new Broadway design. A final public meeting for this process was on August 6th, and comments on the plan can be submitted until September 4th by going here. The final preferred plan will incorporate public comments received and then be presented to the Common Council or appropriate City board. This preferred plan will be used as the basis for the design.
Going forward the project will be designed by engineering consultants, Greenman-Pederson, Inc. (GPI), hired by the City of Kingston with funding from a NYSERDA Cleaner and Greener Communities Grant. By the end of 2016, contractors will apply and be awarded a contract for construction, which is funded by a federal Transportation Enhancements Program Grant through the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), so the city needs to get the design in place and approved by the NYSDOT by then. To keep up with this project visit the City of Kingston webpage.
Traffic Signalization on Broadway
Dovetailing with the Building a Better Broadway project, the City of Kingston has, with funding through the aforementioned NYSERDA Grant, contracted with GPI, the same engineering firm that will be doing the Broadway design, to complete a traffic signalization study, design, and installation of new traffic signals on Broadway. The purpose of this study is to figure how to re-signalize the traffic lights so that motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians can move smoothly and efficiently through the Broadway corridor.
587 Intersection Project
PHASE: PLANNING COMPLETE, BEGINNING DESIGN
A study for the 587 Intersection Project was completed with federal funding through the Ulster County Transportation Council by consultants Fitzgerald & Halliday of Hartford, Connecticut in 2010. Visit the full study here. Since this intersection is a state road, design for the project will be led by the New York State Department of Transportation, starting in fall 2015 according to the Transportation Improvement Program (the TIP). In short, the TIP is a list of Ulster County projects that have federal or state funding. Contractors will be sought to apply for construction of the project in 2017, and construction would likely start in spring of 2018.
PHASE: VARIOUS PHASES FOR EACH SECTION
A conceptual plan called the Kingston Greenline was creating by Alta Planning and Design in 2014 with funding from the Land Trust Alliance through the Kingston Land Trust. This conceptual plan included a number of different projects throughout the City that could be implemented separately over time. Together, these projects will fulfill the vision for the â€œKingston Greenline,â€ a system of corridors that connect the three rail trails that terminate in the City. This is a large plan, however, and it will need to be planned and implemented over time.
Kingston Point Rail Trail (KPRT)
PHASE: DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
The KPRT is a proposed 1.5 mile trail from the Kingston Hospital to the Trolley Museum. A feasibility study was completed by Alta Planning a Design through funding secured by the Kingston Land Trust from the Community Development Block Grant program and the Hudson Valley Greenway. A more concrete design, funded by a combination of sources listed below, is currently in development by Saratoga Associates, KC Engineering, and Hone Strategic. Some implementation has begun with the removal of rails and ties and the installation of regrind from city streets (recycled material) completed by Iron Horse in exchange for the value of the rails.
Funding Sources: NYSERDA, OPRHP (Heritage Area Grant and Recreational Trails Program), and Department of State (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program), Central Hudson (Main St. Revitalization Program)
Saratoga Associates, KC Engineering, and Hone Strategic are also working on the design of Complete Streets connections to link to the Kingston Point Rail Trail to the Midtown Hub that would branch out to the U&D Rail Trail, O&W Rail Trail, and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Other Trail Sections of the Greenline
PHASE: VARIOUS STAGES OF PLANNING
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail â€“ The Kingston Land Trust is collaborating with the Open Space Institute and others to evaluate route options outlined in the Greenline Conceptual Plan. Town of Ulster is putting in a trailhead parking. Barton and Loguidice, D.P.C. is currently engaged by Open Space Institute with a Hudson Valley Greenway Grant to do a feasibility study.
Kingston Rail Trail Project
Ulster County, with (20%) state and (80%) federal transportation funding, has hired Barton and Loguidice, D.P.C., to consider and evaluate alternatives for connecting the O& W (also known as the Hurley Rail Trail) to the Kingston Plaza area through one or two alternative routes. Final design will be completed in 2016, and construction would begin in 2017. Funding for the entire project totals $1.375 million.
Ulster County Rail Trail Project
To date more than $4.8 million has been secured for the Ulster County Rail Trail Project. This project proposes a linear park from Cornell St. in Midtown Kingston to the Kingston Plaza and ultimately to the Ashokan Reservoir. The Ulster County Legislature is currently debating a compromise for rail with trail on a 2 mile-segment from the Kingston Plaza to the west out of the city.
Safe Routes to School Project
PHASE: AT THE END OF DESIGN
Federal funding from the New York State Department of Transportation was awarded to the City of Kingston for a Safe Routes to School Project in 2012. The City contracted with Greenman-Pederson, Inc. (GPI) to complete the design for the project. A design was presented to the Common Council Public Safety/General Government committee in July 2015, and public comment on the design is due back by August 21st, 2015. Go to the City of Kingston webpage to see the design and get the form you can use to submit public comment.