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276 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: A Scaled ... · 0 replies · +3 points

So, we've already had the first overly simplistic black-and-white comment. It really isn't about 'development' vs. 'time capsule'. I'm an urban geographer and actually taught urban planning for over ten years, and one thing that everyone involved in this debate should realise is that there are multiple ways of acheiving greater urban density and increasing the numbers of downtown residents. As most small towns in Europe demonstrate, 'density' is not the same as 'high-rise'. It's also certainly the case that the city could easily cope with some height without fundamentally altering the character of the city. In other words, there are other ways. The big problem here is that the local authority, the City of Kingston, seems to have no idea what it is doing. If a policy of densification, of attracting more residents, is to be pursued, it needs to be properly thought out and a process of participatory planning undertaken so that we get the city we want. Instead we have given over the planning and design process entirely to private developers, who don't have the interests of the city or people as their primary goal. Just respinding reactively to developer proposals is never going to arrive at a satisfactory result or make more than a small number of people happy. This is what planning should be about, it is what it is for.

288 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Kingston'... · 0 replies · +1 points

I was a regular at the Goat all the time I've lived here and I supported it to the end, despite that fact that it had been going downhill for a while. I think it could have been kept running, and brought in much needed investment had the co-op been opened up a bit more to be more of a community co-op than a pure workers' co-op but this idea was never taken up... anyway, it's a sad day.

As for what we have left, the Common Market is the best straight-up café: very good coffee and pastries, and newspapers. That's pretty much all I want in the morning. For other times of day, Musiiki offers a nice combination of coffee and whisk(e)y and it's open-mic nights and other musical events are fun. I hope they can open the (secret) patio again in the summer...

CoffeeEco isn't bad and Juniper is nice if you happen to be at, or passing by, the Tett Centre, although it's not worth trekking out there for the café alone.

Otherwise, there are a lot of okay but not special places.

292 weeks ago @ - The Downtown Bullies · 0 replies · +3 points

Once again, density and compact city design are not the same as high rise. Conflating urban density and high rise is rent-seeking speculative development rhetoric, not fact. We certainly need more people downtown and high density development would be good. These proposals however are poorly designed (hardly 'designed' at all) and out of place, and are being put forward as if they represent the right way in a black and white choice between development and stagnation. That's a false choice, and there should be a proper participatory planning process for the future of downtown, which looks at a range of choices and comes up with more innovative solutions that meet a greater range of needs.

315 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Kingston'... · 2 replies · +2 points

I don't understand why this is even controversial. These crossings work elsewhere in the world, and since the safety of the most vulnerable road users (pedestrians) is the most important thing in transport planning... is there even any convincing argument to the contrary?

319 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Bike Lane... · 0 replies · +3 points

As a cyclist with experience of commuting by bike in cities in Japan, the USA, the UK and Canada, I find that Kingston is a relatively safe place to cycle, but that there are three major problems:

1. Many drivers don't know how to drive around cyclists. In particular, quite a few drivers don't bother signalling when turning right and tend to right hook cyclists, assuming they will be going slow enough to do this. This is very dangerous. Many of us ride a lot faster than drivers realise. There needs to be better education of drivers about cyclists - both learners and those with licences.

2. The physical condition of roads in Kingston is dreadful. This is not just because of winter damage - other cities in Ontario have better roads than Kingston. It's bad enough for cars, but for bicycles a major pothole can be a serious hazard, and poor road conditions just put people off cycling. And as we know, the best way of keeping cyclists safe is more people cycling.

3. Other cyclists. So many cyclists don't seem to know the law or ride sensibly. I frequently see people riding on the wrong side of the road (i.e. against traffic), which is both illegal and dangerous to other cyclists. Many cyclists don't now how to signal or just don't do it. And finally, hardly any cyclists here seem to use lights after dark, which is mainly dangerous to pedestrians and other cyclists (as well as themselves). Cyclists need education too.

As for bike lanes and sharrows - well, they alert drivers that cyclists are likely to be around, which is good. But they aren't magical solutions to cycling problems.

323 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Best Bed ... · 0 replies · +1 points

The worst thing about living in Kingston is that I no longer get to stay at the Belvedere, which was such a pleasure when I had to visit in the past.

323 weeks ago @ - The Small Batch CafĂ© ... · 0 replies · -5 points

Had a coffee and a sandwich here. Couldn't see anything to get excited about at all.

327 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Kingston ... · 1 reply · +2 points

Anyone who is seriously considering voting Liberal after their pathetic performance on Bill C-51 has no idea what the word, 'Liberal', means...

333 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Controver... · 0 replies · +7 points

It's not really 'controversial' in a general sense. There are very small number of religious fundamentalists who are objecting.

364 weeks ago @ - Weekly Poll: Best Sush... · 0 replies · 0 points

There are no real sushi restaurants in Kingston. I'll eat at Sima occasionally and it's not terrible (unlike most of the others) but it's still nothing like real sushi.