Letters: Man of Destiny; What about Walmart?; Lost Rondout redux; Bike lanes are triple win

ktx hudsonfultonstampBernie Sanders — man of destiny?

Throughout history at times of great change, turmoil and crisis it seems that often a special person rises above the chaos to lead the way.

Remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Churchill?

What Bernie brings to the table is a progressive mind coupled with a compassionate heart. A visionary who champions the poor, the elderly and the shrinking middle class. A kind, sensitive and experienced politician whose concerns about the environment, our failing infrastructure, and an economy rigged so only the rich can win, matches our own apprehensions.


Bernie demands on equal pay for women, free universities, breaking up the voracious big banks, a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health system and an end to the United States acting as world policeman.

While he’s one of the oldest presidential candidates, his biggest following are the young  — people who are committed to changing all the things that aren’t working in our country.

Do you see any other candidates from either party as inspiring?

Bernie Sanders. Think about it. We can make him our Man of Destiny.

Joyce Benedict, Hyde Park

What about Walmart?

I read with interest Geddy’s column on the Kingston/Ulster economy [Dec. 10 Kingston Times], and was left once again contemplating that elephant called Walmart. I’d like to know how Walmart fits into the equation of our local economy. Maybe next time.

Olivia Tinker Twine, Woodstock

Lost Rondout redux

Urban renewal, Energy Square, the 587 traffic circle have a lot more in common than one would think … they all come from money, decisions at the top, projects too far underway for the citizen to do much about it and finally, they all use “stakeholder” not so much to include as to exclude. It’s not enough to be a citizen, you must be part of the in-group, you must have money in the game, you must be an atypically large beneficiary of the project. Your position on the matter is largely a property of your job, as an advisor, planner, engineer, contractor or maybe a future resident business getting in on the ground floor.

For those who were around during urban renewal, we can attest that it really looked like a good thing, (“it looked like a good idea at the time”) and maybe it was: we were stuck way deep in the muck of property that had gone un-maintained and unused, a glut on the market and hardly any view to where to start. Like a dirty plate, no place to even set a couple of French fries down to start a meal.

Thus Energy Square, thus the traffic circle: there are very strong cases to be made against them. They all share the “big solution from the top” mode, a quick solution, like the man told he had to quit drinking, stop smoking, exercise and cut down on sugar: “I’ve got medical coverage: can’t you just operate?”

Energy Square, the traffic circle, et al: these are in the category of “operations.” We can wait a bit, we can clean up a little and let the living organism heal, or we can operate.

Better, I say we should trust ourselves, trust each other: I’ll start it going: I trust you, the people, one at a time or in a bunch.

I can follow up with brief essays on the 587 traffic circle, on Energy Square and more … but these are projects that ought not to proceed from where they are: they need to take one giant step back.

Add BBB (Build a Better Broadway) into that mix.

Gerald Berke, Kingston

Protected bike lanes are a triple-win

I am writing to challenge the idea that there aren’t enough cyclists on Broadway to justify an investment in bike lanes. According to the 2014 Building a Better Broadway study, there is a per-hour average of 5-10 bikes, with a peak of 20-30 in the evenings near Kingston High School. This would increase with protected bike lanes: “the average protected bike lane sees bike counts increase 75 percent in its first year alone,” according to a 2014 study, Lessons from the Green Lanes, from the National Institute for Transportation and Communities.

I bike to work from Downtown to Uptown Kingston to stay in shape, save money and reduce pollution. However, I’m afraid to bike on Broadway, especially at night, because the cars are not aware of bikes, as there is no bike lane.

I was relieved to learn that there is a plan for protected bike lanes on Broadway that will allow me to bike safely and will encourage Kingston residents to bike more: “62 percent of people who live near protected lane projects would be more likely to ride a bicycle if motor vehicles and bicycles were physically separated by a barrier”, according to the NITC study.

As an urban designer, I can attest that implementing a protected bike lane is moving in the right direction: prioritizing physical and environmental health and safety through complete streets whose activity will in turn support Broadway businesses.

Let’s get Kingston on the map as a bike-friendly city!

Julia Farr, Kingston

There are 4 comments

  1. Gerald Berke

    The BBB bike plan is presented against no alternatives: all of the alternatives were culled out before the public was involved. There is no plan for where the bikes come from,how they get from Uptown, where they travel in uptown… there is nothing that addresses traffic to Hannaford, where there is a lot of bike traffic with groceries and goods being carried.
    The 587 circle will be an impediment to bike traffic on the Kingston Corridor… there is no plan whatsoever to provide some basic level of biking on the Kingston Corridor… nothing at all on Clinton: the sharrows were never tested at all! none were put uptown, and a few were painted just to try painting sharrows down at Kingston Point Park…
    It will all be done as a grand project because we don’t quite know how to do a small one, we don’t seem to have a means to incrementally improve our streets while we are maintaining them… Even to the point of letting crosswalks degrade, traffic signals break, putting up no clear and visible pedestrian crossing signs….
    Simply calming the traffic on the 6 lane portion of the Kingston Corridor would go a huge way to making Broadway much much friendlier.
    I am reminded of the writer who, presenting a wordy report, apologizes saying I would have written less but I didn’t have have the time…. thus we get big sweeping projects eventually rather than small increments starting now..

  2. Susan

    There needs to be more than one study done of Broadway and bike use. I find the claims for the number of bikes currently on Broadway pretty hard to believe. 20 to 30 on Broadway near the High School in the late afternoon, early evening pretty hard to believe and 5-10 bikes per hour the rest of day when I have seen only a handful bikes the entire 10 years that I have lived in Kingston. I have talked to neighbors and they find the numbers unbelievable as well. Before the City of Kingston spends a lot of money (that it does not have) tearing up Broadway, let’s check the numbers.

  3. Pete

    I still find it lamentable that city planners, developers, and the vocal minority of kingston are focused on non-value added amenities such as bike lanes, and affordable housing. How about focusing on investing in jobs first to attract viable employers / anchors to the area willing to invest back into the community? What good are bike lanes, and affordable housing in promoting the skills necessary to transform the local worker into a talented, modern employee capable of being competitive with a global workforce? Bike lanes and affordable housing continues the slow degrading of the local economy into more of an entitlement economy looking for a handout or novelty to pass the time. A true shame that Kingston will become the next Newburgh. History slowly repeats itself.

  4. Zed

    Conversion of a four-lane undivided roadway to three lanes have been done all over the country, almost always with great results. So much so that the Federal Highway Administration calls it a “proven safety countermeasure.” On average, vehicle crashes go down 30%. Some projects cut crashes nearly in half.

    So, why are people opposed to a change that has been proven to make the street safer? Is it because it will also benefit people who ride bikes? Is it because they’re afraid it might take a few seconds per day longer to get to work, and that’s worth more to them than their own safety? How does a safety improvement not add value? I’d really like to understand.

    The street needs to be rebuilt anyway. Why not do it in a way that makes it safer for everyone? Can you propose a better use of the fourth lane that makes the street more dangerous than it needs to be?

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