From a Planet Wings to a park — Kingston set to revamp Broadway intersection

This graphic shows the city’s plan for the complex Midtown intersection.

A proposal by Mayor Steve Noble would realign a notoriously tricky Broadway intersection by demolishing a former fast-food restaurant to make room for a roadway while expanding green space at the site. The project is expected to cost $1.2 million in city funds and state grant money.

In a March 1 letter to the Kingston Common Council, Noble sought support for his proposal to redesign the intersection where Broadway, Grand Street, Pine Grove Avenue and Prince Street come together. At the heart of the proposal is a plan to purchase the former site of the city’s main post office, demolish the vacant Planet Wings franchise which stands there today and run the roadway through the site. A small pocket park adjacent to the Millard Building would be expanded as part of the redesign.

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Noble said the old post office, torn down about 50 years ago in what’s now widely considered to be a grave sin against the city’s history and architecture, would be honored at the park.

Noble said the redesign would improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians at an intersection that has seen 44 traffic accidents in the past five years, while adding needed greens space to the Broadway corridor. 

Noble’s proposal comes as the city gears up for a major redesign for the Broadway corridor scheduled to begin construction next year. The $6 million project will include redesigned crosswalks and traffic signals, bike lanes and beautification projects. Noble said March 6 his proposal was intended to complement the larger overhaul of the Broadway corridor. 

“I realized that even when this project was completed, that intersection was not going to function properly without some kind of redesign,” said Noble. 

Noble said that had discussed the plan with state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) who pledged to secure state funding for the estimated $750,000 cost of realigning the intersection. Another $475,000 to purchase and demolish the former Planet Wings will come from city coffers, Noble said.

Noble said he plans to ask the Common Council to tap the city’s reserve fund balance to pay acquisition and demolition costs. That phase of the project, Noble said, could be complete as early as this spring. Reconstruction of the intersection would take place in 2021 once the Broadway redesign is complete.

There are 11 comments

  1. Jane

    Using reserve funds for this? Are you kidding me? Jesus Christ. Reserve funds to build a park in honor of a post office, while kids meals come out of Community Development Block Grants. They should all be ashamed of themselves. They should be embarrassed to be so out of tune with the city they live in and claim to represent. Reserve funds. For a park on Broadway that no one will use. It’s a citywide embarrassment.

  2. Samuel

    Excited for these improvements. Cool things are happening in The Rondout. Cool things are happening in The Stockade. Cool things are beginning to happen more an more in the Broadway Corridor. This link will unify and connect our two thriving business areas with this important neighborhood and is another clear step in the
    resurgance of Kingston. Its a positive for our community, our residents, and the continued positive momentum
    in Kingston. Let’s get The Kingstonian approved. Get the Cultural Center built so the neighbors stop feeling they are being left out, and get a smart and affordable for repair of The Canopies. Go for it. We are growing for the better and it benefits everyone in the end.

  3. Susan Houldin

    This sounds like a great idea. Establishing a park with greenery surrounded by the hardscape of the city. It has the potential to used by many: kids, people working nearby, those living in the city, visitors. A tourist exploring the city of Kingston may see this as welcome respite.
    A green park in the middle of the city.

  4. Irene Schrowang

    How about fixing the potholes in the city. I feel like I’ve got internal bleeding everytime that I have to drive any place in Kingston. Mr. Mayor , you are soooo out of touch with your priorities!

  5. No Free Area for Hot Dogs

    This is actually a good idea even though “mayor cashed out sick days illegally” and do nothing with no power Cahill are involved. Couple of things, that property is no where near worth what is listed in story. 50% of that maybe.

    Create a public private partnership with Dallas Hot Weiners, subdivide the property and SELL them a portion to create outdoor seating.

    Is that the same area where Tom lost is wallet?

  6. Lisa

    I live on Pine Street. Last week there was not one but 2 shootings on the same day, one 3 houses up from where I live. Apparently we don’t have enough money to build a police substation on Broadway but we can build a dumbass park that more criminals and vagrants can hang out in. Great thinking

  7. James Naismith

    A $10 million vest-pocket park you can get killed trying to get to from all the re-directed traffic making noise and parking-problems all around you? Is it big enough for a basket-ball court? Half a’ basketball-court?

  8. Neil B Millens

    Based on its performance, I question whether the City of Kingston knows how to adhere to best practices and processes to solve problems and develop solutions. Let’s examine the Mayor’s plan to purchase the property where the Planet Wings building stands on Broadway; a plan which is being rushed through the Common Council with little review or discussion. The justifications for the purchase include addressing traffic safety issues and replacing an eyesore with a green space. With regard to the traffic issues, it’s clear that purchasing the Planet Wings property and ripping up/realigning the roads is an expensive process. What is a far less expensive and much easier accomplished solution, however, is the addition of a left turn arrow to the traffic light facing Pine Street. Drivers on Pine Grove can then make a left turn onto Broadway without fear of being hit by on-coming traffic from Prince Street. When I asked members of the Common Council if such a simple step had even been considered – the universal answer was “No”. When I asked why not, emphasizing how simple and much less expensive it was, the common response was that the Mayor wanted the purchase to happen, it sounded like a good idea, and Kevin Cahill was getting a grant for Kingston. When I asked if the City had considered other spaces in Midtown for a green space, the universal answer was again “NO’. When I asked if the City had done any research and had any reason to think that the Planet Wing property was the best property available in Midtown for a green space, the answer was “NO”. When I asked if the City had done any research to determine if a green space was the best use for the Planet Wing property…a property currently on the tax roll and zoned for commercial use…the answer was “No”. To be clear, I am in favor of safe driving and green space…but they should be done intelligently. This project is unnecessary and should be rejected.

    Rather than going through appropriate processes to make informed choices and find the best solutions to issues confronting it, the City appears to let money, the players involved, and public perception drive its decision-making. For example, if the City has access to grant money, then spending it is often the answer, regardless of whether that is in fact the best solution. Or if the City wants to move forward on a specific project, it finds reasons to support it, rather than undertake an objective evaluation to ascertain if that project is in fact the best option for the City (the best use of resources and the best outcome). It’s been said that the tail often wags the dog in Kingston and I haven’t seen anything to disprove it. To add to this dysfunction is the reality that there are employees of the Kingston Planning Department and members of the Planning Board who simply do not comprehend how to correctly fulfill their obligations. This was most recently demonstrated this week in the NY Supreme Court’s ruling on the Board’s denial of site plan approval and special use permit for RUPCO’s project for the Alms House property. If City officials wonder why residents are critical of their actions and question their credibility and decision-making, the answer is obvious to all.

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