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Market and Ontario Street- Possible Closure

The City of Kingston has been looking into closing Ontario and Market St. Below is an update from Ed Smith, Board of Management Chair.

  Photo by Jessica Foley.         

Photo by Jessica Foley.To Downtown Kingston members,

In the news lately have been stories about the possibility of closing Market St. and the one block of Ontario St in front of City Hall. Mayor Paterson has been on video on this topic. Our Executive Director, Marijo Cuerrier and I have received some calls from members with concerns. 

No decision has been made. City council is exploring the possibility and has authorized staff to consult the public and begin an environmental assessment. The city is planning to rejuvenate Confederation Park at some undetermined time in the future and would like to incorporate these street changes if they were to come about into the park redesign. Also to be assessed is the changing   traffic patterns if any as a result of the Waaban Crossing (3rd Crossing) opening. 
Downtown Kingston will be doing its own consultation with its members once more details become available. 

I have reached out to Mayor Paterson regarding some concerns expressed by members and his response is included below. Note the options include status quo to the streets to permanent closures and the many options in between.

Ed Smith, Chair, Downtown Kingston BIA 

Mayor Paterson's email:
Mayor PatersonHi Ed,
Thanks very much for your note on this. I can assure you I am very open-minded on any future plans for Market Street and the block of Ontario Street in front of City Hall. I've heard lots of feedback on both sides, and I don't think any decision will or should be made until well after the Third Crossing is opened (to get a better feel for what traffic flows and patterns look like through the downtown after that). I would also want discussions on any temporary or part-time closures as part of a larger visioning of what a revitalized Confederation Park could look like. 
There are also a number of potential outcomes besides permanent closure or status quo. One possibility could be a narrower street in front of City Hall, with a more attractive look (cobblestone with bollards that can go up and down to facilitate temporary closures) that allows for an expanded and revitalized park space. The BIA is an important stakeholder in this discussion, so I would certainly welcome and expect the necessary time and space for consultation with downtown businesses on what they think works best. 
Anyway, please feel free to pass along my sentiments if it would help to reassure anyone you are speaking with. We are a long way from any decisions and I for one remain very open-minded.