A temporary pedestrian safety fence at Kingston’s Breakwater Park has raised the ire of residents trying to get to the park.
The city has spent $6 million improving the park with upgrades that include a new beach, paths, and a pedestrian bridge. An increase in the number of people using the park has also caused concerns about pedestrian safety, in particular at the uncontrolled intersection at Beverley and King streets.
King Street is a major artery in the city and has heavy traffic flow but visibility on King Street is also poor around Beverley where King bends and trees line the north side of the street.
To temporarily address the concerns for public safety, the city has erected a chain-link fence blocking off access to the park at the intersection.
The fence was put in place just before the Labour Day weekend and just after the holiday weekend, someone attached a sign to the chain link that reads, “Berlin Fence.”
Erin Tenenbaum, a Queen’s University student making her way to the beach, says she usually uses the Beverley Street intersection.
“I guess I get a little annoyed,” Tenenbaum said.
Tenenbaum’s friend, Alexa Leiningen, says it’s a little inconvenient walking the extra distance to get past the fence but says she would rather cross safely.
“I think if it wasn’t there … people would just cross the road anyway, so it’s nice and safe,” Leiningen said.
Peter Rubens lives on King Street, a block away from Beverley, and says the fence isn’t doing everything the city wants it to.
He says he still sees people crossing at the Beverley Street intersection.
“Pedestrians are still walking across the street expecting to cross the road and they can’t so what they will do is walk on this side of the fence on the road,” Rubens said.
Rubens would like to see the traffic signals on either side of the park synchronized. He says that would create breaks in the often very heavy flow of traffic on King Street.
“That would allow people at other intersections such as Beverley Street and Collingwood Street and Centre Street to actively cross the road,” Rubens said.
Ian Semple, Kingston’s director of transportation services, says the city has been studying the best way to address the issue of the Beverley Street intersection.
“We’re looking at a signal that would be a traffic signal that pedestrians would push a button and trigger,” Semple said.
Semple doesn’t have a specific date when the new traffic signal will be built but estimates it will be in place sometime this fall.