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Kingston’s promenade roll out will cause access and delivery issues, business owner says

Rollout of Kingston downtown promenade style shopping not sitting well with some business owners and people with accessibility issues
On June 22, the City of Kingston will launch walk-able promenades on Princess Street and close vehicle traffic on two blocks of Brock Street.

The City of Kingston will be rolling out promenade style shopping in its historic downtown later this month.

It is all part of an effort to help small businesses recover from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

But several businesses and residents have concerns about accessibility.

“Personally, I see no benefit having my wares outside,” says Susan Cooke, who owns multiple businesses on lower Brock Street.

Susan Cooke in front of her store, Cooke’s Fine Foods on Brock Street.
Susan Cooke in front of her store, Cooke’s Fine Foods on Brock Street. Global News

Cooke says she was not consulted on the city’s plan to create a “social distancing” walking promenade for the summer.

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Princess Street will have partial lane closures during the week — both closed to traffic on the weekends.

On Brock Street, both lanes will be closed to vehicle traffic from Ontario and Wellington streets as of June 22.

“The impact this will have on our daily operations regarding sending deliveries to customers and receiving shipments from suppliers, is huge,” says Cooke. “It happens four, five, six times a day … that shipments are coming in and going out. It’s not a quiet block.”

Delivery trucks in front Cooke’s Fine Foods on Friday.
Delivery trucks in front Cooke’s Fine Foods on Friday. Susan Cooke/Global News

Cooke says that delivery companies have already said they will not park blocks away to make deliveries.  Cooke has had several meetings with city staff on the issue of access.

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“We think this is a really good idea to help our downtown over the summer,” says Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. “That being said, we know we have to get the details right.”

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson
Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson. Global News

The mayor adds that concerns will be heard.

“We are still open and working through some small changes,” says Paterson, “so it’s going to work for everybody.

“It’s a learning thing, we’ve never done anything like this before.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Kingston small business owners do a major rethink during pandemic

“No one has told us anything. No one has canvassed our opinion,” says Terry Whyte, a retired lawyer and partial amputee who needs access to his car and driveway, located off Brock Street.

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Terry Whyte stands next to his car in his driveway
Terry Whyte stands next to his car in his driveway. Global News

He lives in an apartment above 59 Brock St., and says with the street closed, it will cause major access issues.

Whyte also breaths through a trachea tube and uses his car to get around.

Brock Street has been closed before for special events, and Whyte has worked around it.

“But a three-month closedown, with no idea how we are going to access shops, go to doctor’s appointments etcetera … we have no idea how that is going to work,” says Whyte.

Terry Whyte and Susan Cooke stand near their driveway access laneway
Terry Whyte and Susan Cooke stand near their driveway access laneway. Global News

According to Mayor Paterson, issues of access and deliveries will be dealt with over the next two weeks.

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