Climate Change and the Third Crossing

The Third Crossing project is not environmentally friendly.

The goal of the City’s Official Plan is to make Kingston one of the most sustainable cities on the continent. In 2014, the City of Kingston adopted the Climate Action Plan. This sets a target date of 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 15% below 2011 levels.

196 countries, including Canada, attended the 2015 Paris Conference (COP 21 Paris). Canada agreed to keep global warming to within a maximum increase of 2 degrees Celsius. This agreement was endorsed by the City of Kingston.

Based on an established law of physics, when compared with the “Do Nothing scenario”, explained in one of the City’s studies, a Third Crossing will increase the number of car trips between the two sides of the Cataraqui River. Newton’s “laws of gravitational attraction” proves that the closer two objects are together (east and west of city, in this case by construction of the third crossing), the larger the attraction. Information extracted from City studies shows that once the crossing is in place the number of vehicle trips between the two sides of the city will increase by 22 per cent (363 trips) during evening peak hours. In other words, people will do more trips between two sides of the city once the bridge is in place.

Thus the Third Crossing will be totally incompatible with the goal of current Official Plan and progressive transportation planning that aim to reduce automobile trips, car dependency and greenhouse gas emissions in urban and rural areas.

The Third Crossing is part of a road network designed in 2004 and carried forward through the 2015 Kingston Transportation Master Plan (KTMP). It includes road widening and extensions throughout the city that would require at least $500 million over the next 20 years.

Studies show that road widening does not decrease traffic congestion in the medium and long term. In fact it increases the number of vehicles’ trips. The KTMP reveals that in terms of Level of Service (LOS) ‘E’, when a lane is added to a road, traffic volume can increase up to 900 vehicles/km.**

Despite these environmental issues, the City presses ahead to get the third crossing ‘shovel ready’. This momentum is not compatible with the City’s endorsements of climate change goals, and neglects our real priorities and the resiliency of future generations.

** “Level of Service (LOS) is a measure used by traffic engineers to assess how traffic is operating. For the KTMP, the LOS during the afternoon (PM) peak hour is utilized. For automobile travel, the volume to capacity ratio (v/c) is a tool used to identify the congestion level on a road. The recommended target for identifying road improvements in the 2015 KTMP is to revise the volume/capacity ratio from 0.9 (LOS D) to 1.0 (LOS E). This LOS threshold will allow the City to defer capital costs until roads reach capacity.”

LOS= number of cars in one Kilometer / the capacity of one lane of the road.
LOS ‘E’= 900 cars in one kilometer / 900 (the capacity of one lane in one kilometer) = 1.0

A Third Crossing will increase global warming!