The municipality is looking for public feedback on bike lane designs for the south end of the peninsula.
The objectives of the project are to connect the Halifax Urban Greenway (the multi-use path along the rail-cut) to Lower Water Street, with the Dalhousie University campuses along the way, and to connect Dal’s Studley and Carleton campuses with the Saint Mary’s University campus using Robie Street.
For most of the sections there are multiple options, but not the first.
To get from Lower Water Street to University Avenue, the municipality has already decided it’s using Morris Street, calling the design 1A. Confusingly, there’s no 1B shown to the public for consideration at this stage.
Morris Street would be converted to one way (east), with a two-way bike lane on the north side of the street. Parking spots and loading zones would stay on the south side of the street, with a net loss of five parking spaces from the north side. Transit routes and stops would be moved to parallel streets (Spring Garden Road and South Street).
The municipality would also remove six of the 55 existing street trees — including two mature American elms, classified as “high-value” trees. In this design, and the others, the municipality would replace the trees with new ones either on that street or nearby.
As Philip Moscovitch reported in this Morning File in October 2021, local residents are opposed to the removal of street trees on Morris, although they were concerned that many more than six would meet the chainsaw. According to a posted evaluation document, 1B and 1C had one-way bike lanes on either side of the street. Those options presumably meant the loss of more trees.
Moving on to University Avenue, the municipality has presented the public with three options: 2A, 2B, and 2C.
Under 2A, HRM would install one-way raised bike lanes on either side of the street, akin to those on South Park Street, along with widened sidewalks. That would require the removal of most parking south of Robie Street (80 spaces), and 44 of 326 street trees.
There’s currently a temporary bike lane using this design on University Avenue south of Robie Street, but a lack of any separation aside from flimsy bollards means it’s often used by delivery trucks.
2B would place a two-way bike lane in the centre of the boulevard. Parking and loading would be unaffected, and 23 street trees would go.
2C would replace the north side traffic lane with a two-way bike lane. The south lane would accommodate two-way traffic, with parking and loading. This option would see 56 trees removed.
There are two options to complete the connection to the Halifax Urban Greenway: 3A using South Street and 3B using Cartaret Street and Oakland Road.
3A is a two-way bike lane on the north side of South Street. Most parking would be removed, 19 spaces in total, along with 52 of 88 street trees.
3B isn’t a bike lane at all, but rather a local street bikeway on Cartaret Street and Oakland Road, where the municipality paints a bike on the road and cyclists “share” with drivers, like on Vernon Street. There would also be some traffic calming features including bump outs or speed humps.
Lastly, there are two options for Robie Street from University Avenue to the southern end at SMU.
The first, 4A, is a multi-use pathway on the east side of the street, where pedestrians and cyclists mix. That would require the removal of one lane of traffic between South Street and University Avenue, and seven of 333 street trees.
4B would put one-way bike lanes on either side of Robie. Traffic would be cut to one lane in either direction, and 11 street trees would be removed. There’d be no parking south of Inglis Street, a total loss of 81 spaces.
Commenting is open now with a survey, and on the interactive map, where people can add their comments, visible to anyone, to specific areas.
On July 18 and 20, HRM is holding “virtual, small group discussions” via Zoom, with plans for in-person public meetings to come. More information here.
After public consultation, planners will select the preferred options and take them to council for a decision. There’s no set timeline for construction.