The municipality is looking for public feedback on bike lane designs for the south end of the peninsula.

Halifax unveiled the “Peninsula South Complete Streets” design options last week with a webpage, an interactive map and a series of YouTube videos.

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).

Morris Street 1A

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.

University Avenue 2A

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.

University Avenue 2B

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.

University Avenue 2C

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.

South Street 3A

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.

Robie Street 4A

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.

Robie Street 4B

The process

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.

Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. In light of the climate emergency pronouncements, one would hope that HRM would try to discourage driving on the peninsula and work to make walking, cycling and other forms of active transit more comfortable. If HRM were responsible, its planners would be designing in such a way as to remove car traffic from many South End Streets on a gradual basis. HRM should be taking space away from cars and use that space to create walking and cycling spaces that are truly appropriate for all ages and abilities (from 5-95). This requires slow speed, shade, seating, regular access to water and toilets and ample distance from gas and diesel emissions and noise from cars, trucks and buses.

    I don’t own a car. So my travel is by walking or cycling. The existing cycling lanes on the HRM are not safe and do not work for all ages and abilities. In a similar vein, many HRM sidewalks on the peninsula are not safe or comfortable to walk on and do not work for all ages and abilities. In light of the poor shape of HRM cycling lanes and streets in the downtown area, I opt to take routes that put me on quiet tree covered streets. I move slower and my “climate controlled” atmosphere depends on shade in the warmer months.
    I have routinely participated in the various “discussions” and “consultations” along with other disgruntled HRM residents to no avail. It seems that we are doomed to suffer with fools for planners and governance.

  2. Incredible that people here can, with absolutely no sense of irony, talk about the trees that may be cut down to improve biking in this city, but completely overlook, forget or ignore the exponentially greater number of trees, not to mention natural landscapes in general, that had to be destroyed so that single occupancy, climate destroying, people killing machines (including giant and completely unnecessary SUVs and trucks) can enjoy unfettered mobility in this city at the expense of everyone, including themselves (climate change doesn’t discriminate). Textbook example of anything that deviates from a norm, no matter how toxic that norm is, comes to be perceived as a threat to the status quo. We’re so doomed!


  3. I think Cutting down trees for a bike lane is pissing in the soup. What bothers me is theHRM doesn’t seem to keep user stats fortheirbike lanes. I want to know how many users per day every day. I don’t think the user volume justifiesthe expense.

  4. Cutting down trees for a bike lane is pissing in the soup. What bothers me is theHRM doesn’t seem to keep user stats fortheirbike lanes. I want to know how many users per day every day. I don’t think the user volume justifiesthe expense.

  5. I have never, ever seen anyone riding a bike in one.

    I see lots of people on the Chain Lakes and BLT Trail riding bicycles……never in a bike lane.

    All those $$$’s should have been spent on something better.

    I assume a well managed municipality will have ridership statistics. May we please see them? Then we can look at the empirical evidence. Perhaps I am entirely mistaken. The statistics will tell us the real story.

    1. As a cyclist who uses the bike lanes wherever and whenever they exist, I can tell you that many of the lanes are so poorly constructed and maintained that they are dangerous. Bike lanes (eg.the newest one on Bayers Rd) often just end, dumping the cyclist on to heavily trafficked roads. Or else they get parked in by delivery vehicles or cars dropping off people requiring the cyclist to dodge out into traffic. Or else a construction project closes them off with no signage for bikes (South Park and University). When we have a comprehensive separated cycle network that works, you will see much more use. I know many people who are fearful cycling downtown in this city as it is. There is a reason the BLT is so popular.

  6. The city has really got “how to make citizens hate cyclists” nailed. Almost every option involves cutting down trees, most of which are mature hardwoods.
    Am looking forward to posters stapled to said trees opposing their said removal for those damned cyclists.