In the harbour
1. Motorcyclist dies
From the police email update to reporters this morning:
At 11:45 pm police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Ridgecrest Dr and Mount Edward Rd in Dartmouth. A motor cycle travelling on Ridgecrest Dr proceeded through the intersection and crashed into a yard on Mount Edward Rd. The 30 year old male driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is being investigated by the HRP Collison Investigation Unit.
This week, we talk with author and journalism professor Dean Jobb about his latest book, Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation.
Also this week, Nova Scotia Finance Minister Randy Delorey unveiled the Liberals’ new plan for dealing with public sector workers: let them battle one another over some scraps, while saving the prime cuts for “risk-takers, dreamers, doers and builders.”
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3. Cogswell roundabout
The new Cogswell roundabout opens this morning at 9am.
This is the second of two training roundabouts. The first was the Cunard roundabout two blocks north, which involved a relatively simple reworking of an intersection involving just two streets. Motorists have gotten used to that roundabout, see that it’s not some evil thing foisted upon them by stupid and mean-spirited engineers (really, that Novalea neighbourhood is looking sillier and sillier), but rather a sensible approach to traffic management, safer for pedestrians and less of a headache for drivers.
The Cogswell roundabout replaces a mishmash of interconnecting 18th-century cattle trails that have evolved into a 21st century traffic nightmare, and doubly so for pedestrians. I’m sure there will be an initial unease for people newly using the roundabout, but soon enough they’ll find that it’s easy and safe.
In a couple of years, when the irrational fear of roundabouts subsides in the face of actual experience, the city will trot out the next roundabout proposal, for the Willow Tree intersection.
4. Lacewood terminal
The new Lacewood Transit Terminal opened this morning. Bus route and other information is found here.
Everyone knows the power went out over the weekend, right? You know it’s hot and humid? Good. No need for me to talk about it.
1. Yarmouth ferry
Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan’s announced last week that he is delaying a decision as to what company will operate the Yarmouth ferry next year. “Which, at one level, makes sense. We’ve made more than enough missteps on the ferry file,” observes Stephen Kimber:
But the longer the government delays naming a new operator [for the Yarmouth ferry], the harder it will be for the new company to develop and implement a marketing plan that can attract significantly more passengers at lower costs next season.
And without that, there can be no ferry service.
Meanwhile, Roger Taylor says we should continue to subsidize the ferry no matter how much it costs.
Stephen Archibald visits the Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. No running, kids!
3. Cranky letter of the day
Recently in Lake Echo, a developer applied to have land rezoned to build a construction and demolition disposal facility. Community pushback was immediate, with over 1,500 people on an anti-dump Facebook page, thousands of signatures on a petition and “No Dump” signs everywhere in the community.
Our councillor assures us that there will be a public information meeting that will solicit input from the community before any decision on the rezoning is rendered.
Meanwhile, millions have been spent to upgrade the highway through Lake Echo from the Highway 107 connector to the site of the proposed dump facility. Bridges have been rebuilt, culverts upgraded and replaced, and the road surface was widened from seven to nine metres (the only upgrade I have seen in the county!) On top of that, millions have been spent to widen the bridge on Highway 107 to facilitate a longer acceleration lane leaving Lake Echo, which will be required for heavily laden tractor-trailers leaving the sorting site.
Is our province suddenly so flush with cash that it can throw millions of dollars at infrastructure upgrades for a project that has not even received municipal approval? Or is this public consultation exercise just a charade designed to make the voting public think they have some input into issues that will severely impact their communities?
Dan Regan, Lake Echo
No public meetings.
On this date in 1807, “due to strained relations with the United States, Lieutenant Governor John Wentworth issued a proclamation prohibiting the export of cattle and provisions from the Province,” says whoever compiles the legislative calendar.
The CBC this morning published a rundown of federal election ridings in Nova Scotia, the candidates, and their chances according to Mount St. Vincent prof Jeff MacDonald.
In the harbour
Tomar, car carrier, arrived at Autoport this morning from Southampton, England; it sails to sea this afternoon
Dallas Express, container ship, Rotterdam to Fairview Cove at 4pm
Northern Delegation, container ship, New York to a berth to be determined, at 4:30pm
Just one more week of this slow summer news. Halifax council doesn’t meet again until September 8, because what’s the hurry?, but school starts next week, some hurricanes will form and threaten to travel somewhere vaguely in the North Atlantic and send the ceeb into convulsions, cruise ship season kicks into high gear, and undoubtedly someone will do something fantastically ridiculous. I can’t wait.
Catching up. I sailed on the Novastar last week. Two quotes kept coming to mind.
1. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” From Jaws of course. I’m sure somebody on the procurement team must have said that. Ghost ship more like.
2. From sci-fi author Charles Stross, don’t know if it’s original: “In late stage capitalism government is the customer of last resort.”
Somebody’s making money off this but it sure ain’t us.
The ««NEW MULTIMILLION DOLLAR LACEWOOD TERMINAL is a perfect setup for Anaheim or Lake Havasu but who in their right minds would design a weather-exposed bunch of cattle-shades spread over some three acres? We live (last time I checked) in a climate which has many more INCLEMENT days (rain, snow, sleet, and hurricane force arctic winds) than days of Tropical Bliss for which the design is obviously intended. I can just see people like myself slogging thru shin-deep slush, scrambling over 3-foot ice-mountains, and drenched to the skin when the precipitation isn’t frozen.
CAN WE E–V–E–R GET IT RIGHT?????
Dear Dan Regan: You have run into what has been going on for DECADES in HRM. These «Public Consultations» are, as you suspect, bare-faced CHARADES. The decisions, since the time of Peter «In -Camera» Kelly are pretty well ALL made behind closed doors and MONTHS if not YEARS before they finally LEAK out to the public.
As my dear friend Anna Dexter was wont to say: «It all depends on whose ox is being gored.» If you have the right connections and/or lots of brown envelopes in your back pocket you can get almost anything you want hereabouts, and the affected, tax-paying citizens be damned. I’ve given up on attending these kangaroo courts simply because the outcome is reliably predictable as CITIZENS ZERO — SCOUNDRELS TEN!
I understand why roundabouts would be popular with traffic engineers. Beyond the initial capital outlay, no maintenance or upkeep is necessary.
As a pedestrian I’m not sold on their alleged safety aspects. I’ve had more close calls on North Park with people not paying attention as any traffic light intersection no matter what degree of eye contact. If there ain’t no stop sign or traffic light a percentage of drivers see nothing but open road. Certainly a pedestrian is just in the way.
I hope the experiment works and drvers never reach the level of ignorance as a Rome or Ho Chi Minh City. Roundabouts are there to expedite car traffic, not for pedestrian safety.
I agree. We had hundreds of «Golden Opportunities» to CORRECT a large number of the «cattle trails» — legacy of colonial days, but, like in colonial days, it mattered not a whit what was sensible, forward-thinking, or just plain common sense. What REALLY mattered, and what STILL MATTERS, is who you are and how much you and your friends can make by «developing» land which should have been set aside for traffic improvements. VIZ.: Chebucto Road at the Arm, Mumford, North Street, and Windsor/Cunard. We had over a half-century during which ALL or these could have been properly re-arranged to handle traffic smoothly and effectively, but instead were allowed to be built up, often right to the 19th century curb-lines by PRIVATE interests, thereby making any improvements horrendously costly if not just plain impossible. MOST of the traffic problems haunting HRM are the result of similar NON-planning, and kissing the derriéres of «connected» special interests. I’m sure if you were to investigate Rome’s political scene you’d find we’re right in line!
I have traveled the Nova Star several times and found the experience to be much as Karen Bradley did. But I think her comment and Tim’s last week reflect a confusion about what kind of service the Nova Star is to provide. Unfortunately, I think Geoff MacLellan is also confused. The study group that led to the Nova Star argued that what was needed was not a longer Digby-Saint John ferry, which is what I think MacLellan and Tim think it is. That is, they see the Nova Star as just a way to get to a vacation (or home from a vacation) in Nova Scotia. Instead, the study group argued, what was needed was something that was part of the vacation in Nova Scotia and that is what, I think, Nova Star does a rather good job of providing. (Though, I might argue that the schedule would work better in this regard if the Portland to Yarmouth trip were in the daytime so that the Nova Star could really be an introduction to Nova Scotia; with that part of the journey at night as it now is with most people sleeping most of the trip, it is harder to do this. I understand the logistical prnblems that presents, though.) A benefit of the Nova Star I did not realise until my son and his family used it a week ago is that instead of having their kids strapped into a car seat in the back of the car for the 5 hour plus trip between Portland and Saint John, the kids were free to play in the nice space the Nova Star provides (and the kids, of course, traveled free). And, as I always do, I must protest that if you are going to complain about the subsidy to the Nova Star, you have to explain why you are not also complaining about the large subsidy to the Digby-Saint John service and the even less justifiable subsidy to that service between PEI and Nova Scotia – there is a bridge we paid a fortune for you know.
I would also point out that there has been a significant increase in visitors from the US since the Nova Star started last year. Some of that is surely due to the cheaper Canadian dollar, but surely a lot of it is because people can come to Nova Scotia without driving through New Brunswick. And, frankly, if you’re already in New Brunswick, what would attract to you to drive even further to Nova Scotia? To dine on lobster in Halifax? Please, I know what they catrch in Maine and so do tourists.
I’m not against subsidizing the ferry. I’m against *open-ending* subsidization of the ferry. Ferry supporters (or convention centre supporters, or stadium supporters…) should tell us how much is too much. At what point do we cut bait? $100 million? $500 million? When?
Ditto thanks for the intro to the other John Hurt
Thanks for Mr. Hurt today.
The main reason the intersection of Novalea / Duffus / Devonshire doesn’t need a roundabout is that the traffic flow is quite light. I lived in that neighbourhood for 10 years and never waited behind more than 2 or 3 cars ever, any time of day, any direction, at that intersection. Granted I did not drive from downtown to the Windsor Exchange via Devonshire / Duffus so maybe the traffic is worse at “rush hour”, but 99% of the time there is very little traffic.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the city turns Lady Hammond and Duffus into the next Bayers Road, i.e. the next residential street they widen to facilitate car traffic into the centre of the city. A roundabout, in that context, would be quite forward-looking (I don’t mean that would be a good thing). It’s definitely not needed now.
Super excited, though, to try out the new Cogswell roundabout which was sorely needed in that dangerous place. Willow Tree next. Novalea is nothing compared to those busy intersections.
I want to remain somewhat skeptical about the roundabouts on North Park. I agree that something had to be done about those intersections, and they do improve things somewhat for pedestrians (though they also forever close the door on the possibility of either bike or bus lanes).
But Halifax’s traffic engineers designed them to push more traffic, and faster, through those intersections. It’s not at all clear to me that should have been the goal for streets in moderately dense but quiet neighbourhoods. It seems an especially dumb goal for a street that runs along one of the biggest parks on the peninsula, where kids are playing for a good chunk of the year.
I took the ferry back to the US last week and it was lovely. Not inexpensive, but really quite a restful and interesting journey. I usually drive, because, as Tim pointed out last week, it takes just as long to drive as to take the ferry, given the utter lack of traffic between Halifax and Calais. And the drive to Yarmouth and the overnight stay there add to the time and money cost. But to spend ten hours in a relaxed state while getting ready for a harrowing school year to come made a difference to me. The boat was not crowded and they clearly could have used more passengers, but the crew were helpful and friendly. I hope the province finds a way to maintain this little slice of sweetness, and that others are as fortunate as I to travel this way.