Bike lanes are en route for North Dartmouth.
Council’s Transportation Standing Committee voted on Thursday in favour of a plan to connect Highfield Park Drive to Victoria Road to Wyse Road with 2.2 kilometres of new cycling infrastructure.
“At the corner of Victoria and Highfield, there’s a library, a community centre, a transit terminal, a junior high school,” active transportation planner Chloe Kennedy told the committee. “And the roadway network isn’t necessarily a comfortable environment, per se, for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Kennedy presented the plan, designed to fix those issues, to the committee. She detailed three options presented to the community.
The first option was a cycling route down Highfield Park Drive to Victoria Road, along Victoria Road, and then down Albro Lake Drive.
The second ran from Leaman Drive to Primrose Street to Farrell Street, through Farrell Street Park to Wyse Road.
And the third option used True North Crescent, Crystal Drive, Pinecrest Drive, Brule Street, the existing Victoria Road pedestrian overpass, and then ran through Farrell Street Park to Wyse Road.
Staff ultimately landed on a hybrid option.
At an estimated cost of $2.31 million, a protected bi-directional bike lane will run the full stretch of Highfield Park Drive to Victoria Road, and then turn onto Farrell Street, down through the park to Wyse Road.
The route adds a sidewalk to Victoria Road between Highfield Park Drive and the pedestrian overpass.
And it adds traffic lights to the intersection of Victoria Road and Farrell Street. Kennedy said families and children regularly cross the road mid-block.
“We did a pop-up event on Farrell Street and one of the children, a little girl, said her and her brother run across this intersection almost daily,” Kennedy said.
“There’s certainly a lot of improvements that could be made.”
On Farrell Street, Kennedy said residents are concerned about a bidirectional bike lane on their street.
“When we had our pop-up event on Farrell, we did have some opposition to the bikeway and some concerns for the functionality of the street,” Kennedy said.
“So we will be going back to the community during preliminary design, to kind of have a bit more of a discussion, look at design options and either confirm this type or select another all ages and abilities facility type, which could be a local street bikeway or a multi-use pathway.”
The bikeway through the park to Wyse Road would be paved, and run next to the walking path.
Coun. Tony Mancini said the community is excited for the project.
“In this particular area, we haven’t seen these type of conversations about active transportation and moving people around,” Mancini said.
Mancini asked about the timing of the project. Active transportation manager David MacIsaac told him staff are planning the project for 2024.
“There’s still some work to do to make sure that that’s feasible and in the budget and that kind of thing, but Highfield Park Drive is up for some rehabilitation work, Farrell Street is up for some rehabilitation work,” MacIsaac said.
The committee voted unanimously in favour of the motion to recommend council approve the plan.