Cycling

Bikeway Connector Project to help cyclists over the Macdonald Bridge

HRM wants to make cycling across the harbour safe, easy and accessible

Current access to the Macdonald Bridge is not considered accessible for people of all ages and bicycling abilities, according to Regional Council.
The Macdonald Bridge is not considered accessible for people of all ages and cycling abilities.   Erin McIntosh

The Halifax Regional Municipality is asking for public input on how it can improve cyclists’ access to the Macdonald Bridge.

This week, there will be three public meetings to present and get feedback from people on the Bikeway Connector Project.

The project is overseen by the active transportation committee. David MacIsaac, supervisor of the committee, said he’d like to see more people cycling and travelling across the harbour.

“Right now, we basically dump bicyclists out on sidewalks where they’re not suppose to be,” he said. “I think anything that we can do to improve that will inevitably attract more bicyclists.”

A flyover ramp to Lorne Terrace is one of the proposed improvements to the Macdonald Bridge bikeway.
A flyover ramp to Lorne Terrace is one of the proposed improvements.   Halifax Regional Municipality

The group’s plans include a flyover ramp in Halifax that would land at Lorne Terrace or North Street. The ramp would be built above the traffic to ensure cyclists’ safety and convenience.

Other suggestions include a bike lane from the flyover ramp up North Street to Agricola Street and additional bike facilities in Dartmouth to connect the bridgehead to surrounding areas.

A flyover ramp to North Street is another proposed option for the Bikeway Connector Project.
A flyover ramp to North Street is another proposed option.   Halifax Regional Municipality

Currently, cyclists have to go up a hill to get onto the bridge. It’s a 10 per cent slope and a deterrent for a lot of cyclists.

“A lot of our members don’t feel safe on it,” said Kelsey Lane, executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC).

The HCC, a volunteer-run organization, is not involved in designing the project, but Lane said members “really want to see it come to life.”

A 2015 municipal report estimated the cost of the project to be $2 million. MacIsaac said it would be implemented over two or three years.

Improvements to the Macdonald Bridge bikeway connections were listed as a top priority in the 2014-19 Halifax Active Transportation Priorities Plan. The full planning process is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

After receiving input from the public, the active transportation committee with submit a report to regional council early in the new year. The committee will decide what to do next based on council’s feedback.

The Macdonald Bridge is a designated section of the Trans Canada Trail. It’s also expected to be a part of the Blue Route, a network of cycling trails that are in development and will, eventually, cross the province.

Public meetings on the Bikeway Connector Project will take place Wednesday at 8 p.m at the Italian Cultural Centre on Agricola Street in Halifax, and Thursday at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Alderney Landing Rotunda in Dartmouth.

The map below shows some of the proposed routes and changes.