The Halifax Regional Municipality will continue planing the development of a permanent downtown “all ages and abilities” bike lane, but Hollis Street may not be a part of it right away.
The Transportation Standing Committee passed a motion Thursday for regional council to continue planning for the protected bike lane. The protected bike lane will be made up of a network of bike lanes that run north-south through downtown Halifax.
Dave MacIsaac, active transportation program supervisor, said that HRM’s active transportation program has been working towards ensuring that several downtown bike lanes are safe enough to fall under “all ages and abilities.”
HRM is also planning on extending bike lanes to make sure they run north-south, as part of the Active Transportation Priorities Plan. The Hollis Street bike lane has been identified as a candidate route for this plan because Hollis is one of the main employment districts in the downtown core.
“We have direction from council to increase the mobile share for bicycle lanes for trips to work,” MacIsaac said after the meeting. “So if that’s a goal of council, we have to have a bike lane where people work.”
Coun. Waye Mason said, in an interview after the meeting, that he’d rather put off Hollis’ work until 2019.
Despite the bike lane being on a busy street with loading vehicles, it does not have any barriers protecting it from traffic. Thus, it may be unsuitable for inexperienced bicyclists.
Mason said it’s not as simple as putting bollards or barriers on the lane because there are many businesses on either side of the street. He said there also needs to be space for loading zones.
The Hollis Street bike lane extends from Cogswell Interchange, south to Terminal Road.
Mason said he thinks the Hollis bike lane should be removed and replaced with a bi-directional bike lane on Lower Water Street.
“Hollis is not happening next year,” he said.
Instead, he said he’d rather focus on other projects that are part of the downtown protected bike lane.
“That advances cycling more than putting bollards on a lane that we’re probably gonna pull out,” Mason said.