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Spring Garden Road could be transit-only after construction ends

Buses might take over busy downtown thoroughfare for a year

3 min read
caption A bus turns from Spring Garden Road to South Park Street on Wednesday.
Kayley Addis

You might not be able to drive down Spring Garden Road during the day soon.

Halifax regional council’s transportation standing committee met on Thursday to discuss making Spring Garden Road a bus-and-bike-only road during the day. The committee unanimously voted to recommend council approve a one-year pilot project.

The street has been undergoing a construction project that will replace the road surface and sidewalks. The pilot project would begin once construction ends early in 2022.

The transit-only corridor would span from South Park Street to Queen Street, covering 400 metres and would be closed to personal vehicles from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, said planner  Elora Wilkinson.

Wilkinson said the goal of the pilot project is to make the street more pleasant for pedestrians and transit users.

“The pedestrian experience is one of the key factors to be gained here … What we’re really hoping to see here is that the transit-only proposal would further enhance the place aspect of the new Spring Garden Road design and Spring Garden Road as a destination,”  Wilkinson said.

Several concerns were brought up by members of the committee.

“My biggest concern, frankly, is the businesses,” Coun. Becky Kent said in the committee meeting.

Wilkinson said she and other municipal planners will work with businesses and compare sales with previous years. Wilkinson also said in her report that side streets off Spring Garden Road that were turned into one-way streets during the recent construction would remain that way, permitting both sides of the road to be used for delivery to businesses.

Coun. Tony Mancini was concerned about accessible parking.

“Are we going to have accessible parking maybe closer to some of those side streets?” Mancini asked.

Wilkinson said every intersection will have an accessible parking space.

Sue Uteck, the executive director of the Spring Garden business association, had concerns about how people in the area would get around.

“I feel you’re in a bit of a conflict where you want residential density but you’re going to make it difficult to circulate within their own neighbourhood,” Uteck said.

caption This map outlines the proposed changes to Spring Garden Road.
Halifax regional council

Wilkinson said Clyde Street, another side street near Spring Garden Road, would become a two-way street, allowing for more circulation for area residents.

The project would also turn Brenton Street into a northbound street with a left turn onto Spring Garden Road.

“From an association standpoint, this will add to confusion among the stakeholders of the district,” Uteck said about this change.

Mancini proposed and passed an amendment to return to the committee six months after the pilot project begins with an update on its progress.

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