Today, Halifax Regional Council unanimously approved installing a protected two-way bike lane on Rainnie Drive in the city’s north end.
The 300-metre bikeway is a pilot project to assess the functionality and maintenance of protected lanes as HRM tries to boost its cyclist infrastructure.
The structural opportunity comes about due to recent street changes from installing the North Park roundabout. The new intersection at North Park, Cogswell, Trollope and Ahern no longer includes a connection to Rainnie, and staff have determined the road is now surplus to any traffic needs.
With 12 metres of road available over one travel and two parking lanes, Rainnie is nearly four metres wider than other nearby one-way streets with parking. That will make it easier to install the protected bike lane—the first of its kind in HRM. Once completed, a three-metre wide, two-way bike lane will run between the curb and an 80-centimetre “buffer zone” containing a row of protective posts.
Currently, the municipality’s bike lanes are at the mercy of drivers choosing to respect painted-on lines. That’s not only less safe, but also leads to parking confusion like what’s been happening on Hollis Street. The municipality’s only other proposed, protected bike lane project—along University Avenue—is on hold while HRM and Dalhousie deal with legal action from a hot dog vendor.
Whether the Rainnie Street project prompts further protected bike lanes construction will depend on an assessment of its use, says the staff report by active transportation coordinator Hanita Koblents. Consultants are currently studying the feasibility of connecting the new bikeway the final 200 metres down to Brunswick Street. Once that’s complete, staff notes the Rainnie Drive lane will “nearly close the gap” between Greenway trails on the Common and the bike lanes already on Brunswick.
The costs of the paint, posts and sign bases required for the new bikeway is $8,550. That amount is included in the $103,086 tender recently awarded to Dexter Construction for planned curb and sidewalk work already being completed along Rainnie.