Halifax cyclists may get a new bike lane on Almon Street. And while Kelsey Lane, executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition is happy to see the cycling network expanding, she says the city needs to have safety precautions in place.
“Here’s the thing,” Lane says, “it has to be more than just paint on the road, we need more than just a line on the pavement…There are some tricky pieces of Almon Street, particularly where it gets rather narrow.”
Currently, the municipality is proposing to divide the street into three sections: Gottingen Street to Agricola would have
Agricola Street to Dublin Street would have two bike lanes, two travel lanes and one side of on-street parking.
The stretch of road between Dublin Street to Connaught Avenue would have two travel lanes, two bike lanes and no parking.
Lane is hopeful HRM will create a protected bike lane and add delineators: they’re like bollards, but thinner and have more flexibility. The delineators create a sense of separation, as well as remind and notify drivers they can’t enter or park inside the bicycle lane.
Even with that small number of protected lanes, there's no doubt the bicycle scene in Halifax has been growing. There are more bicycle racks being placed across the city, and Lane has seen an increase in membership at the Cycling Coalition over the past 24 months.
But the executive director says more protected bike lanes are needed to increase the number of Halifax cyclists and improve accessibility throughout the city.
“You’ll constantly hear the discussion, ‘Well, there’s not that many bikers so why are we building the infrastructure,’” Lane says. “But the fact of the matter is people don’t ride bicycles if they don’t feel safe doing it…We need to give people options for how they want to get around the city.”
The municipality’s Active Transportation plan is also hoping to enhance city accessibility with the Almon Street bike lane. It would aid in connecting existing bike routes and provide greater accessibility to services and neighbourhoods in the HRM.
Halifax Regional Municipality will be hosting a public engagement session next week about the possible new bike lanes. It’s scheduled to take place at the Halifax Forum on May 3 from 6:30 to
Residents who can't make the meeting are encouraged to share their opinions via HRM's online survey, which should be live after next week