- IAN SELIG
- Josh Hagle’s road is raging.
It’s gotten to the point where Josh Hagle can’t watch TV with a window open, without having the sounds drowned out by cars whizzing by.
Hagle and his family moved to Oceanview Drive in Bedford, just off Larry Uteck Boulevard in 2011. The residential street had a fair amount of traffic but, at the time, they didn’t think too much into it.
“We knew it wasn’t a cul de sac, it wasn’t a crescent,” he says. “It is a drive, so you will have a bit more traffic.”
He soon realized it was much more than “a bit.”
According to a traffic calming study from 2016, Oceanview sees about 2,814 cars a day. As a local street, designed for low traffic volumes, it should only see a maximum of 3,000 cars per weekday.
While traffic counts are still under that limit, Hagle says the situation is “a nightmare.” For neighbour Karen Findlay, simply turning in to her driveway has become stressful, as it’s near the turn drivers take for Highway 102.
“When I put on my blinker it’s to turn in my driveway, but I have people laying on their horn because they are upset I’m turning into my driveway,” she says. “It’s just awful.”
In 2014, a section of Oceanview, which was a dead end, was opened up by the municipality. Drivers, including 18-wheelers, Halifax Police and Halifax Fire, could now use the street as a throughway to or off of the highway.
As a local street, Oceanview only has one sidewalk, is 30 feet wide and its lots are smaller, causing some residents to park cars on the side of the road. Findlay also says the street is home to a daycare and in a school zone, meaning that traffic is supposed to be travelling 30 km/hr, something that doesn’t always happen.
“There’s a lot of kids here,” she says. “It’s just an accident waiting to happen.”
Hagle says the root of the issue dates to 1994, when the former Town of Bedford signed a development agreement with Annapolis Basin Group. Soon after this deal, the developer sold the lands to United Gulf Developments, but by 1998 those partners spilt, dividing ownership of the property. Due to a range of problems including the former partners’ inability to work together, much of the Paper Mill Lake and Crestview subdivisions are undeveloped. This includes empty house lots and unfinished streets.
During the 2020/2021 season, as part of the Moving Forward Together Plan, Halifax Transit will implement two bus routes—Route 91 Hemlock Ravine and Route 192 Southgate Express. Both will use Oceanview and nearby streets like Moirs Mill Road and Nine Mile Drive.
“I have a problem with my street being at 100 percent capacity and they want to add a bus to it,” says Hagle. “If the subdivision was completed, the bus would not be going down Moirs Mill and Nine Mile.”
Nick Ritcey, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality, says in an email that HRM is looking to implement traffic calming measures for the entire street, including the area with the proposed bus route. It’s also anticipated the route will help with traffic issues, not add to them.
“A new transit route doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic,” he says. “It should have the opposite effect as we expect many residents to start using public transit instead of a single occupancy passenger vehicle.”
The new routes are also designed with neighbourhoods and local streets in mind.
“The new Route 91 is a local route, the purpose of which is to connect neighbourhoods and communities. Such routes frequently operate on relatively minor residential streets across the city,” says Ritcey. “The new route 192 Southgate Express is a peak-only, limited-stop express route, which will connect the community to downtown Halifax and the institutional district.”
Still, Hagle is concerned because of the street’s longstanding issues.
“It’s one thing if the subdivision is fully developed and people are choosing that path, but if you only have that way to go to the Bedford Highway and this way to go to the 102, everybody is going to take your street.”