Ladies and gentlemen: start your bicycles.
Implementation of the protected bike lanes project (also known as cycle track pilot project) along the north and south sides of University Avenue, from Robie Street to LeMarchant Street, is set to begin this weekend (Sunday, August 28).
This two-year pilot is a preliminary step in delivering the long term vision for University Avenue as set out in the Campus Master Plan. This will be only the second lane of its kind in Halifax, alongside Rainnie Drive.
“The goals of the project are to test best practices in cycling infrastructure, demonstrate the enhanced safety of a protected bike lane, and encourage increased ridership for cyclists of all ages and abilities,” says Jeff Lamb, Dal’s assistant vice-president of Facilities Management. “We will measure use over the two-year pilot project and there will be opportunities for feedback throughout.”
A pilot project partnership
The pilot will include removing 36 on-street parking meters, and installing painted buffers and bollards on University Avenue. The 79-space Pay and Display LeMarchant Place Parking Lot on South Street (former arena site) was built to replace the lost meters. Accessible parking spots will be moved to side streets or the Killam Loop, near the Accessibility Centre.
This project is being done in partnership with the Halifax Regional Municipality, which is responsible for University Avenue. Dalhousie will be managing the pilot itself.
Preparations for the installation of the bike lane will begin on Tuesday, August 23, with HRM installing construction-related “no parking” signs. Over the following days, HRM crews will change signage, relocate parking and taxi locations and prepare the street for the installation of the bike lane. One accessible spot will remain in front of the Nova Scotia Archives.
As well, for after-hours events, parking in all Dalhousie parking lots (excepting the McCain parkade) is free and open to the public from 4:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. More info: dal.ca/parking
The $200,000 bike-lane project is made possible by a grant from the Nova Scotia Department of Energy’s Nova Scotia Moves program, announced in 2014. The rest of the money, including $25,000 in maintenance for the two years, will be covered by Dalhousie.
Supporting cycling in our community
Close to 10 per cent of Halifax Dal students, faculty and staff consider their bicycle their primary form of transportation to school or work, compared to only 1 per cent of Canadians generally. There are more than 900 bike parking spaces across Dal’s four campuses, with 250 added in the last two years.
“We feel that this pilot will promote and support cycling on campus and in the community at large,” says Rochelle Owen, director of the Dalhousie Office of Sustainability. “It will encourage increased ridership for cyclists of all ages and abilities and demonstrate the enhanced safety of a separated bike lane (cycle track).”
There is no parking in the bike lane, but there will be areas for loading and unloading so those who provide good and services to Dalhousie can continue to do so.
The cycle track pilot is a first step in testing best-in-class concepts outlined in planning for a renewal of University Avenue and in the development of an interconnected active transportation network in Halifax, as identified in the municipality’s Active Transportation Plan (initial plan - 2006). The long-term vision for University Avenue is to connect the campus along a unified, multi-modal, elegantly landscaped civic thoroughfare, and the proposed layout includes an active transportation corridor, active University Avenue green space with pedestrian amenities, and a vehicular travel way.
More information, including a link to frequently asked questions, can be found on the Protected Bike Lane website.
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