Municipal planners want to discourage driving on some Halifax streets

Municipal planners want to encourage cyclists to use certain routes through residential areas of the peninsula by discouraging drivers from using them as shortcuts.

Open houses held to present options aimed at reducing car traffic, encouraging cyclists

Residents attend one of the municipality's open houses on Wednesday. (CBC)

Halifax planners want to encourage cyclists to use certain routes through residential areas of the peninsula by discouraging drivers from using them as shortcuts.

Vernon, Allan and Oak streets could be considered good local bikeways if the number of cars using them can be reduced.

Siobhan Witherbee, an active transportation planner for the municipality, said there are 3,500 cars using Vernon Street and that's "higher than we'd like to see."

"So we'd like to make it more difficult for it to be used as a shortcut," said Witherbee.

A poster explains how bike corridors could be used around Vernon Street and Jubilee Road. (CBC)

The options include strategic use of stop signs, pedestrian bump outs and intersection restrictions.

For example, at Vernon Street and Jubilee Road, cars could be forced to turn right. One way of ensuring that could be a raised median in the middle of the intersection.

'Diagonal diverter'

Planners have another idea for Allan and Harvard streets that has been used in Vancouver: a sidewalk that goes diagonally through the intersection.

"It's called a diagonal diverter," said Witherbee. "It would only give cars one option, but bicycles could go right through it."

The options were presented at two open houses on Wednesday.

Some homeowners in the affected areas raised questions about the impact on local traffic, but Allan Street resident Paul Terrien said he supports what the city planners are trying to do.

Some homeowners in the affected areas raised questions about the impact on local traffic. (Pam Berman/CBC)

"I can understand some of the concerns, but I think that will be offset by a lot less traffic," said Terrien.

Recommendations on a final option have to be approved by Halifax regional council, but planners hope changes can be implemented over the summer of 2018.