Resident raises concerns with planned bike route on Dartmouth street
Dahlia Street resident June Nixon says the municipality's proposal isn't realistic
Editor's Note: The following story was updated after it was originally published with additional context about the proposed project.
Concerns are being raised that a proposed bike route on Dahlia Street in Dartmouth, N.S., could eliminate much-needed parking spaces and create unsafe conditions for cyclists.
Active transportation planners with the municipality want to create cycling connections between the Shubie Park trail, the Dartmouth Common and the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge using Dahlia Street.
The proposal may mean the loss of parking, the removal of some trees and an additional asphalt path across the park around Sullivan's Pond.
June Nixon, who lives at the corner of Dahlia and Maple streets, said she does not think the route is a safe option.
"It makes no sense," said Nixon. "I see, on my corner, at least one accident a month."
Nixon is also not impressed by the impact on those who live along Dahlia.
"We don't have enough parking to begin with, we have to have permits because we have so many commuters on the street," said Nixon. "It's not realistic, some of the stuff they want to do."
Nixon said she thinks a better route for cyclists would be Ochterloney Street and Alderney Drive.
Others are in favour
But the councillor for the area believes any safety concerns can be addressed through infrastructure improvements such as sidewalk extensions, new stop signs and sensors that activate flashing beacons when cyclists approach street crossings.
"It's not just paint some lines on the ground and call it a day," said Sam Austin. "This isn't just a cycling project, it's a complete streets project that's aimed at both cyclists and pedestrians."
Austin said other routes were considered, including Tulip Street, but Dahlia was deemed the best option.
Nicholas Robins, who lives on Dahlia Street and was a member of the HRM design review committee, said in an email to CBC that he "fully endorses the bikeway project on Dahlia Street."
Planners hope to have a final design ready for Halifax regional council early in the new year so that construction can begin by the summer or fall of 2021.
Nixon said she does not believe the neighbourhood has been properly consulted.
The municipality did not hold in-person consultations due to pandemic restrictions. Instead, two rounds of public engagement sessions were held online about the proposed project.
According to the municipality, 450 people participated via online survey and two live Q&A sessions over the first two weeks of August. An online survey and three live webinar sessions were also held in October.