Nova Scotia

Community council approves bikeway for Dahlia Street in Dartmouth

The Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council has voted to approve a bikeway on Dahlia Street in Dartmouth, N.S.

'This is not just a bike project. This is a streets project,' says Dartmouth Centre councillor

A view of Dahlia Street in Dartmouth, N.S., where municipal planners aim to create a better route for cyclists and pedestrians to move through Dartmouth. (Google Maps)

Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council has voted to approve a local street bikeway on Dahlia Street in Dartmouth, N.S.

The bikeway is part of a larger project aiming to create cycling and walking connections between the Shubenacadie Canal Greenway, the Dartmouth Common and the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge. The bikeway will link the Shubenacadie Canal Greenway to the Dartmouth Common.

Siobhan Witherbee, an active transportation planner with the city, told the council Thursday night that the Dahlia bikeway will be part of the All Ages and Abilities Cycling Network, as described in the city's integrated mobility plan.

"We're using a 'complete streets' lens to look at this corridor and incorporating any benefits we can see for people who might be walking and taking transit," she said.

Witherbee said the project will also include integrating missing segments of sidewalk on Dahlia, as well as on nearby Oak Street and Crichton Avenue, and creating a multi-use pathway connection that will run through Sullivans Pond.

A map from Halifax municipal staff shows the route that will connect the Dartmouth Common and the Shubenacadie Canal Greenway for cyclists and pedestrians. (Halifax Regional Municipality)

She said the recommended design includes a series of pavement markings, traffic-calming features to manage speed and measures to improve intersection crossings.

"It's a short but important segment," said Witherbee.

She said the city held two rounds of public consultation online for this project.

During the meeting, Sam Austin, the councillor for Dartmouth Centre, said concerns about traffic speed, as well as crossings to the Dartmouth Common and Sullivans Pond, have come up "many times" in the neighbourhood.

"This is not just a bike project. This is a streets project, and it really aims not just at cyclists. This is also about making things safer for pedestrians in the area," he said.

Austin described the area where Dahlia and Oak streets lead to Crichton Avenue at Sullivans Pond as a "total mess."

Dartmouth Centre Coun. Sam Austin said he believes the project will help with pedestrian and cyclist safety. (Halifax Regional Municipality)

"It was never built with human beings in mind at all, and this project is going to make such a huge difference in that," he said.

While a resident in the area previously brought up concerns about a loss of parking on Dahlia Street, parking will only be impacted for one block from Beech Street to Crichton, and only on one side of the street.

Austin said he lives a street up from Dahlia and, based on his observations, believes that impact will be "next to nil."

Nicholas Robins, who lives on Dahlia Street and was a member of the HRM design review committee, told CBC by email in October that he "fully endorses the bikeway project on Dahlia Street."

The motion to approve the bikeway on Dahlia Street passed unanimously. Construction could begin as early as this summer.

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Alex Cooke

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Alex is a reporter living in Halifax. Send her story ideas at alex.cooke@cbc.ca.

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