Spring Garden Road getting skinnier with 'bump out' sidewalk extension

The city has put out a tender for a company to create a wooden platform between Dresden Row and Birmingham Street that will narrow part of Spring Garden Road and ultimately help the city determine how to spend more than $10 million.

Pilot program will be first step of possible $10M renovation of one of Halifax's main shopping streets

The 'stoplet' should reduce pedestrian congestion on part of Spring Garden Road. (Submitted by Halifax Regional Municipality)

Halifax wants to install a wooden boardwalk or "stoplet" to widen the sidewalk along a section of Spring Garden Road. 

The municipality has put out a tender for a company to create a wooden platform between Dresden Row and Birmingham Street to narrow Spring Garden Road. It will ultimately help the city decide how to spend more than $10 million. 

City planners call the platform a "stoplet" or "bump out." It will be a place where people can wait for the bus. It will run on the north side of the street and will also feature planter boxes, signs, and bicycle parking. 

The Spring Garden Road sidewalk is often congested with pedestrian traffic. (David Laughlin/CBC)

The platform will be more than two metres wide, which will narrow that section of Spring Garden Road to a single lane in each direction. 

The sidewalks in that section of road are so narrow that bus users are often forced to wait in the doorways of businesses and pedestrian traffic can get congested, said Juanita Spencer, the executive director of the Spring Garden Road Business Association.

"With a widened sidewalk, hopefully people that are waiting for the bus stops will be able to kind of go over closer to the street in the widened area. There should be some seating in place, making things a bit more comfortable for them," she said.

Halifax wants to install a wooden boardwalk or 'stoplet' to widen the sidewalk along a section of Spring Garden Road. (David Laughlin/CBC)

Spencer doesn't think it will greatly change the traffic flow. There are no parking spots on that section of the street and deliveries are usually made in the morning and evening. 

The wooden platform will be in place between June and October. HRM staff will record people's reactions to help it decide on any permanent changes to the street. 

Spring Garden's turn to blossom

The city made a redevelopment plan for the street in 2009, but the funding never came through. In 2016, city council voted to set aside $17 million to redevelop Argyle Street and Spring Garden Road. 

With Argyle complete, planners are moving on to Spring Garden.

Hanita Koblents, HRM's principal streetscape planner, said the original redevelopment plans from 2009 are about to be road tested. 

"We need to kind of dust them off and revisit whether they're still valid," she said. 

The Argyle Street redevelopment cost $6.5 million, leaving more than $10 million for Spring Garden. That redevelopment is expected to be done in 2020. 

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Shaina Luck

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Shaina Luck covers everything from court to city council. Her favourite stories are about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Email: shaina.luck@cbc.ca