Halifax looks to Vancouver for help with active transportation
How can Halifax grow the economy and still provide a range of transportation options for residents?
That’s the question on many minds, including city planners trying to figure out how to better spend infrastructure funding and move Haligonians away from cars.
“If we put all of our eggs into the car basket, it can be a very expensive proposition to try and accommodate all the traffic that way,” said Bob Bjerke, Chief Planner with the City of Halifax.
“It takes up a lot of space, it takes up a lot of resources to try and meet those needs, we can’t actually do it, you need other modes.”
It’s also the reason Dale Bracewell, transportation manager for the City of Vancouver, is in Halifax. Three years ago, they created their own active transportation plan and are now helping other cities do the same.
“It’s just an opportunity for us, the City of Vancouver, to pass on some lessons learned and hopefully that helps Halifax as it looks towards its future as a more livable and sustainable city,” Bracewell said following a workshop with stakeholders and community groups Wednesday.
Bracewell says Halifax could learn some lessons from Vancouver, like encouraging more people to use public transportation, promote walking and get more people out cycling.
One of the ways to do that, would be for Halifax to consider the use of more bike lanes, especially protected ones. Right now, the municipality only has one protected bike lane, which opened in the fall.
“It’s something that we’ve seen as being successful in terms of encouraging all ages and abilities from children to seniors to new people biking. They’re really responding to the idea of a protected bike lane where you’d be completely, physically separated from all types of car movements, including trucks and buses,” said Bracewell.
Advocates for active transportation say a how a street is designed can directly impact the community, and want to see more thought put into ways Haligonians can stay active.
“Dale gave us great hope that there may be some opportunities for traffic calming, which is slowing traffic and giving these areas for the public to use for more use and public interaction. There’s also more options for better bike ways and how ways can protect them for travel,” said Bill Campbell, director of Walk & Roll Halifax.
Bracewell will be meeting with city officials on Thursday to discuss options for the municipality.
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