Halifax Regional Council voted unanimously in favour of supporting the highly anticipated integrated mobility plan on Tuesday.
The report is a culmination of months of work and dozens of public engagement sessions. It is being presented as an “opportunity to shape connected, healthy and vibrant communities and offer greater transportation choice.”
The first draft was presented by Toronto contractor Rod MacPhail and includes more than 130 recommendations revolving around how to improve the way people move about the municipality.
“I think that was amazing to get unanimous support for such a large document that’s going to make a difference to Halifax,” said MacPhail.
“I really believe it will.”
MacPhail said he believes this plan is the key to reaching the target set out in the 2014 Regional Plan.
Th goal was by 2031 to have at least 30 per cent of trips in the region be made by walking, bicycling or public transit.
WATCH: Transit-loving teens tour Halifax bus centre
MacPhail’s integrated mobility plan is also receiving praise from local transportation advocacy groups who say that their only critique is that they would like to see the plan implemented sooner.
“Originally in this draft that we saw presented to council today they asked for the network to be completed by 2022, but we know it can be completed a lot sooner, and in fact in the first round they mentioned they wanted to finish it by 2020” said Kelsey Lane, executive director with the Halifax Cycling Coalition.
That was the premise behind a motion put forward by Deputy Mayor Waye Mason.
Mason requested that staff work to accelerate the implementation of the bicycling network along with transit priority corridors.
“This work marks a major shift in how we make transportation decisions in Halifax, and will set us on a course to increase the popularity of affordable and environmentally-friendly transportation options in Halifax,” said Ben Wedge, executive director with It’s More Than Buses.
“Getting the 50,000 daily transit users out of traffic will save mean more time spent with their families and friends, and less time wasted commuting.”
MacPhail also made clear his thoughts surrounding the proposed commuter rail service that would stretch from the Windsor Junction, along the Bedford Highway and into downtown Halifax.
He said he believes it is the best option to reduce congestion along that corridor and is much more feasible than widening the road or implementing a fast ferry service.