The Halifax government is holding public engagement sessions on Wednesday to talk about new or improved bike lanes in downtown Halifax.
The sessions on the Downtown Bikeways Project are being held at Art Bar + Projects at 1873 Granville St.
The aim of the project is to connect the bike lanes that will be birthed through the forthcoming Cogswell Redevelopment Project with the downtown lanes and other proposed lanes further south to Terminal Road.
The first session was held between noon and 2 p.m. The second session runs between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“We’re looking at several options to provide bicycle routes into and through the downtown that are designed to be comfortable and safe for riders of all ages and abilities,” said project manager Mark Nener on Wednesday
The project ties into the municipality’s Integrated Mobility Plan, which includes increasing the number of bike lanes in the regional centre.
The protected lanes under consideration would be on George Street, Hollis Street Lower Water Street, and Upper Water Street.
“It helps increase accessibility to downtown, which we like. It helps increase the pedestrian experience, as well,” Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, said at the session.
He said that there are concerns about the lanes leading to fewer parking spots and loading zones, which he said need to be take into consideration.
“Depending on the option that we go forward with, there would be some parking impacts. We haven’t quantified that yet,” said Nener.
Parking spots and loading zones could be maintained as is in parts, and others could be allowable during off-peak hours, he added.
“What I really like so far in what I’ve seen is the raised bike lanes,” Nancy Taylor, an session attendee, said. “I like the idea of the planters as barriers to separate the road from the bike lane.”
Kelsey Lane, executive director of advocacy group the Halifax Cycling Coalition, said the work she has seen produced so far in the project is “really great.”
She said she was pleased to see bicycle-priority traffic signals incorporated in the project.
It’s important that bicycle lanes are separated from motor-vehicle traffic by a physical barrier so that people feel safe using them, Lane added.
Nener said he expects a recommendation to go to Halifax Regional Council by this summer or early fall.
An online survey to provide feedback on the options will be available on Thursday, he added.