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Congestion concern over city’s plans for Gottingen transit

Congestion concern over city’s plans for Gottingen Transit
WATCH: Businesses in the north end of Halifax are unhappy about the city's proposal to increase bus traffic and reduce parking on Gottingen Street. Jeremy Keefe reports.

A proposed dedicated bus lane down the centre of Gottingen Street is nearing its turn for debate at Halifax City Council, and businesses in the area are voicing their concern over the plans.

READ MORE: Gottingen Street to have dedicated bus lanes at peak times

“They want to add 90 buses during peak hour and we just feel that’s going to overburden the street,” explained Patricia Cuttell, the executive director for the North End Business Association.

“It’s too many buses for a 250-year-old narrow, pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood.”

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The proposal would increase the street’s capability for public transit by way of the new lane, however, parking would be greatly reduced.

The southbound side of Gottingen would lose much of its parking spaces, an issue NEBA thinks would be detrimental to area businesses.

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“Moving trucks need to stop in the roadway to load and unload and small businesses have their drop offs and deliveries,” she explained.

The association is asking the city to look at other options, such as a jump cue which would give buses an opportunity to get ahead of vehicles.

Along with studying transit usage in the area to ensure what’s provided fits the need.

“When you look at the buses you can see many of them aren’t full so we’ve been asking the city to do a corridor capacity study which essentially will look at the number of seats moving down Gottingen versus the number of people,” Cuttell explained.

“We’re asking them to find some efficiencies in the buses and then move the buses that aren’t going to provide an added value in terms of local service … down to Barrington Street and use the bridge ramp.”

Halifax councillor Lindell Smith indicated their goal is to make travelling on Gottingen a better experience for transit users and drivers alike.

He thinks the proposal comes with its share of benefits although he noted the business community has had their share of concerns.

“We want to see, can we get that down to what’s only needed on Gottingen Street and put the rest on Barrington Street so they can use the bridge.”

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“Most of them are only on Gottingen Street, that are expresses, because they cant use the bridge ramp.”

City Council is expected to discuss the proposed Gottingen Street Transit Corridor before the end of the month.

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