Trying to find on-street parking in downtown Halifax can be frustrating at the best of times.
Even more so for one Nova Scotia woman, who says she was discouraged to find accessible spots removed due to a construction project.
“I had already had to drive around for 45 minutes to find parking because of new bus routes along Gottingen,” said April Hubbard. “There’s no more accessible parking and I can’t go a block up the hill or down the hill, because then I can’t get back to my car.”
A major transformation is underway that will significantly impact the way traffic flows through one of Halifax’s main corridors, Gottingen Street.
“The main benefit, of course, is getting people from downtown back to the Macdonald Bridge and over the bridge,” said Nick Ritcey, a senior communication advisor with the city. “We estimate about half of the traffic traveling from downtown across the bridge is by transit. So, getting the transit through that area that much faster is great for everybody travelling.”
Hubbard says she used to rely on accessible parking spots on the southbound side of Gottingen Street, but those are no longer there.
“How is this possible that in a space that’s right next to the community services building, in that block where there are so many people with needs and disabilities that have to go there, you can’t get to a safe parking space without going into the street?” she said.
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Ritcey says the accessible parking spots aren’t being done away with, they are just being moved.
“This project just got started pretty recently, so they’re still in the process of relocating some of the spots. I believe two are in place now and two are in the process of being put back into place,” he said.
According to information from the traffic services department, there were four accessible parking spaces on Gottingen Street before construction began and those have all since been moved.
One new accessible parking space is beside the YMCA, another will be on Portland Place and two more spaces are being installed on Buddy Daye.
Meanwhile, Hubbard says she hopes more consideration would be taken into how construction may impact people with mobility issues.
“The sidewalks are closed down on both sides due to construction. So, I had to wheel down the middle of the street on Gottingen to get back to my car,” Hubbard said.
The project is expected to run until the end of November.