Residents call for pedestrian safety updates on Herring Cove Road

Residents share their ideas for updates to Herring Cove Road during an open house hosted by the Halifax Regional Municipality in Spryfield on Thurs. Jan. 10, 2019. Elizabeth McSheffrey / Global News

Residents of communities by Herring Cove Road have identified pedestrian safety as a top priority in infrastructure updates to the major artery that connects Halifax with Spryfield, Purcell’s Cove and beyond.

The Halifax Regional Municipality hosted an open house in Spryfield on Thursday, where it took notes on changes the public would like to see before coming up with design plans for the busy street.

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More than 15,000 vehicles use Herring Cove Road daily, but the municipality says there’s no clear vision for its future development. It’s leaning on residents to provide that vision, said program engineer Harrison McGrath, and falling back on municipal guidelines for integrated transit.

“We’re still in the existing conditions stage,” he told Global News. “I think everybody’s pretty aware there’s a few sidewalk gaps.

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“We’re really looking at this project through the lens of the Integrated Mobility Plan, so pedestrians first, but also cyclists, transit users and cars, as well.”

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The municipality collected dozens upon dozens of sticky notes with recommendations ranging from more greenery and bicycle lanes to extra crosswalks and lane reductions. It will also collect feedback online for the next two weeks, before sending the comments to a consultant who will help design some update options for Herring Cove Road.

The project extends from the Rotary to Herring Cove’s 500 block, and participants in the open house said lots of changes need to be made in between that space.

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Because of the lack of crosswalks and because there are large stretches with no intersections, cars tend to speed on Herring Cove Road, and there’s four lanes of traffic, said Veronica Post. “Even just visually, it’s kind of car-dominated, and I’d like to see the community really reflected more.”

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“We have to slow the traffic down that enters Sussex Street going up towards Old Sambro Road because there’s all kinds of children crossing,” Wayne Mundle added. “There’s no crosswalk there and there’s nothing to slow the traffic down. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

Among Kristen Hollery’s concerns is a solution to congestion between Cowie Hill Road and the Rotary, which is one of the only ways into the city centre.

“We get bottlenecked every day,” she said. “That needs to be looked at.”

More than 100 people attended the open house. The municipality expects to present design options to the public at the end of next month.

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