Halifax planners are proposing a year-long pilot project that would have Spring Garden Road between South Park and Queen streets closed to traffic during the day.
In a report, planners say the aim of the project is to “improve the corridor for pedestrians and transit,” and “beautify” the area. The streetscaping project will see sidewalks widened and the roadway narrowed to give priority to pedestrians and transit.
However, concerns were raised by some businesses and residents on the impacts this option would have on loading and area traffic circulation.
“There has been literally no public consultation and no consultation with the business members,” said Sue Uteck, executive director of the Spring Garden Area Business Association.
Businesses have endured months of construction on the street and are still recovering from pandemic losses, she said.
Kat Bulger, owner of popular boutique Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia, said he already had to cut his staff in half since the COVID-19 pandemic began and he is concerned about what this pilot project could entail.
“It’ll put more strain on the bricks-and-mortar businesses than is already here with the online shopping and the big box retail,” Bulger said.
The project would have 400m of Spring Garden Road between South Park Street and Queen Street closed to general vehicle traffic from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Sunday, and would reopen to all users between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.
According to the planners, weekends are included to maintain the best pedestrian experience during peak shopping days, in addition to supporting transit. The access-a-bus stop at Park Lane Mall would remain as part of this pilot.
The proposed pilot project will go to Halifax Regional Council in December.