One of Halifax’s busiest streets is expecting big changes for traffic.
Starting July 4, a large section of Spring Garden Road will only be open to buses, bicycles and pedestrians from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The one-year pilot project is part of the Imagine Spring Garden Road project and is being put in place to help pedestrian and transit access to Spring Garden Road, according to the Halifax website.
Martyn Williams, the spokesperson for pedestrian advocacy group HRM Safe Streets for Everyone, said this kind of pilot should be implemented on more streets downtown to make them safer.
“We need to be braver,” said Williams. ”We got to tackle the major intersections and major roads.”
Williams said traffic on Spring Garden Road will be slower-moving, which will give pedestrians more room to move around and visit the many businesses lining the street.
“It can allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross wherever they want instead of just crosswalks, and it can allow people to really relax and have a nice shopping experience,” he said.
The changes will affect traffic on Spring Garden Road from Queen Street to South Park Street, making it only open to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
Clyde Street will also become a two-way street instead of a one-way, and Brenton Street will become a one-way going northbound toward Spring Garden Road.
Creating vibrant places
Alison Zimmer, a board member of the Halifax Cycling Coalition, said these changes will make walking or biking down Spring Garden Road a more relaxing experience.
“We’ve seen the success of Argyle as a pedestrian street, so we can create really vibrant places that people want to be and make it more welcoming to more people,” said Zimmer.
Zimmer said in recent years, Spring Garden Road was shut down for construction for so long that many people are used to not driving there.
“I think people got really used to not being able to drive on that street, so hopefully people can adapt well,” she said.
The pilot will be evaluated on pedestrian volumes, average transit travel times, rider experience, how the street is accessed, and the customers’ experience on the street. There will also be staff on the street collecting feedback throughout the year.
The pilot will last until June 2023, when regional council will review and determine a future for the street, according to the Halifax website.