They’ve installed seven “speed cushions” on Robie Street between Stairs and Duffus streets to “reduce the impact to emergency services and transit vehicles on the corridor, while attempting to mitigate vehicle speeds.”
The speed cushions include channels, which are designed for large vehicles, such as transit buses and fire trucks, to pass through with minimal impact. Passenger vehicles must traverse over the deflections, while cyclists can choose whether to slow down or avoid them entirely by travelling through the channels.
“We’re actually pleased to see this initiative come to fruition,” said Peter Andrews, deputy chief of operations with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency. “We are challenged with this very problem in many other communities to try and maintain response times and emergency response, while providing crosswalk safety.”
The speed cushions are also a source of excitement for Steve MacKay, who lives on Robie Street and has witnessed several vehicle crashes outside his home.
MacKay has been advocating since 2015 for changes at the intersection of Robie and Stanley streets — keeping in touch with the local councillors and starting a petition with 400 signatures this January.
Back in May, the city announced stop signs were coming to two intersections. Now, additional traffic calming elements are in place.
“It’s really interesting to see the city trying something new like this,” said MacKay. “So far from what I’m seeing on the street it seems to be somewhat effective.”
MacKay says since the stop signs were installed three months ago, there haven’t been any crashes. He hopes physical barriers like the speed cushions will keep it that way.
“Signs don’t really do much without enforcement,” he said. “Having something concrete to put in here like these speed cushions, they force people to slow down a little bit more.”
No one with the Halifax Regional Municipality was available for an interview, but in a statement, city spokesperson Ellen Mallard said the municipality will be “reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the measures prior to deciding to proceed with any further locations.”
“If the pilot is deemed successful, speed cushions could be utilized in future corridor applications, which provide primary access to emergency services or where speed humps/tables are not feasible due to specific site constraints,” Mallard added.