News / Halifax

Protected bike lane on Halifax's Dalhousie campus loses some protection

The university has removed some of the plastic posts that separate bicycles from vehicles in front of the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

A cyclist rides down the bike lane on University Avenue this fall.

Zane Woodford / Metro Order this photo

A cyclist rides down the bike lane on University Avenue this fall.

A local cycling group said it’s shocked after an announcement Thursday that a protected bike lane on Dalhousie University campus would no longer be completely protected.

In a “neighbourhood notice” from the university sent by email Thursday morning, the university announced it had removed the bollards – plastic posts that separate bicycle traffic from vehicular traffic – in front of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, the building that houses the Rebecca Cohn Theatre, “to alleviate traffic congestion associated with large frequent events.”

“It took a long time to get the bicycle lane in on University Avenue … and it is a pilot project so that leaves a little bit of room for tweaking it, but removing the barriers from the bicycle lane is not a tweak,” said Halifax Cycling Coaltion executive director Kelsey Lane. “In fact, that’s a huge change, and it completely changes the nature of the bicycle lane itself.”

The bike lane was installed in September on University Avenue between LeMarchant and Robie streets, nearly two years after it was originally conceived of. The lane is a two-year pilot project designed to figure out what works and what doesn't.

And according to feedback to the university has received, bollards in front of the Arts Centre don’t work.

Rochelle Owen, the director of Dalhousie’s office of sustainability, said they’d received about 150 comments on the bike lane, most of them related to the Arts Centre. She said the change only affects one eighth of the bike lane.

“The idea behind making that modification is to still have a lane for cyclists, so that’s not taken away, but just to create less confusion about loading and unloading during peak times,” she said.

Lane said the modification will deter people from cycling to the university.

“It’s not 100 per cent acceptable to see them revert to the status quo of concentrating on cars instead of looking forward to the future of sustainable transportation in Halifax,” she said.

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