Long-awaited Integrated Mobility Plan coming to Halifax council
The plan includes 137 recommendations for Halifax that would cost a total of $190 million to implement over more than a decade.
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The long-awaited Integrated Mobility Plan comes to regional council on Tuesday, with more than 100 recommended actions to give people “a choice of connected, healthy, affordable, sustainable travel options.”
The plan is the result of months of work by Toronto contractor Rod McPhail and HRM staff, and dozens of public engagement sessions. McPhail will present the report to council’s committee of the whole on Tuesday morning, with a recommendation that it be adopted in full.
The real goal of the plan is to get HRM back on track to hit a 2031 target that it set in 2014: to have at least 30 per cent of trips made by walking, cycling or transit in the municipality, with no more than 70 per cent made by private vehicle.
Census data for 2016, released just last week, shows Halifax is moving in the opposite direction. More than 77 per cent of commuters took a car, truck or van to work last year – and increase from 10 years before. And cycling, walking, and transit numbers are flat, adding up to a total of 21 per cent of trips.
“If the region continues on this path, a very tangible impact will be pressure to develop more and more automobile oriented infrastructure,” the plan says.
The expected cost of all that infrastructure: $750 million.
The Integrated Mobility Plan proposes “more cost-effective” mobility options, and the implementation of the entire plan would cost $190 million ($130 million for transit, $45 million for active transportation, and $15 million for roads).
There are 137 recommended actions in the report, some for the next one to three years, and some up to 10 years out.
Here are five of the big actions recommended:
Bike lanes: The plan recommends HRM deliver a fully connected, all ages and abilities bicycle network by 2022, with a series of protected bike lanes on busy streets like Windsor and Almon streets, and Albro Lake and Wyse roads.
Bus lanes and lights: The plan recommends creating Transit Priority Corridors, where buses get a way around traffic with their own lanes or advanced lights, on streets like Bayers Road (from Romans Avenue to Windsor Street); Gottingen Street (from North Street to Cogswell Street); Robie Street (from Young Street to Inglis Street); and Young Street (from Windsor Street to Robie Street).
Commuter rail: Another rail capacity study is recommended for a Windsor Junction – Bedford – Halifax commuter rail system. The plan recommends HRM work with the rail industry “to better understand the costs and logistics of operating a commuter rail service in Halifax.” The plan also recommends considering the feasibility of commuter rail on the Dartmouth side, running from Woodside to Burnside.
Sidewalks: The plan recommends “adding new sidewalks in priority areas such as transit routes, school areas and locations for shopping and/or services.” Specifically, by 2020, the plan recommends Halifax complete sidewalk connections on portions of Herring Cove Road and Dutch Village Road.
Rural transit: For rural areas where it’s difficult for the municipality to provide transit service, the plan recommends HRM “facilitate and enable ride-sharing” like carpooling through web-based coordination, along with developing options to encourage the use of carshare services.