A public meeting over the proposed construction of two new roundabouts near the Halifax Common resulted in plenty of support for the project.
But it wasn’t without its detractors.
HRM city staffers urged more than 100 people in attendance at the public engagement session on Wednesday night to share their ideas and concerns about the proposed roundabouts to replace problem intersections on North Park Street.
“We have reached out through our Twitter feeds, our Facebook so we are not just getting the people who can make it here tonight, we’re actually getting a huge, more diverse group of people responding to this project,” said Tanya Davis, HRM’s traffic services supervisor.
HRM said the intersections at North Park/ Cunard/ Agricola and North Park/ Rainnie/ Cogswell do not stand up to national transportation standards and need to be upgraded.
The proposed upgrade – roundabouts – promise lower vehicle speeds, fewer driving lanes, reduced collisions, increased safety for pedestrians and drivers, and a shorter walking distance for street-crossing pedestrians. The project, if set in motion, would also make room for green space, possible bike lanes and an already mandated public art budget.
Some voiced support for the roundabouts, arguing the change could create opportunity for all modes of transportation.
“I am basically taking my life into my own hands when I go though these intersections,” said Maya Williams, an avid cyclist, adding she’d be in support for added bike lanes.
Others offered criticisms, citing safety and a mistrust of drivers to follow roundabout rules. Also, residents on North Park Street said they would be concerned about accessibility to driveways and parking if the street underwent changes.
The projected cost of the project, over a 20-year life cycle, would amount to $7,989,000, with an initial construction cost of $3,700,000.
The meeting ended by encouraging participants to reveal where each stood on the issue. Most were either for the roundabouts or were on the fence about the proposed solution.
If the project is passed by the Halifax regional council design plans can be expected to reach completion in March 2014, with construction beginning in May of that year. — Metro Halifax