Trees, Traffic & Roundabouts

FHC isn’t wading into the pro or anti roundabout on North Park Street debate but instead asks…

North Park Street

North Park Street

1. How does this $12.9 million expenditure fit into an integrated transportation strategy* that is about moving people, not just cars into and out of the downtown?  Should the cost $12.9 million be a spending priority when HRM’s 5-year Active Transportation budget is only $42.5  ( ~ $8 million/year); the bikelane budget for the peninsula the next 5 years is only ~$100,000 and there’s no money for supporting auto-ownership-alternatives such as CarShare?
2. Why are these roundabouts being installed in advance of….
a. an integrated landscape design for the North, Central and South Common based on the 1994 Halifax Common Plan?
b. a final Cogswell Interchange redesign?
c.  implementations of recommendations from the HRM pedestrian safety committee; and
d. the release of HRM’s report on how to fix Metro Transit?  This includes an in-depth commuter rail feasibility study
3. Why are the 2 North Park locations a priority ? Shouldn’t roundabouts be built in HRM’s least safe intersections?  None of HRM’s 214 pedestrian/bicycle/vehicle collisions in 2013 occurred at either of these locations. (Stats with category breakdowns aren’t available for previous years.)
4. The designs are to maximize vehicle flow. Why isn’t there a real bike lane and features to maximize cycling safety? The Halifax Cycling Coalition has lots to say on this.
5. Doesn’t cutting down 30 trees and moving 30 trees seems like a bit of an intrusion into existing green space? Couldn’t a slight design change save 2 mature elms? It is important that HRM finally has a tree budget but it shouldn’t just be because of a public relations exercise.

Willow Tree Roundabout

Proposed Willow Tree Roundabout, May 2012                (design cost- $200,000)

*An integrated transportation strategy would be looking at the big picture &
trying to reduce heavy reliance on cars by improving public transit (buses & trains) and land use planning (better ways to access public transportation and active transportation) . Fifteen years ago HRM spent millions of dollars to widen Robie Street at Chebucto (NW corner of the Halifax Common). They also spent millions to widen Chebucto Road. Part of the QEHS land swap includes plans to widen the south side of Bell Road by 38′ and remove up to 17 trees.  And add a roundabout at the Willow Tree.
See also: Battle over the North Park Street roundabouts in Halifax | The Chronicle Herald

In New York City, recent examples of re-engineering and strategies to improve pedestrian safety, there doesn’t seem to be a single roundabout.   see: