What happened when they painted Hollis Street?

hollis street bicycle lane blocked

Five years after it was approved by council the Hollis Street bicycle lane is almost built. The signs have been installed. Paving is in progress. Today a paint crew was painting sections of the lane. As we were out taking pictures we found a delivery truck parked in the lane immediately behind the paint crew!

truck parked in hollis street bicycle lane

A Canpar delivery truck parks in the Hollis Street bicycle lane. This is allowed under section 143(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Unfortunately, this isn’t illegal in Halifax. In 2010 the province changed the law, allowing delivery vehicles to park in bicycle lanes. That’s why we’re working with the Downtown Halifax Business Association and the city to improve loading access on the right-hand side of Hollis Street and have the Hollis Street bicycle lane upgraded to a protected lane, which will block delivery trucks and other vehicles from it, improving the safety of cyclists on this busy trucking corridor.

If all goes according to plan the lane will be completed and open to everyone next week.

What can we do about trucks blocking the Hollis Street bicycle lane?

In the mean time, please hang tight. This will be an ongoing issue and there is nothing we can do to resolve it in the short term. Rest assured that we are working to make this a protected bicycle lane and to remove the law allowing delivery vehicles to park in bicycle lanes. We will let you know when it’s time to lobby your MLA to remove this inconsiderate legislation.

While we work to make cycling safe and convenient for all road users we hope you’ll take full advantage of the new bike lane. With your donations we will keep fighting to build a bike network that stretches across Halifax.

13 comments on “What happened when they painted Hollis Street?

  1. Peter says:

    Getting the government to change the motor vehicle act seems like a quite lengthy prospect. Perhaps in the mean time, delivery companies could be pressured to create an internal policy prohibiting their drivers from parking in bike lanes. Just because it is legal, doesn’t mean it is good for a company’s reputation.

    1. Ben Wedge says:

      Hi Peter,
      That’s a good point. Our short-term strategy is to get loading zones marked on the right side, then the city can install no stopping signs on the bicycle lane, which has the same effect. They currently have no stopping signs for 7-9am, which is peak traffic.
      We will also be reaching out to delivery companies, but I counted 12 different companies working on Hollis Street today. It may turn out to be harder to reason with every single possible road user.
      – Ben

  2. Dave Hayes says:

    It might well be noted that a loading zone on the right side of Hollis will not work for large moving companies moving people in and out of the apartment buildings on the right hand side.
    They would have to move furniture across Hollis St. which would endanger their lives which they won’t do and who in the world could blame them! Moving companies need to be in front of the main doors of the tenants building as is allowed now. I suggest if there are changes that moving trucks be exempt thus saving accidents and positive litigation which would follow if this does not happen. Moving people’s lives are as important as bikers and so a compromise must take place. Court cases could last several years before any affirmative action could take place so why not realize what must and will be a mutual agreement now?

    1. Ben Wedge says:

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you for raising your concern. In order to allow moving trucks to park across a protected bicycle lane you wouldn’t be able to install any protection at any time, so that’s a non-starter. Cities around the world, including in areas where buildings were built before moving trucks and loading bays, seem to have no problem with moving trucks and protected bicycle lanes.
      One potential solution, which we would likely support, is that moving companies could get a temporary permit to remove the parking spaces on the right-hand side of the street, then the moving truck could be parked on the left-hand side of the street adjacent the protected bicycle lane, and traffic could temporarily flow around the truck where cars are normally parked. A similar system is used in Washington, D.C. and LA, and in both cities users can apply for the permit online and print it themselves.
      There are ways to ensure that movers are kept safe along with people on bicycles. As we move this request forward we will be encouraging the city to be creative and involve all road users in determining a way to make bicycle lanes safe while allowing people to continue enjoying their homes or apartments.
      Thank you,
      Ben

  3. Dave Hayes says:

    We’re a big gap from LA and Washington DC! But if the coalition cannot see this problem then
    the courts will have to address it. Meanwhile nothing has changed on Hollis as far as I can see and perhaps for all concerned it is best that way. By the way monitoring the bike traffic I noticed 5 bikes going south on Hollis and three coming north-and only one bike used the so-called bike lane. Familiarity will probably change this-undoubtedly. This was one -three hour period this week-morning.

  4. Zac says:

    Lots of people use Hollis to cycle to the farmers market(s) on Saturday. This Saturday I saw three vehicles parked (not stopped) in the newly painted lane. Odds of getting parking enforcement down there on a weekend?

    1. Ben Wedge says:

      100%. Call 311. Parking enforcement works on the weekends, they just don’t enforce parking meters.

  5. Mick Levin says:

    Why is the bike lane on the left side of the street and not the right side?

    It is very counter-intuitive in terms of access to and egress from the lane, Salter Street drivers heading up the hill tend to pull out into the lane so they can see down Hollis, drivers are not used to having cyclists suddenly on the other side of their car, and similarly checking over my right shoulder instead of my left will take some getting used to. I also have yet to make it more than one block without a car stopped or parked in the bike lane since it was painted.

    Like all bike lanes in Halifax, it starts and stops at arbitrary locations, disappearing and reappearing before and after intersections – where clear instructions for drivers and cyclists are needed most!

    I bike down Hollis home from work every day and I will continue to bike on the right, or take the whole lane because it is safer for me and for drivers around me. I’m sad that money and effort was wasted on this ineffectual “bike lane”. It’s high time the city started placing bike lanes on the basis of need and practicality (Outbound on Bell Rd, Quinpool, Chebucto, etc.) rather than where it’s easiest for the city.

    1. Ben Wedge says:

      Hi Mick,
      Thanks for sharing your concerns. The city chose this model for a number of reasons, including improving visibility around trucks. This model has proven successful in other jurisdictions.
      It’s important to focus on the five-year vision for the city. This lane will connect to the University/Morris bicycle lane as it’s built, there will be improvements to Lower Water, and when the Cogswell interchange comes down they will be putting bicycle lanes through there as well, which will connect to Hollis. This can’t be compared to Hammonds Plains Road or similar where the city was simply adding bicycle lanes with no plans to connect them.
      We agree that the city needs to make improvements on main arteries and continue to lobby for improvements on many of the lanes outlined in the 2014 Active Transportation priorities plan.
      Happy cycling!

  6. Dave Hayes says:

    You’re right Mick,
    The “Bike Lane” should have been on the other side of Hollis.Most of the riders I see are not using the left but are still using the right side. This was not thought out very well from the start and Hollis St is just too full of trucks and traffic every day to start changing the way all traffic including bike riders drive down there. Morre tax payers blatant waste of their money.

  7. Dave Hayes says:

    I am under recent knowledge of a statement regarding parking on the left side of Hollis that if Moving Trucks or couriers and the like are not allowed to use the left side f the street as they now are by law that an immediate injunction will take place-we hope it doesn’t come to this and the smarter minds prevail to use a break in the now painted lines to permit this ( not parking) which will cause very little concern for riders and make it safe for unloading and loading trucks so that they do not have to lug furniture etc. across this busy street which would surely cause accidents. This makes sense, and everyone wins. and the Bike Lane continues without further
    opposition , court cases, delays and shows all concerned that the coalition wants to work with all concerned.

  8. Brad S says:

    Hollis is a one way street, I think they chose the proper side of the street for the bike lane for overall easier and safer access for all road users, and especially cyclists. If you think about it, there are more streets turning right onto Hollis, then there are streets that you can turn left onto, off of Hollis. Sure it’s not what you or I would expect, and will take a bit of getting used to. If it doesn’t feel safe to do shoulder checks on your right side, perhaps you could do practice runs along the new bike lane, outside of heavy traffic hours along the new Hollis bike lane. Or you could even do laps around the commons practicing right side shoulder checks.

  9. Dave Hayes says:

    On Hollis St. between Bishop and Morris on an apt building there are 2 outside cameras which operate 24 hours a day. If the Coalition wants a day monitored or a certain period of ANY day
    they are welcome to see the results as they can be taped for 2 weeks. Please know that only a period chosen can be taped not multiple days. If this is of interest please call me at 9024049020(Coalition only-not general public)
    Thank you,
    Dave Hayes

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