The Cogswell interchange was built in the 1960’s as part of a plan to build a highway through Downtown Halifax. The highway was never completed but the interchange was built, and still stands today, taking up space that could be better used to connect the North End of Halifax with Downtown Halifax for all modes of transportation. In 2014 Halifax Council approved a concept plan to demolish the Cogswell interchange and by June 5, 2018 Council voted on a 60% design for the Cogswell District Redevelopment.
HRM is about to embark on a project that will fundamentally change Downtown Halifax for years to come. The Halifax Cycling Coalition, along with 22 other organizations working in Halifax want to see the plans for the redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange reflect the vision that Halifax Regional Council set out for the project, which includes seven principles:
- A walkable, transit-oriented neighbourhood
- Re-establishing the grid block structure of downtown
- Reconnection of neighbourhoods
- A mixed-use core
- Active transportation priority
- Well-designed public and private spaces
- A renewable energy district
To learn more about HRM’s plans for Cogswell visit their website here.
The Halifax Cycling Coalition is particularly concerned with principle 5, to prioritize active transportation. While there are some great separated bike paths and off-street trails included in the 60% design, the street design is still focused on moving vehicles and trucks quickly through the Cogswell District into and out of Downtown. The bi-direction bike lanes that are planned do not offer a lot of opportunities to stop and access the buildings on the west side of Upper Water Street, as there are no mid-block crossings and the bike lanes are on the east side of the street. The Halifax Cycling Coalition looks forward to working with HRM through a public engagement process to address these concerns, to ensure that the Cogswell District is a well-connected neighbourhood with high-quality bike lanes that make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to travel by bike.
Public engagement is scheduled to take place in September and October 2018. We will provide updates on how you can get involved in the public engagement process when more details are released.