Cogswell District Redevelopment

Background

The Cogswell interchange was built in the 1960’s as part of a plan to build a highway through Downtown Halifax. The City never constructed the highway but the interchange was built, and still stands today. The interchange takes up space that could be better used to physically and socially connect the North End of Halifax with Downtown Halifax. Halifax Regional Council approved a concept plan to demolish the Cogswell interchange in 2014 and by June 5, 2018 Council voted on a 60% design for the Cogswell District Redevelopment.

The Vision for the Cogswell District

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 7 principles. We do not believe that the 60% design that was approved in June 2018 meets the 7 principles listed here.

  1. A walkable, transit-oriented neighbourhood
  2. Re-establishing the grid block structure of downtown
  3. Reconnection of neighbourhoods
  4. A mixed-use core
  5. Active transportation priority
  6. Well-designed public and private spaces
  7. A renewable energy district

To learn more about HRM’s plans for Cogswell visit their website here.

Bike Lanes in the Cogswell District

We are particularly concerned with principle 5, to prioritize active transportation. While there are 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. Hundreds of trucks travel on Hollis and Lower Water Streets daily to move goods from the Port of Halifax in the South End of Halifax. The current plan assumes that all of these trucks will drive through the new Cogswell District. Heavy truck traffic creates noise and reduces the quality of public space in the surrounding area. It is not pleasant to sit on a cafe patio with hundreds of transport trucks driving beside you. The scope of the Cogswell District planning process does not include re-routing truck traffic, but the trucks need to be routed out of our Downtown to create a place where residents and visitors want to spend time. We would like to see the Cogswell redevelopment catalyze a larger conversation about moving truck traffic out of Downtown and we think the success of the redeveloped Cogswell neighbourhood depends on it.

We have assessed the proposed bike lanes in the 60% design and there are some opportunities to strengthen the plan for active transportation users. The planned bi-direction bike lane on Upper Water Street does not offer a lot of opportunities to stop and access the buildings on the west side of the street because there are no mid-block crossings and the bike lanes are on the east side of the street. The plan also includes a multi-use trail along Poplar Street, which is not the best type of facility for people walking or biking. People walking and people biking would be able to move more smoothly and safely if there was both a sidewalk and a bike path.

We look forward to working with HRM through a public engagement process to address our 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.

Participate in HRM’s Public Engagement Process

HRM will be conducting a public engagement process in September 2018. You can visit HRM’s project website for updates, and we have listed opportunities for engagement here.

Engagement Pop-Ups

SHCC Family Fun Day
Friday, Aug.  10 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sackville Heights Community Centre, 45 Connolly Road, Lower Sackville

Musquodoboit Harbour Market
Sunday, Aug. 19 from 9 a.m-12 noon
67 Park Road, Musquodoboit Harbour

Alderney Farmers’ Market
Saturday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m.-noon
Alderney Landing, 2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth

Sunnyside Mall, Centre Court Community Booth
Friday, Sept. 7 from 4-7 p.m.
1595 Bedford Highway, Bedford

Cole Harbour Harvest Festival
Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cole Harbour Place,  51 Forest Hills Parkway, Cole Harbour

North by Night Market
Saturday, Sept. 8 from 7-10 p.m.
Squiggle Park, 2050 Gottingen Street, Halifax

Tantallon Public Library
Sunday, Sept. 9  from 2–5 p.m.
3646 Hammonds Plains Rd, Upper Tantallon

Keshen Goodman Library
Friday, Sept. 14 from 1–4 p.m.
330 Lacewood Drive, Halifax

Spryfield Farmers’ Market
Sunday, Sept. 16 from noon–3 p.m.
322 Herring Cove Road, Halifax

Design Charrette

HRM is planning a design charrette from September 24-27. The charrette requires a multi-day commitment by anyone who wants to participate. HRM will be releasing details soon about how to register for the charrette. You can check their website for updates.