Halifax has the chance to become the number one medium-sized city in Canada for cycling. We call that being On Track for 2020. With your help we can build 100km of protected bike lanes in the Regional Centre. By 2020 Halifax will be known nation-wide as a leader in cycling infrastructure. A network of protected bike lanes on the Peninsula and in Dartmouth will go a long way toward making safe streets for people of all ages and abilities.
“[Protected bike lanes attract] people who would otherwise be uncomfortable riding a bicycle on the road.” – Halifax Active Transportation Priorities Plan
On Track for 2020 calls for the Halifax Regional Municipality to spend a minimum of $2 million per year building cycle tracks. This is just 4% of the road re-capitalization budget in Halifax and less than 1.4% of the city’s transportation budget. In comparison the city will spend over $20m to do the Bayers Road Widening project. The Halifax Cycling Coalition is calling for temporary materials to be installed for this pilot project. Higher-quality improvements can be made when the road is due to be repaved. With 100km of protected bike lanes on the Halifax Peninsula and in Dartmouth cycling will be the easiest and most convenient way to navigate the city.
A protected bike lane is a bike lane that is separated from traffic by a physical barrier such as parked cars, plastic bollards, concrete planters, curbs, or green space. The variety of solutions means that there are options for some of Halifax’s narrowest streets. A protected bike lane is the only proven way to encourage people of all ages and abilities to make the switch to cycling from driving.
Cyclists have better cardiovascular health, lower stress, and a lower risk of chronic disease than the average citizen.
When we build protected bike lanes we make our city safer. Other cities have shown that protected bike lanes increase ridership and decrease injuries and collisions. The decrease in injuries is just the tip of the iceberg. Cyclists are healthier than the average citizen with better cardiovascular health, lower stress, and a lower risk of chronic disease such as diabetes. This reduces our healthcare costs and increases productivity for local businesses. What’s not to like?
Protected bike lanes grow cycling rates quickly and dramatically. Vancouver increased the number of cyclists entering the downtown by over 100,000 trips per year the year they installed the Dunsmuir Viaduct and Burrard Bridge protected bike lanes. They are not alone. The only way to achieve this sort of growth is through a network of safe and convenient protected bike lanes in every neighbourhood.
The city’s plan for local street bikeways will provide fantastic connections from residential streets to streets near our main commercial streets and other arterial streets that cross the entire city. These high traffic, high speed streets are where protected cycling infrastructure is most important. Without completing the network on the busiest streets – where people actually want to go – people will not be able to use their bicycles to reach their destinations.
It depends. Our research shows examples where parking can be added, others where rush hour parking will be reduced, and some where parking must be removed. In all cases the parking removal proposed amounts to less than 2% of the parking spaces available within a five-minute walk. While implementing On Track for 2020 will require the removal of on-street parking in many places, it will be offset by increased traffic to the street as seen in cities such as Portland, New York, and Toronto. In the aforementioned examples the primary winners in the installation of bike lanes were the adjacent businesses, who saw more traffic and more people stopping at their stores to spend money. This increases their rent, property values, and property taxes thanks to the increased foot traffic and retail sales.
The 2006 Regional Plan includes a goal of doubling the proportion of Haligonians biking to work by 2026. The city’s own research has shown that as many as 40% of Haligonians would bike to work if safe infrastructure was built. The city says that protected bike lanes are preferred by new riders. On Track for 2020 is an effort to help the city achieve its own vision for transportation.
We’re not alone when it comes to protected bike lanes. The following groups have expressed a public position to build safe cycling infrastructure: