Extending Almon St Protected Bike Lanes

To: HRM Transportation Standing Committee, 26 April 2023

Extending Almon St Protected Bike Lanes East and West

Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC) is continuing to focus on core principles and high-level concerns, building upon our recent advocacy leading to Councillor Cleary’s motion of March 2023.

This approach is based on: 

  1. The Complete Streets hierarchy of priorities as outlined in the IMP’s inverted triangle (IMP Pg. 56) for all complete streets infrastructure projects involving pedestrians, cyclists, transit users
  1. The commitment in Action #72 of Halifax’s Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP) to Deliver the Regional Centre all ages and abilities bicycle network by 2022. 

Some of the options in the staff supplementary report favour a car-centric approach rather than following these core IMP pillars and principles. The primary recommendation delays completion of a full  (extended) Almon St. AAA facility for years more.

The current plan, approved by Council in 2020, calls for protected bike lanes on Almon St. from Agricola to Windsor and a local bikeway on Liverpool with a connection along future protected bike lanes on Windsor. Having recently done a “ride-about” with project planner Mark Nener, we feel that part of the project is in good hands.

In the approved plan is the statement “Staff has communicated that installing a local street bikeway on Liverpool Street does not preclude HRM from installing protected bike lanes on Almon Street in the future.” Well, the future is now!

May 3rd will mark the sixth anniversary since the first public consultations on Almon St bike lanes. We wrote to staff in November, 2019 making a strong case for extending protected bike lanes the full length from Gottingen to George Dauphinee (attached). The motion to consider additional options passed in Feb. 2022:

“Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to prepare a supplemental staff report identifying additional options to extend the planned Almon Street bikeway east of Agricola Street to Gottingen Street and west of Windsor Street to George Dauphinee Avenue with the goal of achieving an all-ages-and-abilities cycling connection for the full length of the corridor. Given the narrow right-of-way, options should include converting segments of Almon Street to one-way for traffic and consideration of parallel streets.”

It has been a long time to wait to hear back that we should wait another two years minimum for further study and analysis before we see the possibility of an improved direct route on Almon St. It is difficult not to use the term “analysis paralysis” to describe what is recommended in the staff report. The time for further analysis was five years ago when the full Almon project was part of the proposed network in the IMP.

The planned implementation of the network is way behind schedule. From the IMP dashboard, we are at less than 50% of target:

It is our position that work on the Liverpool local bikeway should proceed but, as the original project anticipated, work on a complete AAA facility on Almon from Gottingen to George Dauphinee should take place and be accelerated, using tactical methods. Two years is too long to wait, only to wait longer for implementation. 

Specifically, we ask that the committee direct staff to proceed (perhaps tactically, for expediency, while further analysis occurs in parallel) with:

  • One-way protected bicycle lanes and one-way vehicle traffic on Almon between Gottingen and Agricola
  • One-way protected bicycle lanes and one-way vehicle traffic on Almon at least from Connolly west to Connaught (it may be possible to maintain two-way traffic from Connolly to Windsor). 
  • Local Street Bikeway from Connaught to George Dauphinee due to the much lower traffic volumes, provided good protection is provided at the intersection itself, speed limit is reduced to 30 km/h, parking of this short segment is eliminated to avoid a dooring hazard and traffic calming is employed.

There is one very compelling reason why the one-way option on Almon from Connaught to Connolly should be acceptable – it is already effectively the case during morning and evening rush hours due to the left-turn restriction from Connaught:

There are many reasons why depending solely on the Liverpool local street bikeway is not acceptable. Here are a few of those reasons. Rather than repeating what was in our 2019 letter to staff (attached), in summary:

  1. While the report comments on the steep grade eastward on Almon, there is a comparable grade on Liverpool.
  2. The diversion from Almon to Liverpool is not direct, a key principle in cycling network design.
  3. The Liverpool route depends on three enhanced pedestrian crossings which are not convenient for people on bicycles (wrong side of the road, legal requirement to dismount).
  4. The shared pathway between Connaught and George Dauphinee is too narrow (approximately 1.4 meters at the utility pole) as illustrated below.


It is time to return to the well thought out and well-justified core pillars and principles and completion date commitment set out in the IMP. The plan in the IMP for Almon was sound, yet 6 years later we are still proposing to wait many more years for more analysis. 

Halifax is already a lively cycling city. The municipality is reaching out through seasonal advertising to suggest people new to cycling should try it, and they are. This ongoing shift to cycling and micro-mobility must be matched with the commitment made in the IMP to deliver a safe all ages and abilities network by 2022. This is all the more urgent given cyclist injury incidents were up 20% in 2022 over the 2018/19 baseline levels for cyclists, in a complete reversal of our Vision Zero commitments. 

HRM must act decisively and swiftly to deliver a safe network, and ensure enthusiasm for cycling in the absence of safety does not result in the personal cost of an often life-altering injury.


West End Bikeway Design Boards

Approved plan for Implementation of North End ‘AAA’ Bikeway Phase One and West End ‘AAA’ Bikeway

Halifax Integrated Mobility Plan

Staff Supplementary Report: Almon Street AAA Bikeway Extension Options

HCC Letter to staff of November 25, 2019

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