E-News June 2024

Recently installed traffic calming on Slayter Street


Slayter Street Design
Last week, HRM held an open house at the Sportsplex to gather feedback on potential design changes to Slayter Street. The goal is to make the street safer for pedestrians and cyclists. HRM is focussed on Slayter Street because the street is an important route in the planned bike network. Slayter is a good route for cyclists looking to get to the Burnside Greenway and the planned Dartmouth North bike route and although it does have some shortcutting traffic, it’s much quieter than busy Victoria Road. As a result, the street is identified in the Integrated Mobility Plan as a potential local street bikeway and part of the Minimum Grid network.

So what is a local street bikeway? A local street bikeway isn’t a bike lane, it’s a street where vehicle speeds and volumes are minimized so as to allow cars and bikes to safely share space. HRM implemented some quick fixes on Slayter Street already including curb extensions at key intersections and speed tables. The result is average weekday vehicle volumes dropped from 1,437 to 975 and 85th percentile speeds dropped from 51 km/hr to 45 km/hr. Slayter is till carrying through traffic, but not as much as before. HRM is now circling back to figure out what the long-term design of Slayter Street should be and how it should connect to the rest of the bike network.

At the Open House, a few potential design options were presented. One approach would encourage cycling with measures such as additional signals at intersections. HRM could push things further though and actively divert traffic off Slayter by limiting where vehicles can turn. For residents on Slayter Street, it boils down to this: HRM can eliminate through traffic on your street and make Slayter as quiet as any local residential street out there, but the trade-off is that you’ll have to drive around the block for some trips.

Whether taking a small detour is a desirable trade off or not is going to vary depending on individual preferences and I have heard a diversity of opinions already in emails and at the afternoon Open House (I couldn’t attend the evening session). I would encourage everyone who lives in Brightwood or who travels through the area to fill out the Shape Your City Survey online here. Below is an explanation of what’s proposed.

At Albro Lake Road and Slayter, HRM would build a new short section of multi-use trail alongside Albro Lake Road and install a new crosswalk at Albro Lake/Slayter. The goal of these changes is to facilitate connections to the approved, but not yet built Dartmouth North bike route.

Proposed Albro Lake Road/Slayter Street

At Woodland/Slayter, there are two options being considered. Both would see HRM install a signal to facilitate bike and pedestrian movement across Woodland Avenue. HRM could also limit vehicle traffic by modifying the intersection so that vehicles can’t turn onto Slayter from Woodland Avenue.

Proposed options at Woodland Avenue/Slayter Street

Slayter and Frances has always been a bit of a strange, partially off-centre intersection. HRM is considering installing a diverter here that would allow bikes to travel both ways on Slayter, but cars force vehicles to use Victoria Road. This would eliminate any real incentive to use Slayter during the afternoon or morning rush hours to get to and from the Bridge.

Proposed Frances Street/Slayter Street

Finally, down at the Thistle end of Slayter, HRM would build a multi-use path alongside Thistle to link Slayter to Pine Street. Pine would serve as the main route to connect to Downtown Dartmouth and existing infrastructure on Dahlia Street and the Common. Vehicles would no longer able to turn from Thistle onto either Slayter (no more morning Bridge Traffic using Slayter/School) or Pine (no more afternoon shortcutting on Pine when Maple is busy).

Proposed Thistle Street at Slayter Street and Pine Street

There is one significant problem with using Pine Street as a bike route. Pine Street is a great street when heading downhill, but a terrible street to try and bike up. Few can do it because it’s so steep between Tulip and Dahlia. It would be hard to say that a north bound route on Pine would count as all ages and abilities. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear alternative, at least no alternative that doesn’t involve other difficult trade-offs.

Of the three streets (Victoria, Pine, Maple) that go uphill towards Slayter, Maple offers the best grades and seems to be the preferred existing route for cyclists that aren’t afraid to ride in busy traffic. Maple is relatively narrow though and the houses along it are built extremely close to the street, particularly from Dahlia to Ochterloney. There isn’t room to keep two vehicle lanes on Maple and add the protected bike lanes that would be needed given Maple’s traffic volumes. Diverting traffic off Maple to make space for bike infrastructure might be doable, but that would mean more traffic on Pine or Victoria. Pine has a park and playground, while Victoria is extremely narrow with poor sightlines between Ochterloney Street and Park Avenue. It’s also doubtful that residents on either street would be happy about their street taking on half of Maple’s traffic. A kind of ugly pitting neighbour against neighbour situation. None of those options are great.

One outside the box idea that was suggested at the Open House by more than one cyclists that HRM hadn’t considered would be to use the existing Dahlia/Common infrastructure and route a multiuse trail across the Common, over Thistle Street at a new crosswalk, and then alongside Dartmouth High to get to Nantucket where a connection to Slayter could happen at the intersection of Nantucket/Victoria/School. The change in elevation on this route would be the best of all the options, but it would also involve diverting about two blocks from the most direct route up Maple. I’m not sure if this is doable or desirable, but it’s something that I think is worth further consideration.

An alternative to uphill on Pine, Victoria or Maple?

Finally, to ensure connections to the Bridge make sense, HRM is proposing a multi-use pathway along Nantucket that would connect to Slayter at either School/Victoria or Gladstone.

Proposed options to connect a new multi-use trail on Nantucket to Slayter

Crichton Avenue Traffic Calming
Still on the topic of road design, I have some bad news regarding Crichton Avenue. A number of people have requested traffic calming on Crichton and data collected by HRM indicates that those requests have merit. The measured 85th percentile speed on Crichton was a fairly high 58 km/hr, which isn’t surprising given the extremely wide and straight section between Hillside Drive and Lakeview Avenue. Unfortunately, Crichton Avenue is no longer considered eligible for traffic calming due to concerns around emergency response.

As HRM’s Road Safety folks were preparing to redesign the street, HRM’s Fire Department raised concerns around the potential impact that traffic calming on Crichton could have on emergency response times. As a result, Crichton Avenue has been classified as ineligible for traffic calming measures such as speed tables. HRM’s Public Works folks still think it will be possible to improve road safety on Crichton Avenue in the future through other means, such as curb extensions, but the standard and relatively cheap speed table that is HRM’s main go to for traffic calming is out. HRM’s Public Works and Fire Departments are going to undertake a bigger joint exercise this year to look at traffic calming and emergency response times to better plan how the two can coexist.

North Woodside Pallets
The Province has announced that they’re opening a new pallet community in the North Woodside Industrial Park. The community will be located at 35 Atlantic Avenue (the old Jehovah Witness Temple) and will provide space for 41 homeless seniors. The facility will be operated by Quest and will have on-site wraparound services, including meals, transportation, washrooms, and laundry facilities. The Province opted not to hold any public meetings regarding this project. Questions concerning the project can be directed to the Department of Community Serivces.

Meredith Cowan Meredith.Cowan@novascotia.ca
Minister Brendan Maguire DCSMIN@novascotia.ca

Participatory Budgeting Results
It was a busy evening at the Mic Mac Aquatic Club. A total of 248 people turned out to decide how to spend $50,000 of district capital. The complete tally of how District 5 voted to spend the money is listed below:

  1. Bide Awhile, $10,000
    Bide Awhile is an animal shelter in the North Woodside Industrial Park. Funding will be used to replenish the shelter’s pet food pantry
  2. Leighton Dillman Park Oven, $10,000
    The Oven in Leighton Dillman Park on the Dartmouth Common is planning to restart this year. Funding will be used to purchase chairs and picnic tables, a handwashing station, and some supplies such as fire extinguishers and pizza peels
  3. Common Roots Urban Farm, $7,000
    The Common Roots Urban Farm is located on the grounds of the Nova Scotia Hospital in North Woodside. Funding will be used to expand an existing shed into a gathering space for gardeners, which will include a covered sitting area, community bulletin board, food pantry, and rain barrels.
  4. Back to the Sea Society, $9,000
    Back to the Sea Society is developing a community aquarium in Downtown Dartmouth in the old Shubenacadie Canal Interpretative Centre by King’s Wharf. Funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies to operate the aquarium, build a water fabrication shed to produce salt water, and to buy a large outdoor tent so that the Society can do outdoor programming in Martin’s Park.
  5. Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club, $10,000
    The Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club is one of the three paddling clubs on Lake Banook. Funding will be used to replace the Club’s docks, many of which date back to the 1970s and are at the end of their life.
  6. St. George’s Tennis Club, $4,000 (partial award)
    St. George’s Tennis Club is a recreational club located on St. George’s Lane in Downtown Dartmouth. Funding will be used towards the cost of upgrading the Club’s waterline.

Thanks to everyone who came out and many thanks to the hardworking staff in the Council Support Office who volunteered their time to make the evening a success, especially my coordinator Michelle Egan who did the organizational heavy-lifting. Thank you all.

Birch Cove Park. Photo: Global

Birch Cove Naturalization
June 12-14, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
This week, HRM is partnering with Helping Nature Heal and the Ecology Action Centre to implement a pilot naturalization project at Birch Cove Beach. The goal of the project is to: 

  • Stabilize the shoreline
  • Improve water quality 
  • Make the Beach less appealing to ducks and geese, reducing the accumulation of droppings  
  • Enrich biodiversity  
  • Provide educational and skill-building opportunities for community volunteers 

The project will be carried out through a free three-day workshop that follows Helping Nature Heal’s “Shore Up” program to build healthier shorelines. Participants will help to restore Birch Cove and learn the hands-on, community-driven techniques that Helping Nature Heal has been using to restore shorelines in the Atlantic region for 20 years. Register in advance here. For more information, please contact the project leader, Tracy Jessen at jessent@halifax.ca.

Dartmouth Concert Series
Summer concerts are returning to Ferry Terminal Park. The free concerts will begin on Sunday, June 23 with Dartmouth’s very own Joel Plaskett and the Mellotones and will run throughout the summer season until Saturday, August 10. Concerts are being coordinated with a variety of community events and will feature a diverse mix including urban, gospel, classic rock, blues, country, acoustic and more. Children and youth entertainment will include the Mother Goose Festival, a Halifax Jazz Festival showcase, and multicultural celebrations. Complete listings can be found here.

New Dog Park at Don Bayer Field in Burnside. Photo: DogPack

Don Bayer Dog Park
You might have missed it earlier this year, but there is a new off-leash dog park in Dartmouth. The new off-leash park is located at Don Bayer Field in Burnside. Don Bayer is designed to be a Regional facility that will draw folks from farther away than a neighbourhood space. The Park has the corresponding amenities for a regional facility including three off-leash areas (a combined space, a small dog space, and a large dog space), picnic shelters, and dog agility and play equipment. Don Bayer can be accessed from Troop Avenue.

Cogswell Interchange Disruptions
The Cogswell project is about to enter a new phase of construction. Beginning on June 17, crews will begin realigning Barrington Street, installing underground services, and building a new transit hub. The work is expected to take six months to complete and will significantly impact transit at Scotia Square. Thirty bus routes will have to be rerouted and pick-up and drop-off locations at Scotia Square will be relocated to surrounding streets. You can find a map of where the new stops will be here.

Missing sidewalk on Micmac Boulevard. Photo: Google

Bus Stop/Sidewalk Upgrade Micmac Boulevard
Sometimes it’s the relatively small projects that can have a big impact. Over on Micmac Boulevard, there is a missing section of sidewalk between Horizon Court and the entrance to the Mall opposite Kingswood. There is a bus stop on this section and riders have to get on and off on the muddy ground. The need for a sidewalk on this section is very clear from the well-worn muddy ruts alongside the road. It’s been a source of complaint and I’m pleased to share that after bouncing around a bit inside HRM, Transit has taken on fixing this spot as part an upgrade to the bus stop (Transit will build very small sections of sidewalk if it makes sense as part of bus stop upgrades). This spot is a priority and as long as there no contract/tendering surprises, this long-standing irritant should be addressed this year.

Bike Signal on Wyse Road. Photo: HRM

Bridge Signal Changes
If you’re a frequent traveller on the Macdonald Bridge, you might have noticed last week that the traffic signal light timing has changed. HRM switched the position for the northbound Wyse and southbound Wyse signals. This has been done because buses turning onto the Bridge that weren’t quickly able to clear the tolls were often blocking right turns from southbound Wyse and because the signal order didn’t make a lot of sense for cyclists. Cyclists are unique in terms of traffic on the Bridge in that they have to complete their turn in two stages rather than just one. Cyclists heading onto the Bridge from northbound Wyse previously had to cross the intersection and then wait through both the southbound Wyse phase and the advanced green for traffic exiting the Bridge before completing the second part of their two-stage turn onto the Bridge. This should now flow much better with cyclists just having to wait for traffic coming off the Bridge with the advanced green before being able to go. No more waiting for southbound Wyse traffic. Hopefully this will make things flow a bit better for everyone.

Maitland Street Renaming
Maitland Street in Downtown Dartmouth is about to be renamed. I had actually thought this was already done since Council approved the new name, Skokomul Street, back in August 2022. Skokomul is a Mi’kmaq word that means Wooden Boat. Competing priorities and limited staff meant that HRM’s Civic Addressing folks didn’t have the ability to actually complete the renaming process until now. HRM has notified property owners and the new street name will take effect on July 15.

HalifACT Community Update #5
Since HRM’s Climate Change Plan, HalifACT, was adopted, staff in HRM’s Climate and Environment group have been preparing regular public updates on the work that’s underway. The fifth HalifACT community update is now available and it reveals that we’re making progress. Emissions from HRM’s operations have dropped 23% since 2016 and community wide emissions have been cut by 10%. Those reductions have happened even as HRM has been growing. Much more still needs to be done though and the pace of change needs to accelerate. The Fifth HalifACT Update covers a range of topics including how HRM is trying to inspire and encourage change in the broader community as well as direct efforts to green municipal operations. Read it here.

Candidate Information Sessions
Municipal elections are taking place in Nova Scotia this October. The municipality is hosting a series of information sessions to equip potential candidates with information and resources on running. The upcoming sessions are:

  • Thursday, June 20, 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm,
    Dartmouth North Community Centre
  • Wednesday, July 10, 6:00 pm
    Propspect Road Community Centre, Hatchet Lake
  • Monday, August 12, 6:00 pm
    Henry G Bauld Centre, Westphal

For more information on the upcoming municipal election, visit the HRM website here, and yes, I’ll be running again.

Shubenacadie Canal Commission Kayak Raffle
The Canal Commission kayak raffle is back. One lucky person will win two Quest 10 Riot Kayaks complete with paddles, PFDs, and marine safety kits. Funds raised go towards the Commission’s activities to celebrate the Shubenacadie Canal. Tickets are available here.

Parking Enforcement
Parking enforcement is changing this month. HRM’s moving forward with mobile license plate recognition. What this means is a parking officer will be able to drive down the street with a camera scanning parked cars to identify any that have overstayed their purchased time. The practical effect is that officers will spend much more of their time on vehicles that are actually in violation, making them much more efficient in issuing tickets. They won’t lose time anymore manually scanning to check on a vehicle’s status. So, make sure to pay for your parking, it’s about to get easier for HRM to catch violations. Parking can be paid for by the Hotspot app or at the machines.

Summer Activities at the Oval
The Oval has flipped over to summer mode. The Oval’s concrete is available for rollerskating, biking, skateboarding, in-line skating and more. Free equipment rentals are available including bikes, scooters and skateboards. A valid ID is required to borrow equipment. For the Oval’s hours and schedule, visit HRM’s page here.

Public Consultation

Portland Street Plan
HRM is launching phase 2 of planning for the future of Portland Street/Cole Harbour Road. This corridor is a very important part of HRM’s transportation network, linking suburban Cole Harbour right through to Downtown Dartmouth. The corridor’s character varies considerably along its route, going from wide auto-centric suburban sprawl to historic neighbourhood. It’s a major bus route and part of HRM’s proposed rapid transit network, but it has little in the way of priority for transit and is a hostile environment for cyclists and pedestrians. HRM is looking to change that and is looking at redesign options. A survey launched today that you can find online here. There will also be two public open houses over the next two weeks

Public Open House #1
Thursday, June 13, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Mic Mac Amateur Aquatic Club

Public Open House #2
Monday, June 17, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cole Harbour Place

Online Survey
June 10 – 28

I would encourage folks to take advantage of the opportunity to provide input. This is a big project with wide ranging implications for the future of development and transportation in Dartmouth.

Here at the District 5 scale, HRM is considering either repurposing space to provide queue jumps for buses at major intersections or a full inbound bus only lane with queue jumps on the outbound side at intersections. Both options would produce significant improvements for transit, but the inbound lane option would provide the biggest improvement to transit. The downside is the inbound lane option would have the most impact on trees on the northbound side of the street and HRM might have to buy some small strips of private property.

Queue jump lane on or a full transit lane at Five Corners. Concept only, no detailed design work has been done yet
Bike route on the north side of Portland Street (multi-use trail Prince Arthur to Lakefront and separated bikes and pedestrians after Prince Arthur. Inbound transit lane

I’m not sure at this stage what the inbound lane option would truly look like as detailed design work hasn’t been done. HRM is only at the conceptual stage right now. Five Corners has been identified as a potential heritage district and minimizing impacts on the neighbourhood is important.

In Phase 1 of the Portland Street project, staff and I received feedback from cyclists requesting lanes on Portland Street. That is impossible to do on the oldest most narrow sections of the street in District 5 while also installing transit priority measures. There simply isn’t the space. Portland Street has been identified as a rapid transit route and the primary goal, first and foremost, is to provide dedicated space for buses so HRM has been looking at potential alternative routes for cyclists in this area. Luckily, an alternative appears to be doable.

The alternative bike route under consideration is through Maynard Lake Park, Summit Street, and Erskine Street, with a potential connection on Old Ferry Road as well. A multi-use pathway that largely follows the existing trail in Maynard Lake Park and then transitions to local street bikeways on the side streets would get cyclists down to the planned multi-use trail on Prince Albert Road, enabling connections to the Harbour Trail, Dahlia/Common, and Sullivan’s Pond/Banook infrastructure.

Potential alternative cycling routes in the space constrained portion of Portland Street

The parallel proposal is almost as direct and I suspect the only reason almost no one is using it now is there is no infrastructure to enable it in Maynard Lake Park. The one clear downside is the hill where Erskine meets Summit, although short, is extremely steep. It’s not Pine Street, but it’s a tough one to go up.

Dartmouth Cove Meeting
Wednesday, June 12, 6:30 pm
Helen Creighton Room, Alderney Gate Library

The Friends of Dartmouth Cove will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday to provide an update as to what is happening around the infill application and to share how folks can continue to support efforts to stop the plan to infill the waterlot along the Harbour Trail. I’m out of town this week on travel that was planned months ago, but Councillor Mason has graciously agreed to attend on my behalf and bring an update on the HRM perspective. He has my notes!

Council Update

To keep you informed about what is going on at Council, I’m writing a regular blog after Council meetings. Each of my entries is about what I saw as noteworthy from a District 5 perspective and my views on the issues. We might not always agree, but I think it’s important to provide a record of how I voted and why.

Council Update, June 4
There was almost only one issue at Council on June 4, homeless encampments and what HRM should do about the awful situation we’re in regarding homelessness. Read about it here.

Council Update, May
Approval for changes to the Centre Plan and suburban plans throughout HRM to allow for additional density as-of-right as part of the federal Housing Accelerator program, plus the Post Office redevelopment, ferry scheduling woes, and refunding marketing levy fines. Read about it here.


Switch Open Streets
Sunday, June 23, 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Portland Street, Downtown Dartmouth

Dartmouth Open Street Sunday is back. On Sunday, June 23, Portland Street will be closed to traffic and filled with fun from Alderney Drive to just past Victoria Road. This giant street party will include music, bouncy castles, good food and more. Come take over the street.

Walk with Refugees
Sunday, June 23, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Emigrant Statue on the Halifax Boardwalk (by the Port Authority Office)
Halifax Immigration Partnership
For World Refugee Day, join the Halifax Immigration Partnership and other non-profits who work with refugees in our community for the Walk with Refugees. Bring your family and friends and wear yellow if you can. The walk will conclude at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic with information booths, speeches, and activities.

Herb Drying Workshop
Saturday, June 29, Sunday June 30
Quaker House, 57 Ochterloney Street
Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society

Join the Dartmouth Heritage Museum Society for a 45 minute workshop on harvesting, hanging, and safely storing dried herbs. Workshop will include planting some herbs of your choice to take home. Price is $10. To purchase a ticket and register visit the Museum’s website here.

Rock the Harbour Concert
August 16, 17 and 18

Rock the Harbour is back this summer with a series of classic rock concerts at Alderney Landing. This year’s performances include Nazareth, Doug and the Slugs, Aldo Nova, Glass Tiger, Titan, Hawire, Chilliwack, 54-40, Razorboy, Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts, and Headpins. Tickets are available here.

EV Test Drive Events
Tuesday, August 20, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Alderney Landing

HRM is working with Next Ride and the Clean Foundation to hold a series of electric vehicle test drive events throughout HRM, including one in Downtown Dartmouth. Come try out an electric vehicle.


  1. I noticed the dock has not been installed at Birch Cove as of yet. Is it returning? By the way it is great to have the paths paved – no more gouges of erosion when it rains.

    • Yes the dock will be back. Not sure timeline but the Beach doesn’t officially open until July.

  2. Why is a public consultation- happening in two days – about Portland St buried so deep in newsletter? What is your thoughts or AT planners thoughts about how cyclist on Portland St getting to the Bridge safely?

    • It’s Public Consultation and that section always comes after News. I’m interested in finding a way to accommodate bikes in the area, but we don’t have enough room on Portland Street, so an alternative route is something I’m very happy to see being considered.

  3. Slayter St much needs a way to cut down on the non resident shortcutting -its gets of hand in rush-hour and actually disruptive to traffic flow to Victoria / Nantucket and Woodland

  4. The path along Maynard Lake Park is used everyday by many people ie., walkers, children going to and from school, families and also cyclists. It used to be well maintained by HRM but isn’t now. Cyclists already use it but have to get off their bikes between Connor St. and Maynard St. as there is a big dip due to washouts. It is a great idea for all users. Yes Erskine hill is steep but it is a sense of accomplishment when you can ride up it without having to get off your bike and walk up it. Erskine St (hill) will have to have traffic lines painted on it as there are many people not keeping in the correct lane. It is a “blind” as it is so steep.

    • I have wondered about the Trondheim example. The worry there would be building something that wouldn’t be constantly down for maintenance.

  5. I was doing the survey for the Portland Corridor. It is well designed. The HRM’s planners and consultants did a great job on alternatives. Now, it is a question of money to complete ASAP.

    I am also impressed with the proposed upgrade of part of the Maynard Lake path.

  6. Sam, I am glad to see you are running again in October. You will be a worthy opponent #McCluskey_Comeback_2024

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