Pine Street Parking Changes
Over the last few years, concern about speeding on Pine Street has been a frequent complaint in my inbox. Pine Street has been assessed for traffic calming and, with an 85th percentile speed (speed that 85% of the traffic is travelling at or below) of 53 km/hr, the street qualifies for a project. Traffic calming projects, however, are awarded to the streets with the highest recorded speeds first, meaning there isn’t an exact timeline for when traffic calming might happen on Pine Street. Pine has higher speeds than many other streets, but it’s also not the worst street on HRM’s constantly evolving traffic calming list. Sometimes though, there is more than one way to go about addressing a problem, which brings me to the subject of Pine Street’s parking restrictions.
The east side of Pine Street is currently signed no parking along almost the entire length of the street, while the west side allows parking except from 10:00 – 11:00 am, Monday – Friday, on the lower half of the street. HRM has been reviewing the restrictions on the east side with the intent of introducing street parking. Allowing parking on the east side would be convenient for residents, but it would also slow down traffic. Parked cars take up space, effectively narrowing a road, and narrower roads are slower. The chart below from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) shows the clear relationship between lane widths and speed.
To ensure parking can be added to the east side of Pine Street without creating new problems or safety issues, HRM staff reviewed the existing traffic regulations. Staff really couldn’t find much rationale as to why the east side was signed no parking back in the 1980s in the first place. The staff review concluded that parking can be introduced on the east side with two exceptions:
- Area in front of Pine Street Park because there aren’t enough driveways in that area to create gaps for vehicles to pass each other when there are cars parked on both sides of the street
- Area near the intersection of Tulip and Pine where the blind crest hill creates sightline issues.
Apart from in front of the park and at the crest of the hill, the plan is to introduce the same restrictions on the east side of Pine that already exist on the west side, meaning that parking will be allowed, except between 10:00 – 11:00 am (the 10:00 – 11:00 am restriction is to ensure that the street doesn’t get overwhelmed with commuter parking). The new signage should be in place in the next few weeks.
Maynard Lake Trail Entrance
HRM has a mix of recreational spaces around our lakes. Here in District 5, there is a well-developed trail around Oathill Lake, while over at Penhorn Lake, a group of local residents have formed a trail group (Penhorn Lake Area Trails Association) to champion the construction of a trail. After years of work, construction of the Penhorn Loop is nearly here. PLATA has secured funding this year and with any luck work will start on the trail in the spring.
The somewhat forgotten lake in the mix is Maynard Lake. Maynard is the same as Oathill and Penhorn in that it is surrounded by a municipally-owned greenbelt. The Maynard Lake shoreline is entirely public property, but apart from the park near Portland Street, it’s not developed to facilitate public access. There is a rough trail around Maynard, but it’s not maintained. I have occasionally had some interest expressed by local residents to see Maynard Lake made more accessible and to get a proper trail system. Making Maynard more like Oathill would be a big project and the kind of thing that would benefit from an interested residents group.
In the interim, Parks and Rec has agreed to undertake work at the trail heads around Canterbury and Wyndholme. The rough trail along the Lakefront side of Maynard is actually in pretty good shape, except for the entrance off Canterbury Place. The trail head there is very rough. Parks and Rec is going to carry out a small project to fix up that end so that access to Maynard, as it is now at least, is maintained.
After a hiatus last year due to COVID, HRM’s Curbside Giveaway Weekend is back! On Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17, residents are encouraged to place unwanted items at the curb for treasure hunters to haul away. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of books, furniture, toys, kitchen items, sports equipment, clothing, electronics and more. Only place items at the curb that are free and clearly marked with a “FREE” sign. Learn more, and promote your free items and plan your treasure hunt in advance on the Curbside Give Away map on the municipal website here.
Christ Church Cemetery Art Installation
If you haven’t noticed it yet during your travels, there is a temporary public art exhibit up in the Christ Church Cemetery between Park Avenue and Dundas Street. In Solidarity by Pat Loucks and Violet Rosengarten is inspired by traditional Tibetan prayer flags. Lines of flags have been hung from the big tree in the centre of the cemetery. The artist statement indicates it’s a gesture of solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Each flag carries thoughts and prayers into the universe, in recognition of the suffering that has been and continues to be endured. The art installation will be on display until the end of October.
Following the Province’s announcement regarding mandatory vaccination of provincial employees, HRM announced this week its own vaccine mandate for all municipal staff. All of HRM’s staff will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 15. Employees who don’t vaccinate will be placed on unpaid administrative leave. Halifax Water and Halifax Regional Libraries are governed separately from HRM and aren’t included in the HRM mandate. The Library has indicated that they will be implementing their own vaccine mandate though, while Halifax Water is still considering their options. Vaccination is what will keep us safe and our healthcare system functioning. I urge anyone who can (the vast majority of us) to get the shot.
A Tree Grows in Dartmouth
In September, I was delighted to play a role in a small tree rescue. The rescue occurred at the corner of Maple and Thistle Streets. The vacant lot on the corner (a former foundry/car dealership) is owned by O’Regan’s Properties Limited and is slated to be redeveloped into townhouses. There is a small single-storey building on their property that will be demolished as part of the upcoming development. Growing on the building’s roof was a single birch tree. The little tree has been there for several years, growing without soil, and in the harsh flood/drought conditions of a rooftop! Hardy little thing!
The little tree’s tenacity has been admired over the years by a local resident on Dahlia Street, Rick Gautreau. Upon hearing of the property’s upcoming redevelopment, Gautreau set out to save the tree. I approached the O’Regan’s on Gautreau’s behalf and they agreed to help. O’Regan’s site manager went up on the roof and carefully removed the tree. The tree had a long horizontal root system and seemed to have been getting what little nutrients it could find from a rotting log.
After handing the tree over to Gautreau, the next step was to find it a new home. It turned out that Gautreau didn’t have a place for it in his backyard, so I helped make arrangements with HRM’s horticulture staff. The little birch has been replanted at Sullivan’s Pond on the island closest to Hawthorne Street amongst a grove of other birch trees. With any luck, it’ll take to its new home. From a car dealership roof to an island in Sullivan’s Pond. A neat life story for this little tree.
Many thanks to Rick Gautreau, the folks at O’Regan’s, and HRM’s amazing horticultural staff for this.
Bit of a repeat from September’s newsletter, but transit routes in Dartmouth are seeing some significant change starting November 22. It’s all part of The Moving Forward Together Plan. Moving Forward is a reorganization of Transit around the key principles of:
- Focus resources on high ridership service
- Build a simplified transfer based system
- Improve service quality and reliability
- Give transit priority in the street network
Moving Forward Together has been implemented in phases and where changes have been made, HRM has seen significant increases in ridership. Moving Forward is delivering better service to more people. The proof has been in the pudding. Now it’s Dartmouth’s turn. Here ere are the key changes in District 5:
- New corridor route 6 will replace the 60 and 63, enhancing service along Pleasant Street to Woodside Ferry Terminal
- New corridor route 5 will replace existing bus routes on Portland Street, providing enhanced service on the busy Portland corridor
- New 53 Highfield replaces the old 53 Notting Park. The new 53 will run in both directions on Wyse instead of inbound on Victoria. It will also continue to Alderney Ferry Terminal rather than stopping at the Bridge and will no longer cross the Bridge during rush hour.
- New route 54 and 55 will go to Alderney Ferry Terminal and Bridge Bus Terminal
- Route 62 Wildwood will become the 62 Grahams Grove. The new 62 Grahams Grove will terminate at Gaston Road rather than crossing the Circumferential Highway (the Gaston Road portion of the new 62 was previously part of the 66 Penhorn). Service to Wildwood will instead be via a transfer at Penrhorn Terminal to the new 63 Mount Edward
- Route 66 Penhorn is no more and portions of the old route have been split between the 62 Grahams Grove for Gaston Road, and the 67 Baker for service to Mic Mac Mall.
Transit has prepared some helpful graphical guides about what is changing that I have included below. You can find more information on Transit’s website here.
Transit Service Alerts:
If you follow Halifax Transit on twitter, transit is changing the way it delivers notifications for service disruptions. Tweets for service disruptions used to be entered manually by HRM staff, which added time and increased the possibility for errors. To speed up the process and improve accuracy, Transit has launched a new dedicated account, @hfxtransitalert that is directly connected to Transit’s software. Now, when Transit creates a service alert, a tweet will be generated automatically at the same time. When the service disruption ends, the tweet will be automatically deleted, meaning @hfxtransitalert will always have a comprehensive list of whatever service disruptions exist at any given time.
If you’re not on twitter, HRM does post planned service disruptions on the municipal website here. Not all disruptions in transit service are known in advance though. It’s pretty hard to plan for a motor vehicle collision! Unplanned service disruptions are captured by third party apps that tap into transit’s real-time feed such as Google Maps or the various transit apps. The departure line, although it doesn’t announce service disruptions at this time, does factor in the resulting time delay.
2022 Volunteer Award Nominations
Do you know an outstanding community volunteer? Feel that it would be worth recognizing them for their good work? Good news, HRM’s is accepting nominations for the municipality’s annual volunteer awards. The deadline for nominations is December 15. For more information, to check out past winners, and to nominate someone awesome, visit HRM’s website here.
Penhorn Redevelopment Public Information Meeting
Wednesday, October 20, 6:00 pm
HRM is holding a virtual public information meeting on the proposed redevelopment of Crombie’s vacant lands at Penhorn. The Penhorn Lands have an already established community vision that was worked out in the early 2010s. The Centre Plan enabled that vision and now Crombie is seeking a specific development agreement to allow redevelopment to proceed. Please check out the project page here and complete the online survey here. If you wish to participate in the virtual meeting, you must contact the HRM planner for this application, Melissa Eavis, no later than 3:00 pm on Tuesday, October 19. You can reach Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 902-237-1216. In your message, please include the planning case number (23224) in addition to your name, community of residence, email address, and telephone number.
To keep you informed about what is going on at Council, I’m writing a regular blog after each meeting. 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, October 5
A relatively light meeting that included final revisions and the scheduling of a public hearing for the Centre Plan. Council also amended HRM’s various plans in the suburban and rural areas to allow residents to keep chickens. Read about it here.
Council Update, September
Our two September Council meetings, which included revisions to HRM’s Red Book, the Cogswell tender, bird netting for the Circumferential Bridge, planning for a new dog park, and a review of HRM’s garbage can criteria. Read about it here.
Council Update, August 17 (Committee of the Whole, Centre Plan)
A complete rundown of all the Centre Plan amendments that I have advanced in District 5 during the Plan’s lengthy review process. Read about it here.
Two tender awards since September’s E-News.
- Alderney Landing Main Stage Canopy Replacement, $410,924 (Bird Construction)
Replacement of the canopy over the main stage at Alderney Landing
- Traffic Calming Phase 4, $761,290 (Ocean Contractors)
Installation of speed humps in various locations, including Celtic Drive and Glenwood Avenue.
Six tenders issued over the last few weeks relevant to District 5
- Paving Highfield Terminal, Closing October 21
- Vincent Coleman Ferry Refit, Closed October 7
Routine maintenance work on the Vincent Coleman Ferry
- Northbrook Park Pathway and Lighting, Closed September 3
Planned upgrades to Northbrook Park including new pathways, bridges, and lighting
- Zatzman Sportsplex Acoustic Tile Replacement, Closed September 9
- Snow Removal, Zatzman Sportsplex and Bridge Terminal, Closed October 12
- Snow Removal, Alderney Gate, Closed October 12
Snow contract for HRM’s property at Alderney, including the parking lots along Alderney Drive
October 13 – 16, 6:00 – 11:59 pm
Downtown Dartmouth and Halifax
Nocturne is back! Each evening from now until midnight on Saturday, there will be a variety of art installations on display in Downtown Dartmouth and Halifax. Dartmouth’s theme is very much light related, and includes a new display on the old post office on Queen Street amongst several others. Check out the Nocturne page here for more information on specific projects and the events COVID safety protocols.
Walk Against Violence
Wednesday, October 20, 6:30 pm
Boys and Girls Club, 60 Farrell Street
The 23rd annual walk against violence will take place on October 20, rain or shine. Come walk in unity and support of efforts to make Dartmouth a safer place. Donations accepted for the Jason MacCullough Memorial Scholarship. If you can’t attend the walk, consider leaving your porchlight on to show support.
Downtown Dartmouth Clean-Up
Saturday, October 30, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Big Flag at Alderney Landing
Come help clean up Downtown Dartmouth’s waterfront with the folks from Scotian Shores. Costumes are very much welcome for this event with a prize draw for folks cleaning up in style at the end. To RSVP, please email email@example.com
I Light HFX
Saturday, November 6
Halifax Cycling Coalition
With the weather getting colder and darkness falling earlier, it’s time to dust off your bike lights, lamps, Christmas lights, reflectors, and costumes for the Cycling Coalition’s I Light HFX ride. This year’s ride will take place on Saturday, November 6. The ride is open to riders or all ages and abilities. Exact time on the sixth and location to be announced soon. Contact the cycling coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.