Halifax adding more 'slow streets' to make it easier for pedestrians to keep their distance
HALIFAX -- As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, you may continue to see changes coming to city streets and sidewalks.
Halifax and Dartmouth have installed a series of "slow streets" and extended sidewalks as part of their COVID-19 mobility response plan.
On Friday, Halifax restaurant owner Hakan Uluerwas was setting up his first outdoor patio.
"We lost 50 per cent of our capacity inside, and we're just trying to survive," he said. "Three more tables, beautiful weather, and our guests like to sit outside, so we'll give a try."
That wouldn't be possible without extended sidewalks, which were part of a $65,000 project on Spring Garden and Quinpool Road. It allows for physical distancing during the pandemic.
Crews on Quinpool were removing the barriers today, leaving one Halifax Regional Councillor to question the investment.
"People don't seem to be using it," said Matt Whitman."I don't think it's necessary, and how do you pick one or two sidewalks and leave the rest of the city for people to have to be near each other; it's a half measure."
A city spokesperson says they are re-evaluating the location due to changing needs from businesses, including patios and temporary loading spaces.
"There's not much traffic here (on Quinpool sidewalks)," said Norm Thow. "I walk every morning about this time, and I find people are very good at physical distancing, you know, sliding to the right or to the left."
Slow streets are also popping up elsewhere in the Halifax Regional Municipality, with the intention of limiting traffic to local residents only, giving more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
"By taking these kind of measures we can give people a safe way, especially for young families, older people, people with mobility challenges, a way to get to and from where they need to go without worrying about their own personal safety from a health perspective, or a road safety perspective," said Halifax Regional Coun. Shawn Cleary.
The city designated eight more slow streets on Friday, bringing the total to 23.
Caleb Black likes that his street is one of them.
"There used to be people who just fly up this street, full speed, not stop at the stop sign, because there are no cops, not a lot of people," Black said. "I think that has been helping out the neighbourhood a bit."
Residents can ask for their street to be considered at shapeyourcityhalifax.ca.
Cleary says he expects slow streets will be in place for the rest of 2020, and the city will continue to receive feedback as they discuss permanent changes.