DARTMOUTH -- Over the last few months, Slow Streets have been popping up across the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Slow Streets are open to local traffic only and are a place for residents to walk, cycle and roll while keeping space between others and adhering to physical distancing.

“We love them, we’ve been using them mainly for recreation, getting around the city for fun, but I’d love to see these stay so we could use them as commuting trails for getting to work,” says bicyclist, Tasha Armenta.

Slow Streets are part of the Mobility Response Plan – implemented earlier this year by the municipality in an effort to expand mobility options during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they aren’t the only change in the city recently.

A pilot project is also in place at Young Street, Kaye Street and Isleville Street in North End Halifax.

The project, which includes a raised median and curb extensions, is designed to improve the safety and comfort of those walking, rolling, cycling and driving in the neighbourhood.

Twenty-three angled parking spaces have also been installed on the north side of Kaye Street between Isleville and Gottingen streets. The spaces have replaced 14 parallel spots that used to be at that section of the street. The city says the angled parking design is safer and more efficient.

Motorists, like Peggy Barker, are happy to see additional parking in the city.

“Halifax needs more parking period,” says Barker. “Anything to help with parking; because before around here, it was only the couple over on Young Street.”

Businesses in the area are also pleased to see customers have additional places to park while they do their shopping.

“In the Hydrostone, it’s always been challenging with parking. Street parking is very minimal, of course, and it’s a very busy area, so it’s always good to have more parking for customers,” says Made in the Maritimes manager, Krissi MacKenzie.

And more changes are on the way when it comes to parking, as HRM is rolling out a new parking payment system.

In the first week of August, municipal staff will be removing on-street parking meters and replacing them with paid parking signage in Downtown Dartmouth. It’s the first step in the Parking Technology Solutions Project – which will see digital pay stations installed and a pay-by-plate, pay-by-zone system introduced in most of Halifax and downtown Dartmouth.

The city says payment is attached to the vehicle, not the parking space, which means vehicles can move freely within a parking zone up to the time purchased, or maximum time allowed. However, it’s a change that not all motorists welcome.

“It’s hard to park down here anyways, it’s always a pain because like, there’s almost never metres anyways,” says motorist, Maureen Symmonds. “I think it’s going to be confusing for the first couple of months, and I don’t really see it lasting because of that.”

Meanwhile, until signage and pay stations are installed, the areas where meters have been removed will become temporarily unrestricted parking until the project is complete.