New protected bike lanes cause parking confusion for Halifax motorists
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 10:01PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 20, 2019 8:12AM ADT
New protected bike lanes are now being installed in downtown Halifax, but they seem to be causing some confusion for motorists who aren't sure where to park.
The concrete blocks are about a metre away from the curb, carving out Halifax's latest protected bike lane.
When they're finished, the barriers will line South Park Street from Spring Garden Road to Inglis Street.
But the big question for drivers like Kendra Marshman is where to park.
"I'm not too sure," she said. "I'd probably just go, honestly I'd just go with other people. If someone else was parked there then I would park."
Said Jeff Snide: "It is confusing. I think the meters need to be on the concrete pillar."
The traffic cones might throw some drivers off, but parking is allowed at meters located just on the side of the bike lane.
"It's a new type of facility, so we're going to have to do some communication and some education around that and make sure that people understand that that parking is still open, but it just functions a bit differently than it used to," said Mark Nener, an active transportation planner with the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The city is planning a campaign next week to teach drivers and cyclists all about the new lanes.
But for those on two wheels, the barriers are big news.
Having a physical separation from cars means a safer ride for everyone.
"Any time people are trying to travel down the bike lane on their bikes, and they need to swerve out around cars," said Meghan Doucette, the executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition. "That's dangerous, because they might have to do it quickly and ending up in traffic that's behind them."
Doucette hopes more people might be willing to hop on a bike when the lanes are completed.
"Having this type of protected infrastructure can ensure that more people will choose to ride their bikes and there's so many benefits to the environment and congestion on our streets to having people on bikes," Doucette said.
City officials say more signage and street markings will go up soon.
They've looked to cities like Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg for examples of how these lanes can work.
Construction on the protected bike lanes is ongoing and next year, they will start phase two of the project, extending it down to Sackville Street.
But they say that at this point, there still needs to be some signage put up, marking of the pavement, and the city estimates that all of the work for the bike lanes should be done by the end of next week.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Emily Baron Cadloff.