'That's 100 per cent stupid': urban forest expert says of HRM idea to cut trees for bike lanes
According to HRM active transportation planner Mark Nener, the Peninsula South Complete Streets Project will in part lead to the clearing of space to allow for the creation of more bike lanes.
"Changes to parking, curbside loading, traffic lanes and also impacts to trees," said Nener.
Which means ripping down trees is an option, in these early stages. When told that South End Halifax trees could be on the chopping block, Peter Duinker was quick to react.
"That's 100 per cent stupid," said Duinker, who is an urban forests expert with a research background in environmental assessments.
"What grieves me is the car lanes are considered sacrosanct," said Duinker. "And what has to be forfeited is the tree line between the curb and the sidewalk."
Duinker said the best place to have trees is on city streets and it takes decades for them to grow back. He is also in favour of bike lanes.
"The last thing we do is dump a good environmental program with trees for a good environmental program with bikes," said Duinker.
Nener said the project would soon involve public engagement, which will likely not be in-person due to COVID-19.
"We will present visual materials, to help communicate the options and implications to the public," said Nener.
HRM staff will make final recommendations to council for approval by mid-2022. Until then, it is unknown exactly how many, if any, trees will removed to make room for bike lanes.