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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

First phase of transit priority approved for Robie and Young streets

Short-term congestion in exchange for long term improvements

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 5:37 PM

Parts of Robie and Young Streets to get transit priority lanes. - HRM
  • HRM
  • Parts of Robie and Young Streets to get transit priority lanes.

Transit priority lanes like the ones added on Gottingen Street are coming to Robie and Young streets. 

This week Halifax Regional Council approved phase one of the plan, which will see time-restricted bus lanes on weekdays from 6am-6pm on Robie Street from Young Street to Quinpool Road—hopefully speeding up routes 80, 81 and 7—and a westbound bus lane on Young Street between Kempt Road and Windsor Street. 

The lanes are a product of the Integrated Mobility Plan, which marked the areas as priority in late 2017. Councillor Waye Mason says, "ultimately I think that this is a great start to getting transit priority all the way to Spring Garden Road.” 

Alternate options saw the corridors take up more space on Robie Street, but for now, staff say this phase is the best bang for your buck way to start moving forward. It's expected that single-car traffic congestion in the area will increase, but busses will ideally be less affected and able to run more on time. And worsened traffic in the short-term is for long-term improvements is in line with the integrated mobility approach approved by council. The Robie Street section sees between 15,000 and 25,000 vehicles per day. 

The “preliminary Class D cost estimate for construction” (which basically means the first crack cost estimate) is slated at $1.9 million for the first phase, including the priority lanes, work on the traffic signals and intersection upgrades in the area.

Councillor Lindell Smith supported the project, saying this is just one step towards moving forward with the integrated mobility project. But he also asked that staff focus on lessons learned from the Gottingen Street transit priority project, which saw local businesses and community members unpleased with the way the transit corridors were put in place, affecting traffic volume and parking availability: “The big thing is making sure we engage with the community along the impacted areas and ensure that their thoughts and needs are incorporated to the extent possible.”

Next, staff will move to the detailed design stage, refine details based on councillor feedback and it’ll be up for debate in next year’s capital budget process.

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