In 1763, when King George III granted 235 acres of land, "for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax forever," the bicycle had still not been invented. These days, the Halifax Common is many things for many people, but one thing is certain: the intersections that surround it are not built for bikes.
It is really lovely to bike through the Common on a summer's day–ogling the ballplayers, eating a snack, wondering why thtat fountain has a fence around it–but as soon as you want to bike out of the Common you have to deal with one of the following infrastructural monstrosities.
Cunard and Robie Streets
Like all the Common intersections, this one has a lot going on with no clear paths of movement. And when the cars get confused the bikers are in jeopardy. Cars driving north drift into the right lane despite the lane marker going straight through the intersection. Then they panic and merge last-minute. Cyclists are left praying that they are checking their blindspots.
Agricola and Cunard Streets
If you are biking south on Agricola and you want to merge onto North Park, you’re in for a precarious treat. In order to get to the far right lane to continue your journey, you will have to yield to the traffic coming down Cunard Street. Luckily, you have a convenient island to hover near as you awkwardly try to make eye contact with drivers and gauge whether or not they are slowing down or speeding up at the sight of you.
Robie and Cogswell Streets
This intersection is a nightmare. There are no lanes, signs or infrastructure for cyclists. Just a massive expanse of road to cross without any idea of what will happen on the other end. If you try to turn onto Quinpool Road from Robie Street, you are instantly thrown into a lane turning onto Windsor. There’s really no safe place to be.
Cogswell and North Park Streets
Nowhere do you feel more unsafe as a cyclist than when you can tell that drivers around you don’t know what they’re doing. That is the constant feeling at Cogswell and North Park. Nobody knows what’s going on. Too many roads and too little signage leave us all fending for ourselves and hoping that we’re all following the same rules. More often that not, cyclists must rely on expressive eye contact to ensure their safety here.