Letters to the editor, September 22, 2016 | Opinion | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Letters to the editor, September 22, 2016

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Corral beef

An open letter to the Halifax Cycling Coalition,

I was disappointed to learn that the bike corral that was installed on Cornwallis Street was a Halifax Cycling Coalition initiative. As a fellow cyclist, I appreciate the work the HCC does to promote safe cycling; however, the bike corral was installed without consultation of the local community.

I have been a resident of Cornwallis Street since 2005, and am both a bike owner and a car owner. This area of Halifax is characterized by traditional north end saltbox row houses with no driveways for cars to be parked in, so local residents park on the street. This is always a bit tricky, especially with the opening of businesses in the area—and the visitors they bring—as the few limited parking spots are often occupied. Two years ago, the city of Halifax consulted the local community to ask if residents of Cornwallis Street wanted to have the parking spots designated as resident-only spots. The outcome of this consultation was that the parking spots remained free for everyone to use, and were not zoned as resident-only parking.

The bike corral installed by HCC has reduced the number of parking spots for at least 10 Cornwallis Street residences from five to four. It is not clear there is a need for additional bike racks, as there are two existing bike racks on the sidewalk within metres of where the bike corral was installed, two more on the opposite side of the street and many posts in the area for bicycles to be locked up to. In all of my years living in the neighbourhood, I have always been able to find a rack to lock my bike, but finding a parking spot for my car is much more difficult.

The real issue, though, is the process. If HCC had consulted with local residents who identified that there was a shortage of bike racks, and that using one of the very limited parking spaces was desired, then the construction of the bike corral would be justified. Also, there have been no signs to identify that this was a HCC project; the only way that I figured this out was when I was cycling down Agricola Street and noticed a bike corral of similar construction with HCC signage. One of the benefits listed on the sign was that it was erected in a no-parking zone, therefore not using any pre-existing car parking spots.

As a resident of Cornwallis Street, the HCC is invited to consult with myself and the local community to discuss the challenges and needs of living in this area to better understand the desires of the local community. —Tyler Eddy, Halifax

We are pleased to announce a resolution to the Cornwallis bicycle parking situation that meets the needs of the Halifax Cycling Coalition, the Halifax Regional Municipality and the local community. When undertaking this project, we could not have anticipated the response that has occurred. Our original goal was to install two bicycle corrals in Halifax's north end, both located in the 7.5-metre space between the intersection and the legal start of car parking (the "clear zone"). This is the normal location for bicycle corrals in jurisdictions which we researched. However, the Halifax Regional Municipality was not comfortable with this approach for the pilot.

As a result, the second corral was placed in a way that adversely impacted the parking space used by Tyler Eddy, a situation that resulted in a back-and-forth in the media over the past two weeks. Last Friday, the HRM gave us permission to move our corral to the clear zone at the corner of Bauer and Cornwallis Streets, allowing the project to continue without further impact on car parking. While neither party realized it at the time, Mr. Eddy's vocal opposition to our project resulted in us getting the approval we originally sought.

We appreciate the HRM's willingness to work with us as the corral pilot has expanded over the past year. From our first installation tucked away on Charles Street, we advanced to a more prominent location on Agricola Street that has been full of bicycles all summer. Now, we are able to pilot an installation in the clear zone, showing an expanded level of comfort with temporary installations on all sides.

We would like to thank councillors Jennifer Watts and Waye Mason for helping stickhandle this file, as well as Chris Davis and his team at Traffic & Right of Way Services for their openness in communications concerning this project over the past 18 months, and Tyler Eddy, for becoming the trigger that helped us get a permit in the clear zone. —Halifax Cycling Coalition

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