Our HRM Alliance supports sustainable transportation and the growth of complete communities for HRM. In light of the proposed bus lanes on Gottingen Street, and the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, we applaud Halifax Transit for making movement towards a Halifax Transit system that serves all its users effectively and reliably.
Proposed bus priority lane would run along Gottingen Street from Cogswell Street to North Street during all hours of the day, traveling both Northbound and Southbound.
In consultation with member groups who are transportation stakeholders and stakeholders for Gottingen Street, we have taken the following positions regarding the proposed Gottingen Street Bus Lane:
- Due to lack of congestion on the southbound side of Gottingen, and lack of congestion during non-peak hours, the bus lane on Gottingen should service the northbound side of Gottingen and function as bus-only for the hours of 7:00am-9:00am and 4:00pm-6:00pm, to be re-evaluated after one year of operation.
- The southeast corner turning lane of Gottingen and North, where right-turning buses (towards the MacDonald Bridge) would have to merge with regular traffic in order to reach the bridge, should be modified to continue the bus lane along North Street to Brunswick. This would require the current northbound lane at this intersection to be both a forward and right turning lane; regular traffic would turn right from this lane after the pedestrian island. The reason for this recommendation is that giving northbound buses a priority lane for the entirety of Gottingen, but removing it when they hit the bottleneck at North Street, would simply move the current bottleneck, eliminating the improvements for buses.
- We would like Council to ask that staff complete a Corridor Capacity Study, in order to better march the number of buses travelling on Gottingen with the number of passengers traveling on Gottingen, following the transfer-based network principle in the Moving Forward Together Plan. We would like Council to ask for a staff report regarding the removal of express buses (buses which do not stop along the corridor) from Gottingen Street to Barrington Street and Robie Street, to be returned to Council by October 2018.
- The total cost of $250,000 for this project should be amended to include the extra cost of streetscaping, including the installation of planter boxes and other mechanisms to separate the pedestrian sidewalk from vehicular right-of-way, particularly on the section north of the Halifax North Memorial Library. A community should not be asked to incur extra bus traffic, noise, and vehicular danger without being provided pedestrian-oriented benefits to mitigate these effects; in the interim (during Summer 2018), temporary planters with trees should be installed in order to mitigate the immediate effects.