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View Full Version : Halifax Metro Ring Road System
Aug 21, 2010, 10:10 PM
I know this is a long post, but there's alot I have to say about Halifax, many ideas here are new to HRM.
Halifax Metro's urban core could really benefit from a ring road. If built, I suspect there is a good chance that traffic volumes on many sections of at-grade roadway inside of the ring road (extended Highway 111) will drop back down to acceptable volumes as most of the regional inbound and outbound traffic would likely go along the ring road and exit at the nearest point to their destination as opposed to multiplexing extensively with local urban-core traffic that is internal to the ring road. For instance, I expect that significant traffic volumes to and from downtown on Bayers, Connaught, Chebucto/Cunard, Robie, and Quinpool would likely divert onto the new ring road. Factoring strong population growth, the transit system also needs to be re-jigged (into a system with intra-neighbourhood/community collector routes and inter-neighbourhood/community express routes, and Bus Rapid Transit) to make it such that it literally can take one anywhere faster than driving in freeflow traffic, without restricting existing traffic lanes or necessary road upgrades (add new bus lanes where possible). The fast ferry service should also be brought in all across Halifax Harbour and the Northwest Arm ASAP. All this would really reduce traffic and parking congestion on the Penninsula and inner Dartmouth.
Also, I have recently looked an an archive on the Harbour Drive project that was cancelled in the 1970's, and noticed the project was geared to only having a southern crossing and the Macdonald bridge, and not with the Mackay Bridge in mind. As such, the Mackay Bridge's existence is why Harbour Drive was able to be cancelled, but that only diverted the problems to the north end as opposed to eliminating them altogether. As traffic volumes grew in the subsequent decades, the effects from the lack of a full ring road became obvious with traffic congestion blanketing much of Metro and the two harbour bridges to the point that it now as the potential to cripple economic prosperity in the inner urban portion of Metro.
This ring road (and others) could also mitigate the need to build potentially controversial road widenings, such as on Bayers Road between Connaught and Highway 102, saving HRM millions of dollars and years of political agony. As Metro expands, expressway corridors should be planned on a regular basis, along with having all environmentally sensitive areas in HRM catalogued and blocked off from development, and have a green belt established to ensure that these lands and prime agriculture lands are maintained (as this is where much of our food and sustenance comes from, making this is just as important as urban land uses), and preserve wild hunting areas from development or from becoming parkland in a reasonable manner. Ontario did the green belt with Toronto (but they have not think of setting aside unused wilderness land tracts for hunting). HRM and Nova Scotia could benefit greatly from this. As such, I recommend that traffic impact simulations be conducted immediately with this ring road in mind (4-6 lanes), so as to ascertain which infrastructure projects in the inner urban core of Halifax-Dartmouth should be actioned (carried through), delayed, or cancelled. For instance, Barrington St. north of Devonshire should still be widened to four lanes, and the section of Barrington St. east of Stadacona should have the northbound sidewalk removed to allow the narrow road lanes to be brought up to standard width (3.65m each).
To ease shipping for trucks to and from Halterm in the south end of Halifax, I propose that a truck-only route be established along the CN rail cut by way of a paved, two-lane road alongside of the tracks. The rail cut would need to be widened. As another option (which would save the need for cut widening), traffic coordination could be done with CN trains to coincide with directional train traffic in each respective lane - as a single lane of truck traffic fits in a single lane of rail traffic - the travelling surface in the rail cut would be made to resemble what one would normally see in a rail crossing with the rails inset in protected grooves in the road surface. Traffic coordination with CN should be easily possible as there are frequent, ultra-long gaps between passing trains (sometimes even hours) - the railway in the cut would need to be brought back to dual track to make this possible (the rail traffic scheme would be run like a standard North American, right-side drive, two-lane highway). The traffic coordination option would allow the truck route to be put in place within the next year, WITHOUT ROCK BLASTING. This, along with the one-way couplet downtown, and the ring road itself, will create 3 options for heavy-haul truckers to easily access Halterm, and ensure the long-term viability of Halterm.
I have also included a connector suggestion for Highway 107 on the attachment to link the Forest Hills Extension section with the freeway section of the 107 east of Ross Road (effectively completing the 107) to ensure the existence of a full regional east-west high-speed freeway corridor and outer ring road all the way across Halifax Metro, which would include Highways 113, sections of Highway 101, and Highway 107. I have included this to ensure that a right-of-way is protected for the Loon Lake Connector before urban developers take the land and scuttle any opportunity to fix this deficiency on Highway 107, as the urban area has now expanded up to Loon Lake.
Coupled with the ring road idea, dowtown needs a major re-arrangement of its traffic to allow better flow, while also balancing auto transport with transit and active commuting.
To save the explanation, I have taken a Google image and overlaid it with colour-coded lines denoting the recommended class of road along all significant road segments. Of note, in the map image, a new north-south corridor is shown along South Park St., Bell Rd., Ahern Ave., and North Park St./Agricola St., which becomes possible when Bell Road is cut off from the Quinpool/Robie/Cogswell intersection, demoted to a local road, and access via RIRO ramps on Robie northbound, Cogswell eastbound, and a "T" intersection on Ahern Ave. If this is ever done, I would suggest that South Park St., Ahern Ave. (along with the short stub of Bell south of Ahern), and North Park St. all be renamed under a single name, Park St.
The demolition of the Cogswell Interchange also permits the demolition of Rainnie Dr. west of Gottingen St., allowing Centennial Pool to be integrated solidly with Citadel Hill along with being able to move its parking southward to make way for Cogswell's widening to 4 lanes (and clean up the mess at the North Park intersection. This also permits southbound traffic on Gottingen to move around the eastern side of Citadel Hill more easily (regardless of transport mode), which is good for some who, for instance, goes from Stadacona to the Park Lane movie theatre regularly.
The shutdown and localization of Bell Road, along with the localization of Trollope St. reduces the barriers between Citadel High School and the Commons (the only busy road would be Cogswell, which has a median that provides a central refuge and easy crossing). The resulting intersection cleanup also improves safety for Citadel High as students will be exposed to less road rage, which should reduce tension in that school (which has made the news a few times in the last year).
The reason for the closures is to reduce the Robie and North Park intersections to simple 4-way roundabout intersections (less conflict points for traffic to move through = less delays).
The downtown one-way couplet of Barrington (changed to flow southbound) and Hollis (switched to flow northbound) is shown to illustrate the full effect of what my recent proposals would like like on the traffic map, I would suggest that this couple be ultimately joined to the planned southern harbour crossing. Each roadway would have two through lanes and a parking/loading lane each, with off-peak parking/loading on the second through lane when the traffic is low (at night). The one-way couplet extended all the way from where Barrington and Hollis split to where they rejoin each other. Lower Water St. would be converted to shared space and used as a local access road. Infact, Lower Water St. is already no longer suitable as an arterial road due to the heavy local traffic coming in and out of the Waterfront. One-way streets are easier for heavy trucks to move along too, although the intention is to have them use the ring road and the truck route before going through on Barrington and Hollis (this route is for local deleveries and as a back up in the event the ring road and the truck route are both shut down). Large city buses would be able to move effortlessly through here, unlike today, where the existing Barrington St. is a disaster for city buses - I rode on the city buses through there, and it can take them up to 20 minutes in the height of afternoon rush hour just to get through all the tight spaces and traffic conflicts on Barrington between Spring Garden Road and Cogswell.
The Cogswell Interchange demolition also allows southbound traffic on Barrington to use Brunswick St. between Cogswell and Spring Garden Road as a detour/bypass when necessary (i.e. construction or major incident), which the current Cogswell Interchange does not allow (only northbound traffic can do this). In the above image, I proposed that the interchange be replaced with two roundabouts (one for Barrington, Hollis and Cogswell and one for the new Cogswell/Water St/Casino access intersection). Upper and Lower Water St. would then become known as Water St. due to the resulting unification of road alignments at the new Cogswell roundabout system that I propose here. Water St. to the north of Cogswell St. would still have a 48ft asphalt cross-section, plus sidewalks, while it would be shared space to the south of the Cogswell roundabout. The outside lanes on Upper Water St. would be shut down and used for off-peak parking and buses (only one general through lane each way). Cogswell St. would be 4 lanes, divided throughout its entire length (from Robie St. to Water St.)
Through traffic going through downtown would pass through less traffic conflicts if the interchange was demolished (in this scenario) than they would under the existing situation.
All yellow and white lines and un-coloured roads would be re-built as "Shared-Space" roads (except for Upper Water St.), while the blue and green roads would still have lanes, sidewalks, traffic signs and signals along them.
Shared space is basically where all modes of transport share the roadway equally, along with having all traffic controls removed, even the separation between roads and sidewalks within the affected right-of-way strips. Road surfaces would be typically built of paving stones, patterned stone/conrete, etc, just like what is seen in some of the high-end video games on the market today, except that this one's real, and works remarkably well. It would certainly clean up dowtown cores, revitalize urban areas, and renew social interaction in the population that has been neglected over the last century to the point that even the police can't be trusted all the time anymore (as the current system effectively gives them insurmountable power over the general public while on the road - hence traffic quotas, police brutality, increased gang violence, etc - so much for our "public spaces").
For more information go to:
and browse through the site.
The sites main presentation under the 'downloads' section:
on Page 17 you'll notice why people drive fast on some roads and slow on others even though the speed limit may be the same or vary by only 10km/h (i.e. the entire Bayview tourist corridor).
The very interesting YouTube Videos on this subject, done by the Shared Space Project Team:
Introduction Shared Space Part 1:
Introduction to Shared Space Part 2:
Shared Space Newsflash Video:
Shared space in London (UK):
Shared Space is regulated by only a couple of rules, 'Yield to the right' and 'Get in someone's way and you'll be towed.'
and also the first-come-first serve, and the 'Yield to traffic in circle' rule for roundabouts in shared space.
Newspaper online article on Shared Space titled 'How stripping the streets of traffic lights and signs may be a life saver', which also notes how removing sidewalk railings from Kensignton High Street, West London reduced pedestrian fatalities because drivers were forced to be more cautious of the fact that pedestrains were now able to cross at any point along the street upon yielding the way to through traffic on the road:
A PDF document on how traffic control has failed over the last century:
Note that in Page 4, it discusses the problems of traffic lights, and even suggests ALL-WAY STOPS and ALL-WAY YIELDS. It also says this interesting, but very accurate description of all-way stops in Page 5:
'Most drivers don’t come to a full stop but treat the all-way stop as an all-way yield, which functions under the name of “filter-in-turn” in the Channel Islands. As the yield sign has a safety record as good as the stop sign but gives less delay and a 50 percent higher vehicle discharge, replacing all-way stops with all-way yields would lower road user costs substantially.'
All in all, Shared Space brings balance back to our society. When you have a network of shared space roads alongside (slow network, civic space) of a network of traffic-controlled arterials and expressways (fast network, traffic space), only then will you have strong communities and cities. You need both networks, not one or the other. Right now, HRM is 100% fast-network control, which is very unhealthy and even unsightly at times. For instance Spring Garden Road's aesthetics are drowned out by the bombardment of traffic controls placed on it, and residents are currently legislated upon every time they bound down, even in the own front yards!
Wrt transit, I would suggest linking all of the bus terminals with full-time terminal-terminal express buses, make the peak hour routes into all-day/night routes and aim to have transit bus frequency at 15-minute intervals in the urban area and 30-minute intervals on rural runs that re just outside of the urban area (regional runs may be less frequent in order to line up with lower demands). Also, in order to mitigate drunken driving due to people avoiding expensive taxi fares or drunken rage on the sidewalks that often sets in after 15 minutes of walking, transit should be made 24 hours. The sooner the drunks get home, the less trouble the HRP has to deal with. It's better to reduce the size of the bus before reducing the frequency of the runs as demand falls off from peak levels. Less waiting on the sidewalk = more riders and a safer, cleaner city.
In short my premise/opinion on transit is as follows: A trip on transit should take no more than 10 minutes longer than it would if one chose to take their own personal vehicle. At least those who don't drive or those who can't drive will no longer be at a disadvantage.
If the no-more-than-10-minutes-longer principle were to be adhered to (without turning the transit system into a giant sardine can), you would likely see a lot more ridership than what has ever been experienced in the history of HRM's/Halifax County's existence. This coupled with many of the recently suggested road improvements, along with proper land use planning will ensure Halifax's prosperity for a long time to come. There are many people in Metro who would set aside the keys if it was possible to do so with regard to the nature of the trip or commute (weather plays a big factor too).
Also, for instance the vacant land northeast of Windsor and Young would make a great terminal point between HRM transit and the new CFB Halifax base shuttle system (which was just stood up on 14 May 2010) for those coming in from the north or west of the Peninsula.
Of note, the need for alternative commuting is a severe need for DND personnel as there is limited parking on Base, limited enough that CF personnel need 13 years of service to be allowed to park in Stadacona (except for those living in barracks) and the Dockyard main parking lots. To give you an idea how severe this issue is, CFB Halifax is one of HRM's biggest employers, employing about 10,000 people. There are no plans to move the base. However, it would be nice if some of the ships were moved to Naval Annex Dartmouth (NAD, just north of the MacDonald Bridge).
Aug 22, 2010, 1:33 AM
I can see that you put quite a bit of thought into your proposed transit ideas. Thanks for posting.
I have one comment regarding widening the rail cut. Since widening the rail cut would require the expropriation of some properties, why not just use existing roads above the rail cut that can easily connected to Marginal Road to provide a direct truck route with a North West Arm Tunnel. This should also include car and transit lanes. I think that this would minimize the requirement for a billion dollar plus south harbour crossing by encouraging growth in the south Halifax mainland. Below is a sketch that I posted previously:
Aug 22, 2010, 3:24 AM
Pretty good thoughts, and plans. Although the road extension beside Shearwater will never happen. A road right beside the base would never be approved, and there is no land really available. You have the base on one side (with the runway,) and Morris lake on the other. So I think we can rule that extension out.
But the rest of it looks pretty cool. I'll have to read through it to get a better angle of what your plan is, but from what I read so far it looks pretty solid.
Aug 22, 2010, 3:35 PM
Maybe a two lane roadway connecting with Caldwell Road, but that would be about it.
Aug 23, 2010, 3:27 AM
I know widening the railway cut is difficult and potentially destructive to the residential development nearby. That's why I also mentioned about doubling up the track, paving the surface and actually having a road that is shared by both trucks and trains. Now, that would require extensive coordination and have warning signs at the entry points so that trucks could choose to divert along the ring road while a train is entering the cut, or choose to wait for the train and then follow in behind once it passes by. I heard that something like this was being done in Moosonee, Ontario to allow cars to use a rail bridge to cross the river as the only alternative was using a ferry in the warm season and an ice road in the winter.
The ring road would be run either as a viaduct or a tunnel.
Now, Fenwick's idea of running a truck route along the existing southside roadways is a good one, but chances are, it would come at the expense of the houses that abut the south side of the road as residents in this area would not like to live on a truck route, and if residents don't want to give up their homes, I'd expect a good chance of NIMBYism to occur.
I would suggest that Fenwick send his idea into HRM so they can look at it at least, because who knows, something may happen that takes parts of my idea and/or parts of Fenwick's at minimum.
In the worst case scenario, trucks would just use the ring road that I proposed or the one-way couplet downtown. The one-way couplet downtown should be implemented ASAP, as it would be the quickest way of managing the truck traffic and cleaning up downtown traffic in general (we don't have to wait for the southern crossing for this).
Currently, the HDBC plans to build the southern crossing in 2016. For this reason, I sent this ring road plan into HRM, the province, and the HDBC as of last week, while the citadel road re-arrangment/one-way couplet plan was sent into HRM back in May, only two months after I ripped a new one into HRM in March about the Windsor Street Stock Exchange and a whole bunch of other issues in HRM ranging from the need for more roundabouts up to including suggesting a flyover between Lacewood and the Bedford Highway across the old Bayview Motor Inn property.
Now I know the Mount Hope Connector is a bit "hopeless" right now, although I've heard that HRM doesn't want to totally let it go just yet - so that why I just decided to give it a bit of a push and show how it would look like with a full ring road. It would certainly make getting to and from Eastern Passage quick, compared to the slow slog of a drive that it is now. So, all that I can do with respect to the Mount Hope Connector is "hope" for the best, but I'm not holding my breath as the ring road and the transit overhaul are more important.
Hopefully, if anyone out there googles a for ring road ideas around Halifax-Dartmouth, they should hopefully find this, as this thread does appear on a Google search now (they were rather quick this time) - that's how I initially found out about some of ideas talked about by some of the others here a while back before I joined this forum.
Aug 23, 2010, 4:00 AM
rkannegi - I think you've done a lot of research and put a lot into thinking about this; you're off to a good start. I certainly applaude you for submitting this to HRM and the Province, what you now need to be prepared for is the questions and concerns that will stem from the proposal. Like I said, I think you are off to a good start but no plan is perfect and I came up with a number of questions about your plan, which may come up from HRM or the Province if they contact you about your plan.
So what I'm going to do is post my list of questions and concerns here. If you want to answer them - go ahead, but I just want to get you thinking more. Because if you were to take this to a committee of council; they will grill you, so my questions would probably be similar to what they would ask. This way; it gets you thinking of answers to be prepared because sometimes people will think of ideas; but not think them out fully. I see that other members of the forum are also giving comments and suggestions, which is good. Please don't think of me bashing your proposal; I think it's good - just needs some refinement.
So here are my questions:
When you were doing up this proposal - did you have a look at the report to City Council on June 8 about the proposed harbour crossing cross section? June 8 council report (http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/100608cai03.pdf)
With Shearwater's runways closing down - how will your proposed road along the long runway affect local developers? Would you be looking at a density increase?
Has the possibility of a regional rail (which would run in the rail cut) be factored into the rail cut truck concept? If not; it may significantly reduce the headway between trains, depending on the level of service and number of routes. Also, if by some miracle via was to do more trains as tourist routes (maybe restart the Bras D'or or a train to NB); yet more decrease in headway.
We've talked about halterm moving - in concept. How would this affect your plan?
HOw would you deal with any pedestrian capacity issues at Stadacona (by removing the sidewalk)?
I like the no trucks on narrow streets - no a question, just a comment.
At on point you say build a wider Bayers Road and then at another point it's controversial? Any improvement requiring expropriation is controversial - it's about the better good. So where do you stand?
What about down stream effects in the road network? If you close roads; you increase traffic on other streets. For example - once you get on Connaught - all the streets narrow to get into downtown. How would you compensate for this?
What about peak time flow on some major corridor streets - with signals where you could have 3 lanes in peak direction at each rush hour? This would eliminate on street parking along those corridors - say Quinpool (Rotary to Robie) and Gottingen (North to Cogswell)?
If the Bayers expansion is controversial - what about the expropriation needed for the south end? Don't be affraid of what is politically unpopular. Planners aren't elected (thank god).
The 107 connector is good, I like it, but it stops at Forrest Hills Parkway. wouldn't it be good to continue to the 118 and into Burnside?
Removing Rannie Drive reduces parcel access for the HRM police headquarters (since their access is one way in from Rannie and out on Cogswell). How would you deal with this? What about other parcels that take access from Rannie? The on street parking?
One ways on Barrington and Hollis are interesting - I'm assuming there would be no onstreet parking during peak hours? You could do that and also have tow trucks ready to tow people, like Calgary does parked nearby. Works really well. But what happens to the transit routes that follow Barrington in both directions? It would be okay for AM peak because they are following the one way (for the most part) and then onto SGR. The problem will be PM peak because they would come down SGR and then be forced right all the way down to the Train station. This would add additional cost and time to the routes - any thoughts? Personally; I don't mind that because if you have regional rail - now all routes would go passed the train station.
Coblestones are a great idea for decoration - but in winter cities are awful for clearing snow because a snow plow would get damaged. Would another option be better from a winter maintenance perspective?
24 hour transit is good on paper; but the $ is huge. How would you fund it? Perhaps maybe something like the blue light buses in Toronto - limited number of routes, but the routes cover more area? What about police/security? The other thing to remember is that it's usually the late hours/early morning when many transit systems do maintenance on the equipment - so that peak time service isn't affected.
Have you considered other options to reduce single occupant vehicle use? Transit Demand Management concepts like reducing parking in condos but the condo fees providing bus passes or compressed work weeks for many workers (thus reducing traffic Monday and Fridays)? What about Higher density in downtown? Other transportation options? Dispursement of employment centres?
Protection of environmentally sensative areas is good, but the city will probably continue to expand. So how do you balance the need to grow with protecting land? Higher density suburbs?
I am a little confused on your 'local access' idea for Bell Road and some of the roads by the commons. When I think of local access, I think of a residential road so no trucks, but no one really lives on these streets - so how do you define local? Would it just be to employees who work in the area? How do you keep others out? Or did I miss understand and you mean to close Bell road - if that's the case; you've now taken away access from the CBC and if the other white roads close off access to the Abbey Lane park of the QE 2 hospital and most critically the emergency room for ambulances (they tend to come down Trollope and then on Summer into the QE). How would you compensate for this? What about the Robie Street access? It's limited with stacking distance - can cause traffic issues.
If you are closing Bell Road - are you proposing to make it part of the commons again?
Did you have a look at the regional plan when you thought about this? If not, I highly suggest looking at the seattlement patterns and parks & future land use maps. Most of the area designated for agriculture is well outside the urban core, just fyi.
Wow; that's more questions than I thought - but it's something you should think about because some people won't really go into the details of your plan. Also, I was a little confused about some of your concepts - so I just want to understand them better.
Don't be discouraged by my questions because they aren't meant to knock or degrade what you've done; I just want to help you make it a good concept. I think all of us like many of your thoughts; so look at my concepts as constructive.
Aug 23, 2010, 6:12 AM
where nw arm drive becomes the new boulevard is a small pond. Expect to get grilled big time over filling this body of water in.
Aug 23, 2010, 7:00 AM
A pond and loads of houses.
OP, no offence and I don't mean to single you out -- there are definitely good ideas in there and I can appreciate all the thought you put into it, but -- it seems like a lot of the discussion on this forum is turning away from practicality and more towards the pipe dreams of road hobbyists. These plans for big-ticket new bridges and roadbuilding schemes that encourage expensive spawl in a province with crappy finances...why? Doesn't this all run counter to the implementation of HRMbyDesign, which seeks to repopulate the peninsula and build walkable communities? All those roundabouts may well produce "fewer delays", but surely not for pedestrians. Halterm truck traffic is an issue for sure, but all this, the ring road...seems a bit much, that's all
Aug 23, 2010, 3:56 PM
No worries, that is a bunch of very, very good questions, and most of which, I've already though about when drawing this up. For instance the sidewalk on the east side of Barrington between North St. and the entrance to Halifax Shipyards Limited (HSL)/Niobe Gate has little to no pedestrian traffic, while the west-side side walk is busy. Traffic signals at both ends already provide pedestrian connections. The lanes in that section are only about 3m wide, and often carry large vehicles as this road is meant to be a major arterial (and almost functions like a medium-speed expressway), leading to severe side-swipe collision risk. As such, the lanes need to be widened to 3.65m each, while the west-side sidewalk cannot be sacrificed or moved further west.
For the downtown couplet, full-time parking would be on the right side of the respective roadways, with gaps for bus stops, similar to many one-ways in the rest of Canada. Buses will be able to move more easily due to the removal of opposing headway conflict with opposing traffic at intersections. If it is critical that buses need to access the northbound roadway (Hollis) via Salter Street, a brief northbound bus-only lane could be built on Barrington St. between Salter and SGR, and parking would be banned completely on that short section of Barrington (to fit the overall 3-lane cross-section). Otherwise, eastbound-northbound buses would "U-turn" at Bishop street (for those that serve the couplet, otherwise head north along Brunswick St to Cogswell eastbound and Barrington northbound if they are solely going direction from SGR to Barrington north of Cogswell or to the existing bridges).
For those who think this is a pipe dream, this is not one of those. It is needed as traffic is getting extremely congested in Metro (especially since 2003 when the economy went from recovery to boom), and it is also needed to allow the transit system to more effectively serve a wider section of HRM's population in an expeditious manner. Roads in themselves do not cause sprawl, it is the land use planning that surrounds the affected roads that makes the difference in terms of sprawl. Europe's best cities have a balanced system of roads and transit, i.e. Paris, London and Stockhom. A city with that dominates on roads (Thunder Bay) or transit (Soviet Union cities) will not sustain itself well nor would it be able to offer a good quality of life. Higher denisty areas also require high-capacity roads and transit on regular intervals (not evry single street), otherwise.
About shared space, pattern concrete and flat-surface paving stones would used mostly, which have not problem in wintery weather. Some cities in Canada the get severe snow and ice events have roadways built like this. Britsh-style cobblestone would only be used on a limited basis - in areas where winter maintence won't be an issue - i.e. like Grand Parade.
Bell road would still be open to all (joined via right turn ramps on Robie and Cogswell to the south and east of the future Willow Tree Roundabout), just that it would cause drivers to sustain less delay by using Ahern Av.(and the short stub of Bell south of it) to get between South Park St. and North Park St.(one restored to two-way service). Rannie Rd east of Gottingen would reamin open. The section west of Gottingen would be closed and the Centennial Poll parking lot would be expanded southward to offset lost on-street parking and off-set losses from wideing Cogswell to 4-lanes divided between North Park and Gottingen (to provide a continuous 4-lane, divided roundabout boulevard from the Willow Tree Roundabout all the way down to the Water St. at the Casino - it ensures road system continuity, reducing traffic conflicts and delays).
Speaking of which, London, UK is structured such that all of the "spoke" motorways head for heavy-rail train stations once they enter the M25 orbital to allow suburban and exurban commutors to drive in far enough to access good transit and switch to transit to enter downtown and the reverse for leaving downtown, and transfer the bulk of their traffic to transit by the time they reach the North Circular road, at which point the motorways inherently end. The M25 orbital and the A406 North Circular Road serve as ring roads and as major switch points for SOV's, mass transit and carpooling. Ontario has been emphasizing this by connecting carpool lots directly to the exit ramps of its infamous parclo A4 interchanges - Highway 111 and the outer ring road should have a similar scheme. As such, I envision a similar scheme to London, UK and Stockhlom, Sweden for Halifax Metro overall, but with buses for now, as volumes are not totally high enough to start building grade-separated light and heavy rail transit lines, but they should be considered once volumes get high enough (grade separated bus ways should be considered though soon). Also, expressways (only core, regional highways need to be 110km/h as many of the secondary expressways would be designed for 80 or 90 similar to Calgary's network) should be spaced about every several km (with carpool and park and ride lots at the interchnages), to allow for good service for both cars and buses, and when things go over capacity at this point, emphasis would be placed on building grade-separated transit facilities more than general expressways - similar to how the Japanese handle extreme density.
With respect to late night transit, there is actually a thread on the Halifax section of skyscraper page that just emerged about the Halifax Students Alliance lobbying for late-night transit on the premise of making HRM safer (less drunks roaming around and fighting, which increases in risk the longer they the are forced to walk and less drunk driving, and less chance to vagrants to assault people who don't drive - its easier to get someone who's walking that it is to get at a driver - hence why there are many more pedestrian-based robberies and assualts than car-based assualts). For instance, some areas can be safe to drive, but dangerous to walk. In recent years, the Ontario government passed the draconian Safe Streets act in an effort to make the streets safer for people to leave their cars behind and use aletrnative modes of transport, REGARDLESS of time of day.
I can tell you first hand of an example of where criminal activity causes people to drive - Thunder Bay, Ontario, where I used to live until least year, except for my summer work in CFB Halifax. Criminal activity is why most people in the City of Thunder Bay still drive - it is the most economically depressed city in Canada, where in went from 24 forestry operations in the 1990s, down to 7 by 2005, with only 1 left remaining as of 2009. According to the Thunder Bay Coalition Against poverty, 16% of that city's population (about 17,000 people, total population is 110, 000 and dropping) live below the economic poverty line (most of which are natives). Its transit system is even rife with crime and requires frequent police surveillence to keep it safe - motivating many people to drive. However, taking Thunder Bay Transit is still safer than walking (over 200 pedestrians get stabbed every year there, and many cases go unreported, and a large swath of the urban area becomes almost un-walkable at night). At least Halifax is not as bad, but increased transit would still has a postive effect for non-drivers at night, especially when they have to pass through sections of the city full of intoxicated drunks or druggies. I am one of the few people that can walk through these areas due to my physical build that allows me to pile-drive any idiot that chooses to get in my way - but people who can't drive should not be forced to resort to use physical self-defence all the time to get home. If things keep on going the way they are in Thunder Bay, it will be just like Flint, Michigan by 2012 - this is to prove that Canadian cities are not immune to economic failure by unsustainable urban planning strategies (even with our social safety net).
Furthermore, if HRM doesn't straighten itself out, it will end up like Thunder Bay, post-1979 and progressively become like the way Thunder Bay is today - a dying, broken, and severely anti-social city (basically, take all of the major American soap operas, plus the American History X movie and you get Thunder Bay in its current form - it disgusts me just to think about that city, and the opportunities it wilfully squandered in the name of locally-based corporate greed, considering I experienced it first hand as I grew up). The Northern Ontario Developments thread has alot of info on what's going on in Thunder Bay - some good, but a lot of bad and ugly.
Anyways, I will note that the congestion tolling system in London, UK has actually been costing its parent corporation to more to run it than what they gain from it. In terms of road pricing, we already pay fuel taxes - just that it has not all been put back to roads and transit because many politician focus more on funding corporate greed THAN meeting the needs of their constituents (look at where the funding goes and you will see what I mean - Ontario's Highway 407 is one of the best examples of this where it is was ripped away from the taxpayers and is now run be a corporation that can jck tolls as they see fit). Road pricing systems should be specifically geared for roads and transit ONLY, and not for profit. People who just do simple commuting patterns should be encouraged to use transit, while those who work in essential or emergency services (the military is one of them too, especially in 9/11, Hurrican Juan, and ice-storm type scenarios) shouldbe allowed to drive if they can do so, but the transit system should be also set up to allow people in those professions that can't drive to still get around quickly if they can't get a ride - this is what the ring road will allow. I would expect a maximum right-of-way allowance of 110m for the inner ring road where possible, some of which should be set aside for bus/HOV lanes (at least one each way).
For the rail cut, if they want a trail, they should have it supported on the cliff wall above the truck/train route, as it is important to get trucks a dedicated route to sustain Halterm, even in the event the ring road becomes congested and to minimize truck traffic dowtown - downtown purpose is to serve people (including transit) more than serving trucks.
Inside of the ring road, more ephasis would be placed on transit.
Wrt Bayers Road, a 4-laner between Connaught and Windsor is not as intrusive as a 6-laner to the west of Connaught. The 4-laner to the east can be accomplished by undergrounding utilities, widening the road to absorb the 4 ft gaps between the sidewalks and the road and banning parking altogether, at minimum during peak hours. Meanwhile the sixlaner to the west means adding 3.65m of roadway on either side, which would case the out lane to scraper through existing fence lines and retaining walls and bring the sidewalks right up to some of the front doors if a god chunk of the buildings. The ring road, plus upgarde transit would eliminate the need for the extra two lanes. The intention is that Bayers would not be expanded beyond 4 lanes for general traffic, while transit expansion should be permissible, but it shuch a way so as to avoid mass demolition (a 5th lane or a transit-only viaduct, similar to Ottawa's Transitway).
Again, there is no need to worry, as I am very pleased to see this kind of a discussion - it is discussions like this that ultimately lead to successful cities being built.
Aug 23, 2010, 5:30 PM
To add to my previous post.
Expanded night time transit also has some economic and congestion relief implications, besides improved safety for non-drivers. Many of you may have noticed how many bars are now starting to pay for taxi rides home. That is because expensive taxi fares are starting to eat away at their customer base. Not everyone likes to pay $20 plus for a taxi ride each way, plus pay $5-6 per beer or drink at the bar. However, at the rate taxi fares are increasing due to higher insurance and higher fuel costs, I don't expect bars to be able to afford this for very much longer, and they will inherent start losing customers and shutting down (higher insurance costs are actually being exacerbated by the recent wave of disasters in Canada and around the world, some of which actually had similar proportions to the 2012 movie, like the Pakistan floods, Chile and Haiti quakes and the mass heat waves and associated fires, etc). For Halifax, as it has the most pubs and clubs per capita of any North American city, this has potentially severe economic implications.
Then there is the congestion issue. In recent years, some major employers have proposed standing up full night shifts to mitigate commutor-raleted congestion and also make it easier for those businesses, services and institutions to better serve the public. CFB Halifax proposed staggered shifts for all of its personnel, including ship's crews (during alongside periods) as a way of mitigating parking lot congestion on base and to reduce road congestion in the urban core of Metro, but has been sidelined due to internal politics (but it could also be due to lack of transit at night, as there are a large number of people that work in the base that don't drive). Expanded transit would easily allow major employers to stagger their employees working hours across the day and night, taking advatage of unused road and transit capacity at night and off-load congestion from the daytime. As a matter of fact, a large number of major grocery store chains across Canada are now open 24 hours a day for, at minimum, 5 days a week to allow people to avoid daytime congestion when getting groceries. For instance, I usually do my grocery shopping between 8PM and 1AM (and sometimes around 4AM). Truckers and shippers are already starting to divert their loading operations to nightime hours to reduce peak-hour related congestion issues (and eliminate the "peak" altogether). Not surprsingly, many food suppliers now pull up to unload food orders to ships in the Dockyard before the ships' crews (except those on overnight duty watch) even start their morning commute, placing a large burden on the few crew members that heppen to be duty - I can tell you first hand that overnight duty watches are starting to become a bag drive because of this.
The increased usuage of our unused transportation capacity at night would probably reduce crime as areas of the city that are normally desolate at night (and attractive for crime) would now be more active, reducing criminals's chances of getting away with an offence and not getting caught. As such, I am strongly in favour of expanding transit.
With respect to the transit fleet, I would have it large enough to allow up to 25% of the fleet to be down for maintenance at any time of the day (although it is likely to only be 5-10% at most, the extra safety factor is the allow for cases when Metro Transit has a major incident which does happen once in a while).
I know (from my Mechanical Engineering schooling), in terms of work force sustainability and health, many businesses are now encouraged to plan for having up to 40%-60% of their workforce out of commission due to illnes or any major incident, and when it comes to machinery and vehicles, the ideal safety factor is about 25% (this is an example of proper industrial engineering in action).
When it takes me 2 hours just to go from Stadacona to Sackville just to quickly pick up a freezer and bring it back to Stadacona, when it should have only taken me 1 hour, tops, expanding transit and having businesses, services and institutions stagger their workforces and expand service hours is more than justified in Metro. Just imagine the economic losses that many businesses in Metro are sustaining now due to daytime congestion and lack of night time transit - I guarantee you it's in the hundreds of millions of dollars per day across all of Metro now, given the size of Metro's economy and its growth. I bet the overall economic gains of expanding transit would swamp the costs of implementing it.
Aug 23, 2010, 6:27 PM
My question for 24 hour service would be just how many passengers would there be (potentially) using the service? You mention CFB Halifax and I know there are call centres, hospitals that have night shifts. The bars are a good point on weekends, but how much is there week nights?
My concern for this would be that you might have the population to achieve a break even point on this service for the weekend but there would be a significant cost on other nights.
You could achieve the same goal of having a night service, without a significant increase in the number of transit vehicles if you created a blue light service similar to Toronto. Instead of all routes operating, you would have a limited number of special routes that would cover off the major areas. Remember, if you are going to service the bar crowd there will likely be an issue with policing because I know the blue light buses in Toronto have that issue.
It would be an interesting trial idea - operate it for a year and see how well it works.
Aug 23, 2010, 7:19 PM
I wholly agree that the blue-light-style service is a good way to put in night service in the short term, unless demand really picks up.
However, CFB halifax actually does generate a lot of the congestion on the Peninsula as there are big line-ups coming in and out of Stadacona and Dockyard in the morning and afternoon rush (the base as a whole employs about 10, 000 people, and this does NOT include Shearwater). Considering that a lot of people in the base are expected to show up tow work on sudden notice if there's a major emergency, or heaven forbid, a national/international emergency, this situation needs to be fixed ASAP. Otherwise, Halifax Metro is like a sitting duck waiting to be shot (which will happen soon enough - we were lucky that this did not happen on 9/11).
When it comes to the Punch Bowl Ponds, I am very aware of that issue, and I expect that a bridge would be built over them with a long enough span over each pond to avoid putting the bridge piers inside of the ponds and have it high enough to let sunlight through - to the the tune of the Island Drive Bridge over the Kaministiquia River in Thunder Bay.
Web link to project info (in operation since 2005):
This two-lane bridge cost $12 million to build, which the city managed to fund inspite of dealing with a long-term economic depression that's been ongoing since the early 1990's. A four-lane version would have costed $24 million.
Shorter versions of this could be built over each of the Punch Bowl Ponds (roadway would be on raised embankment in between the ponds). In terms of the interchanges, a half diamond would be built on Old Sambro Rd with another half-diamond on Herring Cove Road with the ramps going only going to the north and to the south respectively. Dentith Rd would be used to carry traffic across the intervening land space between the Old Sambro and Herring Cove interchnages - this is to keep bridge widths to a minimum to maximize sunlight for the pond. Purcells Cove Road should be links by a pitch-fork interchange. The rest of the NWAD interchange would likely have to be built as SPUI's or single-roundabout interchange.
Here an image of the Island Drive Bridge in Thunder Bay - it is the longest integral abutment bridge in Canada:
Aug 23, 2010, 10:24 PM
One option that might be available to move more people onto transit is looking at several TDM measures recommended in a consultants report about enhancing transit.
If transit goes to a system where smart cards could be used; a number of different employers could purchase the smart cards for workers and then sponsor employees to utilize transit.
For example: HRM is a big employer; they could do that for those who work in the central core (if not city wide) and the same with the government. Another way to reduce traffic on Monday's and Friday's is for employers to begin looking at compressed work weeks - so people would work longer days but get a day off every 2 weeks. That's what the City of Calgary does for most office workers; so I get a Friday off every 2 weeks but I work longer (my friday off is this week - thank god).
Aug 24, 2010, 12:43 AM
That kind of a smart card system should be strongly encouraged. Compressed work weeks is another good option. As I was talking through this thread right off the bat, there was always no question in my mind that TDM measures need to be looked at - and there's a whole buffet of methods to choose from. CFB Halifax would benefit from something like this.
I've heard that some businesses down in the US actually saved money by going to compressed work weeks, even when workers still came home with the same amount of money. That could also be combined with staggering to get yet another option that would help flatten out traffic peaks. All the options discussed here are equally good - and there's many more (guys, keep the ideas rolling). It's just a matter of what most people in HRM would prefer - Let's just say, the discussion will be nothing short of interesting once they get hundereds of thousands of HRM commutors to put in their input (it will re-write the definition of "town hall"). I just hope in comes sooner than later because I would not mind moving a chunk of my trips to the buses in the very near future (and ideally, fast ferries too).
It's bad enough that it can take up to 30 minutes to move along outbound Bayers Rd from Windsor St. to the end of the Bi-Hi, which happened yet again earlier this afternoon - I bailed out at Dublin St. and still didn't make it to Access Nova Scotia in time before closing (to update my driver's licence). Taking Route 80 would have been worse in this case, as it was stuck in the traffic jam becuase it is not allowed to bypass it.
The Bayers Road jam leads me to another reason why I really want express buses added to HRM bus system is this: express Buses that only stop at terminals/major points of interest could be allowed to bypass traffic jams by changing to a different road or even go through side streets - which would really help increase ridership on Metro Transit and bolster its credibility as a fast mode of transport.
Aug 24, 2010, 4:17 AM
According to Metro Transit's website; you won't have much longer to wait for the limited stop express buses - it's next week if I read it correctly. I hope it all goes well. I would suggest that they have staff at some of the major terminals to help people out who may not be prepared for the huge route changes.
The compressed work weeks and early start times will depend on the business and business needs. When it comes to government departments that serve the public; it might be a little more difficult to implement. But then again, I work for the City of Calgary and our permit counter staff are all on compressed work week. So it gets a little busy on Fridays and Mondays, but full staffed the rest of the week. So it all would depend on employment levels.
There is a person employed by HRM as a TDM Coordinator (I was tempted to apply for the job, but didn't). So I'd suggest finding out who that is and get an understanding of their thoughts.
I was thinking more about your commons road plans and I'm still a little troubled about some of it. Bell and Trollope offer the hospital easier access for emergency vehicles depending on where they are coming from. By turning the Bell Road access into a right in/out the way you have it configured an ambulance would have to take a detour (depending on where it's coming from) in order to get onto Bell Road - this may add time. Also there are a bunch of buses that go down Bell Road; so you'd end up adding to service costs if they detour.
That being said; I'm not opposed to adding a couple minutes to a trip if it can be shaved off somewhere else. This goes back to the question I posed about bus routes and the one way couplet. I'm not fully opposed to additional time to get around the loop - because if regional rail starts up; one problem will be getting people from there to downtown. So if a lot of routes end up going to the end of the couplet - they will pass the train station (which solves that problem). I would suggest though that not all buses do that - some of the major ones (like the 10 and 1) might have to hang a right at Barrington and then a left at Morris to keep their service times in check. You'd have to do a modeling to be sure it doesn't add huge amounts of service times.
I'd also suggest that you put the parking actually on the left hand side of the one way street, versus the right. The more that the right hand side is clear; the easier it will be for the buses to find a spot to stop at the various stops. I'd also like to see (if possible) some bus bays, even if they are partial ones.
Ideally; I'd suggest no on street parking at all and see if you could actually add another level or two onto the city parkade by Maritime Centre to off set the reduction in street parking - but crank the cost.
Aug 24, 2010, 10:48 PM
The express buses aren't really that big of a change. Basically the routes in the 30s will just become limited stop on the peninsula. Routes will remain the same, they just won't service every stop.
Aug 30, 2010, 5:53 AM
In one of the previous posts in this thread (I'm too tired from driving to go back and find it); I recall someone expressing concern with ring roads and the road acting as a catalyst for sprawl.
I brought up the topic at work and got some very interesting opinions about it and some interesting history on the City of Calgary. It got me thinking about ring roads; especially since I made a trip up to Edmonton to see some old friends in the planning profession and get away from work for my pre-long weekend, long weekend.
As Calgary has grown; Crowchild, Glenmore and Deerfoot (and to some extent Barlow) trails were the main ring roads around the city. So one of my coworkers remembers when the city ended at Glenmore Trail and it was nothing but farm lands south. Since the city has grown, it's extended well passed there and now we have Highway 22x - which now forms part of the ring road around the city (with the exception of the south west section). The new ring road is built in the TUC (Transportation and Utility Corridor); a concept which is repeated in Edmonton.
As both cities have grown - these new ring roads were created in their respective TUC's - but the pattern didn't clue into me until I was in Edmonton. Edmonton is very similar; Whitemud was part of the initial ring road but then the city grew south. Part of the principle reason of the Anthony Hennday (the new TUC ring road around Edmonton) was to service new subdivisions in the south.
As I thought about it more - I realized that in the Alberta context - the ring roads have been a catalyst (either directly or indirectly) to the growth of cities. I know that a ring road for Fort McMurray is in the planning phase and that it was also going to create opportunities for more residential development.
So that got me realizing that - in a way; it might be the same situation if HRM implements this ring road plan however, I think the HRM context may play out much better. Considering the way the road is designed, most of the areas that would be accessed (new raw land) on the Dartmouth side is areas where we are already seeing development proposed or occuring. On the Halifax side, the route either goes through areas already developed or is on the border of Long Lake Park - which will never be developed for anything other than a park.
So I think that HRM can rest assured to a certain degree that the main areas of land directly accessable to the road are either already undergoing development or is designated parkland. It will be the lands on the outside of the main route (Cherrybrook with the 107 extension and near Purcell's cove) that will be potential sprawl areas. So to curb that; I'd suggest that the road be developed as part of a new regional transportation plan and regional plan for the next 25 years. This will give the catalyst to look at minimum subdivision densities for the gross development area - the higher the better (with the focus that at least 40 to 50% of the gross area be focused on high density). That way if sprawl is going to occur; it can be planned out to focus more on high and medium density development. I'd also suggest that wherever possible the road have the ability to have transit lanes or areas for LRT/Train tracks (although since it would likely be a provincial road - I don't know how well that would work).
Sep 2, 2010, 2:21 PM
Yep, it all comes down to a combination of effective transprtation planning and land use planning. Sprawl in HRM should not be a major issue as they have succesfully developed dense, but livable suburbs like Clayton Park, which are mostly 3-4 story apartment buildings with intermittent highrises scattered throughout, with each building having a decent amount of green space around it whilsts having ample parking, plus strips of urban parkland - the comination that led to Clayton Park's success. Soon enough, the Empire 18 IMAX movie theatre will be within walking distance of the southern portion when Washmill Lake Drive is extended under the 102 (construction in progress), which will alleviate traffic on the Lacewood/Chain Lake/102 interchange AND open up a more solid active commutor connection to Bayers Lake Business Park (which will become very popular with Regency Park and Fairview residents), plus better bus service. I would bet this helped motivate the recent renovation at the movie theatre - to accomodate increased patron numbers as a result of the new road link while having improved service and comfort.
Currently, the Blue Mountain sector of HRM south of the low-density subdivision adjacent to Hammond's Plains Road/NS-213, all the way down to the north boundary of BLBP is to become a regional park, which I personally support - it would be nice if they open up some swimming areas on some lakes in Blue Mountian Regional Park for swimming as Kearney Lake is a zoo now.
Sep 2, 2010, 7:21 PM
I would actually disagree (to a point) about Clayton Park being a 'dense' area. There are pockets of density which have developed mainly around the existing Lacewood terminal; but for the most part - the overall density isn't that high. Clayton Park's density has huge potential to go higher (in the level of 8 to 10 storey buildings or higher) kicking the population numbers for the area up hugely.
If TOD is implemented with new regional transit systems; then I think you will see a lot of the older apartment buildings (still in the 4 to 6 storey range) get taken down in a few years and go up big time.
I guess from my perspective - Clayton Park is a typical subdivision that has the token amount of 'high density' to kick the overall density up to probably 20 u/ha range; but I think we can do way better. The city needs (well actually needed a while ago) a TOD policy around the major transit stations to kick up population numbers and employment nodes. Mic Mac Mall, Highfield Park, the Bridge Terminal, Mumford - all have really great potential to be like many other city TOD projects (although Mumford evolved organically and has a good amount of high density around it).
Sep 7, 2010, 2:01 PM
The 4-6 storey buildings are still much better than having a neighbourhood entirely made up of single-detatched houses (like alot of the new suburbs near Stoney Trail in Calgary). To get the same amount of green space per person, you would have to space larger buildings further apart than the current spacing between the 4-6 storey buildings. At least the newer section at Regency Park is emphasing on mixing density with green space. However, yes, I do agree that more 8-10 storey (or even 16-20 storey) buildings could have been built. I have noticed that a couple small older strips of Clayton Park have single-detached houses with large lots that appear to have been built in the 1970's, before urban congestion even became a large enough issue to warrant forced densification of new subdivisions, which as we know, is a major issue now in HRM. Hopefully, they'll plan some of these high-rises near the Larry Uteck Interchange. They managed to put up Gladstone Ridge on the Peninsula, in spite of it having more constrianed road capacity than CP. Seeing that CP has more road capacity, they can use more Gladstone-Ridge-style buildings. However, I would still plan a very limited about of single-detached houses, but they geared for family use, vice single use.
To make proper planning even more viable, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) should restructure its housing price assessment structure and reign in on the real-estate industry to make it more economical (cheaper) to live closer to major employers and business nodes or close to major road and transit nodes, vice the current pricing structure that makes it more economical to live further away and more expensive to live close to work, shopping and entertainment (its currently cheaper to buy a house in Sackville or Eastern Passage than get a condo of equivalent size on the Penninsula, just like Greater Toronto, but on a smaller scale). Basically, house pricing should be structured to reward people for being sustainable, while those who want to do longer commutes pay the price (which would inherently be reflected in their property taxes as these taxes as they are usually assesed as a fixed percentage of the property's assessment value). However, pricing should be allowed to fall off well beyond the suburbs as the negative effects of reduced goods and services causes a natural reduction in demand for buying a house out there. The new pricing structure would effectively resemble a similar profile to a "flood dike" as one heads outward from downtown and/or major employment and business nodes to the wilderness and the farms (the prices would peak at the suburban-rural fringe).
Sep 7, 2010, 5:50 PM
That is an excellent plan in my opinion. The southern Harbour crossing should be a tunnel though, not a bridge. HAZMATs should continue to have to use the Mackay Bridge.
On the peninsula, there should be two interchanges: Marginal Road (rising from the tunnel) and Robie Street (a full interchange, with access to the Point Pleasant area as well). The additional links in the above plan could connect to Robie Street if desired.
On the mainland, interchanges should be at Purcells Cove Road (might require a connecting road), Herring Cove Road, NS-3/St. Margaret's Bay Road and an upgraded interchange at NS-102.
The truck-only route should indeed be 2 lanes, with a speed limit of 60 km/h.
Sep 7, 2010, 11:57 PM
I agree, that a tunnel should be built instead of a bridge as it would be able remain open even when we get a major storm on the scale of Hurricane Juan as tunnels are not susceptible to wind like bridges are, and there are ways of mitigating flooding, ranging from having the portals raised above ground level to pumps and even high-speed fans to pressurize the tunnel enough to overcome storm spray, and provide a continuous supply of fresh air (and be powered by a local back up generator when the grid goes down).
They should design it to allow for dangerous goods, considering that it directly links two land areas zoned for dangerous goods - Halterm and Woodside. I'd rather have DG's take the shortest route than having them wind their way through the city. They would have to use a larger scale version of the smoke-removal ventilation system that the Burj Khalifa in Dubai has for its emergency stairwells, plus design emergency U-turn lanes at regular intervals with crash doors that can be opened by hand.
A dedicated shuttle should be stood up to link active commutor links on either side, seeing that pedestrians are usually kept out of most tunnels due to the potential for a DG crash, regardless of whether or not DG's are banned, even when the ventilation is set up for DG's.
Sep 8, 2010, 2:37 AM
Going back to your comment about CMHC - I doubt that they would get involved in something like this. In my experience; it's rare you would see them getting involved in an effort this big; which is really on a regional planning scale of discussion. The current regional plan will expire in 2027; so it's a ways away and would be prudent to discuss when you are doing the demographic research to see how much population growth is coming for the next 25 years. This way; if it's something more than the existing plan (which topped out around 140k; which is actually going to be exceeded) - say somehow 250k; then you can look at how you balance the growth.
It's one thing to say 90% of all growth will be on the Peninsula; but the fact is there may not be enough places that would work sufficiently to accomodate all that. I'm guessing a balance of 50/50 - 50% within what the existing regional plan calls the regional core (which would be Mainland Halifax, Peninsula, Dartmouth out to the Circ - check the map (http://www.halifax.ca/regionalplanning/documents/Map6_RegionalCentreOpportunitySites.pdf)).
Tunnel would be my prefered suggestion - but I don't think a shuttle would be necessary if you setup transportation links well. Remember; HRM is advertising for a 4th ferry - so there is nothing to say that you couldn't run the woodside ferry at the same frequency as the Alderney one; provided sufficient feeder service was available to feed into the system. Also; the tunnel would create another cross town link into downtown (potentially).
One thing which Calgary is doing for it's elevated portion of the west LRT is using the air rights over the CN line the build the train and station on. So the tracks are at grade and elevated about 4 to 5 storeys up is the LRT track and platform - that way if you have double stacked cars; plenty of clearance. That's something to consider - but be careful not to take up too much of any air rights that would preclude an LRT/rav system.
As to density's in the suburban areas - one thing to remember is the 'downstream' effects. They say that sh*t runs downhill - well; if you plan major densities it has to tie in somewhere and have somewhere to go. That can be simply solved by charging developers extra levies to recoup upfront oversizing of municipal services - but I'd say aiming for a subdivision layout that has 25% low density and at least 50% multi form would be good. I suspect the market will change as more boomers retire - pushing deman more for apartment condos than houses.
One last thing I'd comment on is the route you have for the link from the McKay bridge to the 102. Basically; you are showing a route from the bridge along Joe Howe to the Bi-hi. The route is reasonable; but congested and has the issue of many low density and commercial sites having direct access onto the street. If you want the flow to move faster; you may have to consider how you deal with those access points and the numerous lights as well - you can't make every interesection an interchange; that would cost huge $. Some congestion is okay if in the end; the overall average level ratio remains below 1.0. If it's below 1.0; then it means there is excess capacity for the road to grow - if it's 1.0; the road is at capacity and over 1.0 means over capacity.
Sep 8, 2010, 2:46 AM
One last thing which I forgot to mention about your comment on the CMHC. Condo prices can be influenced through zoning if you set a bonus based zoning code. So if you want to achieve buildings of up to say 20 stories; you set the maximum as of right height extremely low (say 5 stories). Then in order to move beyond that; certain things have to occur (such as a % of the units being reduced in price or public art contributions). That might help towards reducing the cost - but the market forces will ultimately have some influence. I highly doubt you'll get a 240k 2 bedroom condo on the waterfront anytime soon!
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