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Old Posted Jan 10, 2019, 6:18 AM
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Spring Garden Road Enhancements

This has been through a few rounds but there's some new material here:

https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/...d-enhancements

The latest functional plan has a lot of details about the different possibilities. The ideas include widening sidewalks and adding bumpouts, transit priority lanes, boulevards, and a bunch of other stuff.

The plan area runs from Queen Street to Robie. The block with the library and the Doyle gives a taste for the transformation that the other blocks will eventually undergo.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2019, 2:07 AM
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It looks like they're toying with the idea of turning Spring Garden into a transit mall. This has some potential but there's a strong correlation between transit malls and mediocre retail environments - they need to be thought out really well. Granville Street in Vancouver is an example of a good one, and is pretty similar to Spring Garden in terms of uses and built form. 7th Ave in Calgary is a confusing mess (for visitors, it probably works great once you're used to it) but it's more of a Hollis type street - which seems to be the case for most transit malls in North America. Most of the "successful" American examples have been really good at accommodating transit, OR pedestrians/higher-end retail, but not both.

There's also a strong correlation between the ones that are good at both and the use of electric vehicles. That's something that exists in Vancouver and that could work on Spring Garden, but it would take some upgrades to the transit fleet ($$$) for it to really work well. Gottingen and Barrington seem like they would benefit from an upgrade to electric vehicles as well (really everywhere would, but those three streets in particular)
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2019, 2:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hali87 View Post
Granville Street in Vancouver is an example of a good one, and is pretty similar to Spring Garden in terms of uses and built form.
I liked the Granville overhaul but that street is conspicuously run down compared to other parts of downtown Vancouver. Partly that's because of the sort of businesses there, the old hotels, the panhandlers, etc., but its nature as a transit corridor might have hurt too. The buses attract a lot of people who just want to get somewhere, not necessarily hang out around the stops. They are pretty loud and they displace other forms of traffic.

Spring Garden Road is more like Robson around Thurlow and Bute. They even have significant overlap as far as the exact stores that they have. Robson is very shopping oriented and busy, but has a mix of midrange and upper-midrange stores. One block over, Alberni has some higher end stores that don't have counterparts in Halifax.

It would be unfortunate if there were too much focus on increasing throughput of buses through Spring Garden Road and that disrupted all the good stuff that is happening with urban retail there. It's a bit of a golden goose for the city that in my opinion is under rated. It would be very easy for Halifax not to have any suitable nicer urban shopping area. The city doesn't really seem to be doing much to grow the main SGR strip.

Something like a transit tunnel downtown would take a lot of pressure off of streets like Spring Garden and Barrington. It seems far-fetched today but it's the kind of thing that "doesn't happen until it does"; it would become possible with a small shift in transportation planning in the city. It is not unrealistic economically or technologically.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2019, 1:18 PM
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None of the 3 proposals created by HRM planning are particularly easy to view or understand, but the idea of making it transit-only is absurd. SGR is first and foremost a commercial street and depends in part on the ability of people passing by to see what is happening in the shops. I can see getting rid of on-street parking, and widening the sidewalks except for some loading zones, taxi stands and bus stops, but going much further with that is a sure-fire way to kill the street's commercial activity. The HRM planners seem out of control on this front of late and need to be given a stiff dose of reality. Planning school theories are just that and often do not do well in actual practice.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2019, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
None of the 3 proposals created by HRM planning are particularly easy to view or understand, but the idea of making it transit-only is absurd. SGR is first and foremost a commercial street and depends in part on the ability of people passing by to see what is happening in the shops. I can see getting rid of on-street parking, and widening the sidewalks except for some loading zones, taxi stands and bus stops, but going much further with that is a sure-fire way to kill the street's commercial activity. The HRM planners seem out of control on this front of late and need to be given a stiff dose of reality. Planning school theories are just that and often do not do well in actual practice.
I kind of agree with Keith, to be honest. Option 3 is the best from a design perspective, and I have no problem reducing the flow of traffic (it's just a few blocks, and I would wager more people are on the street on foot than in cars most of the time), but to entirely close it to cars strikes me as unneccessary and not particularly an improvement over a street that simply prioritizes others without excluding vehicles.
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