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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Atlantic Provinces > SSP: Local Halifax > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #41  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2008, 8:32 PM
Halifax Hillbilly Halifax Hillbilly is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
The other simple fact which I already mentioned is that Halifax is already the sprawliest city in Canada and most of that sprawl happens to be occurring far North of the city where it is easy to get around and where there are minimal planning restrictions. This is much worse than having new sprawl in Southern Dartmouth, particularly since it's shifting the centre of the whole region away from the urban core.
The reason we have so much sprawl is because we have three highways - 101, 102, 103 for growth to spread out along. As these highways get twinned more growth happens along those corridors - check out Tantallon since the 103 got upgraded.

Sprawl happens because it's easy too move around by car. There is no guarantee this bridge is going to "shift" sprawl into Dartmouth South but it's almost guaranteed it will substantially increase sprawl in all parts of Dartmouth. There's not x amount of sprawl ready to happen in some part of HRM that this bridge will magically shift into a new location, rather it will allow more sprawl in general.

1.1 billion dollars to move cars around. This bridge is about cars - otherwise we would not be talking about 4 or six lanes.
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  #42  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2008, 8:59 PM
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Clayton Park is just about built out, which means this area of Dartmouth is the closest spot for new suburban development. Some parts of Mainland Halifax are also close but don't have the transportation connections and therefore are not growing quickly.

Part of the plan with this is to have more employment growth on the peninsula. To have this happen, bringing in more cars is pretty much a necessity. Transit should be promoted but the reality is that areas that don't accommodate cars aren't going to grow very much and growth will shift to places that do, whether they are inside or outside of HRM's boundaries.

Growth out in places like Tantallon creates a lot of pressure for local retail and office construction. The bridge will effectively bring parts of the city closer to the downtown so commuting becomes more attractive. Overall, having a new suburb of 30,000-40,000 people 10 km (or whatever) closer to the downtown is a major win.

The $1B wouldn't come directly from various levels of government. Most of the cost would come from tolls and the debt would be paid down over a long term as with the other two bridges. I wouldn't be surprised if they were both comparable in terms of cost when adjusted for inflation and (to some degree) the size of the city.
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  #43  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchellirons View Post
The HDBC's plan sounds too much like the Chebucto St widening - a proposal developed with the best intentions, but developed by people whose first interests are not development of proper communities but the facilitation of traffic.
Bingo.
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  #44  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2008, 10:00 PM
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The other simple fact which I already mentioned is that Halifax is already the sprawliest city in Canada and most of that sprawl happens to be occurring far North of the city where it is easy to get around and where there are minimal planning restrictions. This is much worse than having new sprawl in Southern Dartmouth, particularly since it's shifting the centre of the whole region away from the urban core.
The sprawl is starting to shift even Bedford's "core". For 250 years the section of Bedford Highway between Mill Cove and Bedford Place Mall has been the heart of Bedford. Now thanks to insane population boost near Glendale in Sackville (among other areas) we're losing businesses going even further north. A lot of Bedford citizens are sick of this and want their town back. The bridge like someone123 said will hopefully shift the development closer to Halifax and as long as we have our ferry by then we will welcome the new bridge. I work in Sunnyside Mall and i've seen with my own eyes probably half or more of our profesionals leave the mall and two stores have closed since the December rush*. Lawton's is currently building a store on the waterfront but if its still in the heart i welcome it. Canadian Tire is building at the Bedford Commons (this "power centre" is up at Glendale at the very end of Bedford) increasing the likliehood they'll leave Sunnyside. We aren't the only mall feeling the shift northwards though Downsview and Bedford Place are in the same boat as us. The closer sprawl is to downtown the better so Southern Dartmouth is better then Sackville/Fall River/Waverly.

*Update: Sunnyside has lost two stores and a third is one the way out.

Last edited by Dmajackson; Apr 1, 2008 at 8:39 PM.
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  #45  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 12:54 AM
terrynorthend terrynorthend is offline
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Originally Posted by mitchellirons View Post
I'm of the opinion that peninsular Halifax needs more **people** living and working on it as opposed to more people driving in to work there. The HDBC's plan sounds too much like the Chebucto St widening - a proposal developed with the best intentions, but developed by people whose first interests are not development of proper communities but the facilitation of traffic.
We keep talking about adding density to the peninsula, either living OR working OR living and working, as an alternative to creating more access points that would be needed for 'sprawl'.

People who live and/or work on the peninsula will not spend there lives there. They will want to leave from time to time. They will want to get in their cars and drive out to Dartmouth and shop, or to the countryside to have a picnic or visit grandma. They will increase demand for access from the peninsula AND create a need for more parking ON the peninsula. Just as growth in the suburbs will create more demand for access to the peninsula.

I just can't see a way around it. Growth equals more people which equals more traffic. Whether it is going to the peninsula or coming from it.

As for the Chebucto road corridor..come on. Its a major through-fare and one of just a few access points to the peninsula..and has been for years..
Simpons had a major operation there since early last century, there has been a major shopping centre there for 50 years. There used to be an airport out there for crying out loud. Its hardly a sleepy community that suddenly one day, out of the blue, had an expressway dropped in their front yards. It can't be unexpected by anyone who lives there. And lets be clear... THERE is one short stretch of Chebucto Road..between Mumford and the roundabout, a pinch point on a busy boulevard. That area of town has some of the best community plans in HRM, those old airport lands. Good communities need access too.
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  #46  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 1:53 AM
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One must ask the effect of building the other two bridges had on the city. Yes, it did cause Dartmouth to sprawl out. However, it did provide a lot of opportunities for the city to grow. Burnside as it exists today(employing 15,000 people) would not be in existence if it was not for the bridges. Overall building these bridges was great for the city as a whole and I believe building a third bridge will do the same.

Also remember that a lot of this traffic will also be trucking and business related as well. Which will keep tractor trailers off the downtown streets.
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  #47  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 3:18 AM
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The Chebucto Road "widening" is a classic example of a sensible traffic improvement blown way out of proportion. They're installing reversing lanes like on Herring Cove Rd that require modifications around Mumford. The budget's something like $1.7M and only a handful of houses are affected, apparently with one being demolished.

Based on the media coverage you'd think the project called for a 10 lane freeway cutting the peninsula in half. Most of the hysteria comes from people who have no clue what this project actually is. Once it's completed people will simply forget about it like they've forgotten about dozens of similar projects around the city that were supposedly going to bring about the end of the world.

Transit's important, yes, but the city's growing and it is totally unrealistic to expect 100% of the new trips to be on buses and ferries. The key is for the city to adopt a balanced approach. Carving the city up too much is destructive but a total moratorium on new road construction would cause a lot of harm to the city's economy and development.
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  #48  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 6:48 AM
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Originally Posted by skyscraper_1 View Post
One must ask the effect of building the other two bridges had on the city. Yes, it did cause Dartmouth to sprawl out. However, it did provide a lot of opportunities for the city to grow. Burnside as it exists today(employing 15,000 people) would not be in existence if it was not for the bridges. Overall building these bridges was great for the city as a whole and I believe building a third bridge will do the same.

Also remember that a lot of this traffic will also be trucking and business related as well. Which will keep tractor trailers off the downtown streets.
Bit of a tangent. If we're going to spend a billion bucks why not just relocate the container port. That would get the trucks off the downtown streets and open a truly massive piece of very valuable land for more intense development. The more time I have spent thinking about the truck problem in downtown Halifax the more I find myself increasingly of the view that the port (except the cruise ships) is in the wrong place and should be moved. Only difficulty is where does it go? The harbour shore in Woodside isn't particularly well-used so that's a possibility but the position of McNab's Island would probably make things difficult. Still there is a rail line already along that side of the harbour and trucks would have the advantage of having access to the Circumferential instead of having to work their way through congested downtown streets. There is also land that could be used to the North of Shannon Park near Ocean Breeze Estates and BIO but I don't know about the depth of the Basin there or whether it would hurt the port to lose docks that large ships can come into without having to go under the bridges. Still BIO would be nice as it has rail and highway connections already in place and is right next to Burnside where a good chunk of the local truck traffic is going anyway.
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  #49  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Bit of a tangent. If we're going to spend a billion bucks why not just relocate the container port. That would get the trucks off the downtown streets and open a truly massive piece of very valuable land for more intense development. The more time I have spent thinking about the truck problem in downtown Halifax the more I find myself increasingly of the view that the port (except the cruise ships) is in the wrong place and should be moved. Only difficulty is where does it go? The harbour shore in Woodside isn't particularly well-used so that's a possibility but the position of McNab's Island would probably make things difficult. Still there is a rail line already along that side of the harbour and trucks would have the advantage of having access to the Circumferential instead of having to work their way through congested downtown streets. There is also land that could be used to the North of Shannon Park near Ocean Breeze Estates and BIO but I don't know about the depth of the Basin there or whether it would hurt the port to lose docks that large ships can come into without having to go under the bridges. Still BIO would be nice as it has rail and highway connections already in place and is right next to Burnside where a good chunk of the local truck traffic is going anyway.
Good idea. I posted the same thing here:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=145198

No charge for the idea, I give it to you freely.

One point though: as has been stated, the bridge isn't funded from tax dollars. It is financed on the bond market and repaid through toll revenue.
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  #50  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 6:26 PM
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The closer sprawl is to downtown the better so Southern Dartmouth is better then Sackville/Fall River/Waverly.
This bridge is not going to slow sprawl in those areas, but it will allow growth to push farther to the east in Dartmouth. There are already highway corridors to grow along in Sackville, Fall River, Waverly, Tantallon, Timberlea etc. that will continue to develop.

Adding more roads will increase sprawl - I'm pretty sure that's one thing we have learned in the past 50 years. This bridge will allow more people to live farther from downtown and commute longer distances. Some of you are arguing this is ok, that's what people want. Well I don't agree with this sentiment I see your point.

However the argument that this bridge will help Halifax become a less sprawled out city because it will shift the development away from currently sprawling areas to Dartmouth South disregards the patterns we've seen with new highway projects in the past. Where did residential development go after the MacKay Bridge opened? Sackville. This bridge will simply create more opportunities for low density, car dependent development in eastern areas of Dartmouth, not necessarily at the foot of the bridge in Dartmouth South.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 6:28 PM
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One point though: as has been stated, the bridge isn't funded from tax dollars. It is financed on the bond market and repaid through toll revenue.
This is what worries me - there is a financing option that might actually make this happen.
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  #52  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 6:38 PM
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Sprawl to the North will continue but it is a supply/demand driven process. If there are two competing areas where new construction is viable, the Northern suburbs will capture less of the new development.

The MacKay didn't promote growth near the foot of the bridge because this area was already built out and Burnside was planned as an industrial area, while to the North of that are DND lands. Sackville was also promoted as a new growth area by the government in the 1970s.

As far as I know, most of the empty land between Cole Harbour and Dartmouth is suitable for development.

The argument that roads create sprawl is overly simplified and doesn't capture what's really going on. Halifax is simply a bigger city than it used to be. Being a bigger city implies more land and more buildings. The amount of sprawl in a city should be considered in terms of ratio and proportion - i.e. amount of land used per resident (as a counterexample, suppose we compare Tokyo to Halifax.. is it sprawlier because it covers more land?). Building a new bridge does not necessarily cause this to go up when it's built in a growing city.

The congestion arguments ("if you build more roads they just get congested and we're back to square one!") are also bogus since they ignore the whole point, which is increased capacity. Expanded roads allow more people to move around at roughly the same speed, which is exactly what is needed in a city where the population is growing. In Halifax the aim is to keep congestion roughly equal to what it is now while absorbing further increases in traffic through a combination of road projects and transit.
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 9:16 PM
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The argument that roads create sprawl is overly simplified and doesn't capture what's really going on. Halifax is simply a bigger city than it used to be. Being a bigger city implies more land and more buildings. The amount of sprawl in a city should be considered in terms of ratio and proportion - i.e. amount of land used per resident (as a counterexample, suppose we compare Tokyo to Halifax.. is it sprawlier because it covers more land?). Building a new bridge does not necessarily cause this to go up when it's built in a growing city.

The congestion arguments ("if you build more roads they just get congested and we're back to square one!") are also bogus since they ignore the whole point, which is increased capacity. Expanded roads allow more people to move around at roughly the same speed, which is exactly what is needed in a city where the population is growing. In Halifax the aim is to keep congestion roughly equal to what it is now while absorbing further increases in traffic through a combination of road projects and transit.
It isn't a simple supply/demand equation suggesting Halifax has x amount of new suburban sprawl that must be built in it's future if there is x amount of growth. The transportation choices available are extremely important to what type of development you get - as you build roads and make it easier for people to commute a higher percentage of development will be in lower density, sprawl forms.

Similarly there isn't x amount of car trips that must happen if we have x amount of growth. The transportation choices you give people influence how many trips they take, how far those trips are, and what mode they will take. As you make it easier to drive people will chose to drive more. In some cases they are forced to drive more because the urban form changes and walking or public transit is no longer a viable choice.

Increased capacity should not be the only goal. Change peoples trip patterns so people need to make fewer trips, or take more of those trips via transit or walking. That requires us to build different types of communities and building this bridge will make it less likely those types of communities get built.
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  #54  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 9:48 PM
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Right now Halifax is 90% built around the car. A reasonable goal in the medium term might be to get that down to 75%. Suddenly stopping transportation projects designed mostly to move cars around in a growing city where the vast majority rely on cars is not reasonable. There are no viable proposals on the table for transit that will move people around the city in a comparable way and the built density in 90% of the city pretty much totally precludes that. Maybe you could get people from Clayton Park to work downtown but what if they want to get to the rest of the city?

Putting the brakes on all transportation projects designed primarily around cars might be nice theoretically but it would be horrible for the city's economy. Halifax's economy is doing fine at the moment but Halifax and NS in general are historically both places that are very easy to scare business away from. I think the city's already paying an very high penalty for all of its mismanagement and hostility towards change.
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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2008, 10:25 PM
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I don't necessairily want Bedford to stop growing i just want us to be able to play catch up. At the moment we have basically no representation in council and we barely have any control over what happens here. If the bridge slows growth by creating competition then we might be able to catch up. Right now Bedford is a town of 20'000 people with the infastrucutre of a town of 6'000 people.
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  #56  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2008, 1:15 AM
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Right now Bedford is a town of 20'000 people with the infastrucutre of a town of 6'000 people.
Extrapolate those numbers and the rest of HRM suffers from the same malady.
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  #57  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2008, 4:24 AM
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Right now Halifax is 90% built around the car. A reasonable goal in the medium term might be to get that down to 75%. Suddenly stopping transportation projects designed mostly to move cars around in a growing city where the vast majority rely on cars is not reasonable.
This bridge is a 6-lane proposal. Currently there are seven lanes crossing the harbour. That would be an 85% increase in capacity across the harbour, in one shot. I don't believe increasing the capacity mostly for ONE mode of transportation over the harbour by 85% is anything near a balanced approach, nor is it reasonable. Building projects like this simply reinforces the auto-dependent development form we already have.

Quote:
There are no viable proposals on the table for transit that will move people around the city in a comparable way and the built density in 90% of the city pretty much totally precludes that. Maybe you could get people from Clayton Park to work downtown but what if they want to get to the rest of the city?
No there aren't any transit plans that can move as many people as cars anytime soon. However there are some projects on the table that provide attractive alternatives that I'm sure people would definetly use. The Link bus is really a fairly modest service but has higher ridership than expected and has taken cars off the road. Here's some ideas that we could implement at a fraction of the cost of a bridge:

Bedford Fast Ferry - $30 million
Eastern passage fast ferry + free park and ride
Shannon Park fast ferry + free park and ride
Increased ferry service to Woodside
Link bus on Main Street Dartmouth

There will always be people who need to drive or choose to but when we're designing a transportation system we don't have to make the assumption that everyone wants to or should drive. At the very least we should try transit projects that can alleviate the need for a third bridge before deciding a bridge is an absolute necessity.

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Putting the brakes on all transportation projects designed primarily around cars might be nice theoretically but it would be horrible for the city's economy. Halifax's economy is doing fine at the moment but Halifax and NS in general are historically both places that are very easy to scare business away from. I think the city's already paying an very high penalty for all of its mismanagement and hostility towards change.
I take as my starting point that we have OVER invested in roads at the expense of almost every other mode in previous decades. Our transportation mentality has become simply increase mobility - move as many people as possible (usually in cars) as fast as possible. There is almost no emphasis what so ever on creating places where people can make shorter, more convenient trips. Lip service is given to transit. Our entire system is designed around commutes at peak times, ignoring that the vast majority of our road capacity is uneeded at other times.

If we are indeed worried about the economic consequences of congestion and poor accessibility we have means other than road-construction to battle congestion. If we are discussing massive investment in road infrastructure (and I have no word other than massive to describe a six lane, $1.1 billion bridge) than I think everyone should be clear on the dramatic consequences that this would have on the settlement pattern and travel patterns in this city. If you believe economic growth and increased mobility can justify those consequences than I will agree to disagree. However I can't accept the argument that this bridge is a necessity, or that choosing this bridge would be anything less than accepting and reinforcing our current automobile dominated transportation system.
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  #58  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Halifax Hillbilly View Post
This bridge is a 6-lane proposal. Currently there are seven lanes crossing the harbour. That would be an 85% increase in capacity across the harbour, in one shot.
Two fo those lanes are dedicated to transit, so it's really just 4 lanes.

Quote:
Here's some ideas that we could implement at a fraction of the cost of a bridge:

Bedford Fast Ferry - $30 million
Eastern passage fast ferry + free park and ride
Shannon Park fast ferry + free park and ride
Increased ferry service to Woodside
Link bus on Main Street Dartmouth
The bridge project precludes none of these. As was stated, any bridge project would not be paid for out of tax dollars. There is nothing about it that would prevent these projects from taking place.

Quote:
However I can't accept the argument that this bridge is a necessity, or that choosing this bridge would be anything less than accepting and reinforcing our current automobile dominated transportation system.
I really think you are missing the point. Think about the projected growth of HRM and where the poplulation will need to go in 10-15 years time. If you want the majority to all settle north and west of the city, then continue as we are and add infrastructure to those areas. This would shift that to south Dartmouth and provide a much more balanced settlement pattern, and more importantly, allow commercial traffic to escape the south end of the peninsula.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 19, 2008, 9:15 PM
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As huge of a public transit supporter as I am, and despite my desire to remove as many cars off of the road system as possible, I also realize a third bridge is a necessity, whether now or in the near future.
6 lane bridge, 2 lanes dedicated to mass transit with the option in the future to lay rails across the bridge for light rail, which I'm still a huge supporter of.
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  #60  
Old Posted May 13, 2008, 5:31 AM
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Halifax Hillbilly, I hear ya man. But why a third bridge? Why not get rid of the Angus, and build the 1.1b monster in the south? It's crazy, but think of the waterfront land it would open up, and the communities it would reconnect.

Just an idea.

The Angus was fine when it was the only bridge, even when the MacKay was built it made sense, but any talk of a third off the other end of the circumferential, and it makes it redundant. The circ would just continue on as Joey planned it would, and then you'd have you're core. The ferries would move along DTD, to DTH, so why have a small bridge in the middle? I don't see the point, unless you say something about commute times, and then I just turn off.
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