N.S. news: Bike lane construction sparks concern for garden

Construction is underway in North End Halifax for a new bike lane.

While some residents in the area welcome the addition, there are concerns over what will happen to a community garden. North End resident David Fright said gardeners have been told their plants need to move as construction begins on the Almon Street Bikeway.

“I was actually here late last night just digging up plants, watering the beds, you know, preparing them as much as possible,” said Fright.

He said the Bloomfield garden has been there for more than 15 years.

“I’ve been gardening here for six or seven, and taking care of the garden on my own initiative, my own expense, as has everyone else, and yet we weren’t given any kind of consideration.”

The nearly one-kilometer bikeway will be a combination of a protected bike lane between Windsor and Agricola streets, and improvements to conditions for cyclists, like pavement markings and shared lane signs, between Agricola and Gottingen streets.

“There are many gaps in the network, and Almon Street is one of the most glaring examples of gaps. There aren’t many east-west routes on the peninsula,” said Ben MacLeod with the Halifax Cycling Coalition.

Halifax Regional Council began consultation on the project in 2017, and approved it in February 2022. Initially, the project was supposed to begin last year, but was delayed due to a number of factors, including a longer timeline for the design phase.

It’s an area cyclists have been eager to see transformed.

“We’ve seen some pretty serious traffic jams in Halifax over the past few weeks, and if you give people more options, maybe even if you yourself don’t want to cycle, it’s good to give people those options,” said MacLeod. “Get some people out of their cars.”

Fright said he understands the importance of bike lanes, but is hopeful for a compromise.

N.S. news: Bike lane construction sparks concern for gardenA cut tree in a community garden in Halifax. (Source: Stephanie Tsicos/CTV News Atlantic)

“The garden not only provides benefit to the gardeners and the people who sit in the park itself, but everybody walking by,” said Fright. “It’s just a familiar sight, and a way to mark the seasons, as with the flowering crab apple tree, which has unfortunately been cut down.”

Halifax Regional Municipality said about 12-to-13 trees will be cut down as part of this work, but more than 40 trees will be replanted once construction is complete.

The project is expected to wrap up in October. 

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