Halifax Regional Municipality has announced this afternoon that they are entering Phase 1 of a new Mobility Response Plan.
“We continue to plan for the first stage of recovery and have been planning safe ways to reopen our economy for some time now,” Halifax CAO Jacques Dube told the public in a live-streamed video conference.
Dube told the public that one main component of this project was temporarily widening sidewalks on major routes.
“Work on Phase 1 has already begun and will include changes that allow all pedestrians – including those that require accessible considerations – to maintain a safe physical distance while travelling on the streets that connect people to essential destinations and local businesses,” he said.
This includes both sides of Spring Garden Road between South Park and Queen streets, and the north side of Quinpool road between Quingate Place and Monastery Lane. These projects are supposed to be in place by the end of the week.
“Traffic signal crossings in pedestrian-heavy areas are being modified to reduce wait times by encouraging people to keep moving,” Dube said.
These crossings include Quinpool Road, Oxford Street, Robie Street, Joe Howe Drive, Bedford Highway (Bayview Road to Civic #50), Dunbrack Street, Almon Street/Connaught Avenue, Bayers Road (Oxford to Windsor streets), and Young Street.
The city has also spent $65,000 on pylons and barriers to widen sidewalks on Spring Garden and Quinpool, and in other areas as they arise.
“We will continue to identify further adaptations to the transportation network and more information on phase two will be announced in the coming weeks,” said Dube.
Dube says in partnership with Halifax Public Libraries, the city has also installed two portable toilets on the back plaza of the Central Library.
“It’s available to those in need while many public facilities are unavailable during COVID-19,” he said.
Dube says one of the washrooms is accessible, and that HRM plans to continue working to ensure the most vulnerable in society are considered during the pandemic.
“We will be examining other locations as well going forward as well as examining putting in washing stations in and around the downtown,” he said.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage told the public that there would be continuing changes over the coming weeks as COVID-19 recovery phases progress.
“We will implement short, medium and long-term temporary adjustments to the transportation network as part of the collective effort to keep the city moving while working to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said Monday.
Savage said it’s important to allow businesses the option to re-open but to do so safely.
“Precautions will need to be in place for untold months for come,” said the Mayor. “But somehow we must, and will carry on for our own social and financial wellbeing and for the city that we love.”
View the full explanation of Phase 1 of Halifax's Mobility Response on their website.