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Old Posted Nov 10, 2020, 9:05 PM
Antigonish Antigonish is offline
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Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
I wonder if this would really be better for Halifax. It may make sense in a big country with many metropolitan areas. But NS is basically rural outside of Halifax so urban concerns are pretty far down the overall provincial priorities. I think part of why Halifax has so many highways and so little transit is that the NS provincial government can build highways serving the whole province, while transit is largely Halifax-specific and so is a tougher sell.
I guess I look at the zoning concept with a province-wide scope albeit metro Halifax might be the biggest focus of that. This province has a number of other areas that are great for growth but there isn't a cohesive effort to centralize those plans. Metro Halifax (I feel) needs that external authority to help pick up the pace; obviously a provincial zoning body would have to work alongside HRM to assure an agreed upon plan but other regions need this too.

Take Antigonish for example: The town has an enormous amount of potential for sustainable growth. It already has a population density of 2,400/sq mile and is very walkable, with adjacent greenfield land to the west/north to integrate but as far as I'm aware the town+county still does not have a unified regional plan and the zoning is completely fucked because of it. You can find suburban development that is directly outside the invisible line of town/county borders and the development isn't cohesive and detrimental to unified growth vs sprawl. Unfortunately the town+county do not have the finances to fund a planning/zoning department, the only guy I knew who worked as a municipal planner here had his job terminated and I think he works consulting for a firm in Dartmouth now to pay the bills. A province-wide department helps this considerably.

People who live there will know more about the reality of construction on the ground but the BRT project looks pretty good and more ambitious than usual.

LRT I think is challenging for Halifax because it's hard to find a single route that serves a large portion of the metropolitan area. I don't think it's a coincidence that the BRT proposal started with a bunch of routes; I think you need a coherent system of many routes in Halifax to have a good system. Maybe one of these routes can be upgraded over time. I could see this happening faster than what currently looks feasible if growth keeps up. I could also see some underground portions of the transit network being attractive. I think Cogswell might be a bit of a missed opportunity if no thought is given to future tunnels.
My only gripe about BRT is that even with signal priority those buses still have to share the roads with vehicles and still prone to congestion. The next problem is marketing. Nobody wants to take the bus in a 50/50 choice scenario, only unless someone does not have a vehicle and has no choice it is improbable to convince more riders to try BRT. Hell, the "rapid" busses themselves aren't even different from standard busses, unless there is some super duper rocket powered new quirky rapid busses I'm unaware of. If we're going to do the BRT thing why not at least pony up the extra cash for trams instead? People will absolutely ride a tram even if it's marginally faster than a rapid bus. They are smooth, sexy, "European", hell I guarantee even Keith P. would ride it even if only a few times for the novelty.

But yeah, tunneling is the biggest financial hurdle to the Dartmouth side. Why not start a phase 1 which goes from downtown -> west end -> wrap the abandoned rail corridor from Bayers Road then up through Dunbrack/Clayton Park with park & ride at Bayers Lake for the exurban commuters? We gotta start somewhere, then zone TOD around that and give developers the green light to chuck their money in knowing they have solidified infrastructure in place that won't move on a whim like BRT routes.
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