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North Park Intersection Redesign

The North Park Intersection Redesign is the first major municipal roundabout project of its kind. This is about more than just reconfiguring two intersections — it is a bold approach to a larger civic project that includes many disciplines, departments and goals. Redesigning these two sites allows for significant neighbourhood improvements, including upgraded street, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, including a protected bike lane on Rainnie Drive, and high quality public spaces on the Halifax Common. Click on the headings below to learn more about the various apects of this multi-year project.

Construction of Cogswell Roundabout Cunard Roundabout Tree Management Plan
Construction Closures Roundabout Safety Public Engagement
Changes to Rainnie Drive Community Art Related Municipal Initiatives


Construction of Cogswell Roundabout

After three months of construction, the new Cogswell roundabout near the Halifax North Common is now open to all traffic. Like the Cunard Street intersection, the intersection at Cogswell needed to be upgraded as it no longer met national transportation standards. With five streets feeding into it, the intersection suffered from problematic traffic flow and poor connectivity from street to street.

Cogswell Roundabout Banner
Rendering of Cogswell Roundabout

A roundabout at the Cogswell intersection will help improve safety and street use for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and also reduce delays for all users. The intersection redesign will also include upgraded greenway trails, new entrances to the Common, underground utilities and the installation of concrete curbs, new sidewalks, asphalt and new lighting.

Roundabout at Night

The new Cogswell Roundabout opened to traffic on Aug. 24, 2015.

People travelling through the new intersection are advised to do so slowly and to watch for new traffic signs. Motorists are also reminded that the area remains an active construction site while work continues on the adjacent greenway trail and pedestrian plazas on the Halifax North Common. That work is expected to continue into September. During that time, please drive carefully and keep an eye out for construction workers and heavy equipment, as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

Roundabout 1 Roundabout 2 Roundabout 3

Aerial photographs taken by Skyline Studio at the intersection of North Park/Cogswell/Rainnie/Trolloppe/Ahern on Aug. 5, 2015.

As part of the redesign, the crosswalk at Cornwallis and North Park street will be shortened from 24 metres to a six-metre and seven-metre crossing, with a 3.7-metre pedestrian refuge in between. The crossing will continue to have overhead push-button activated crosswalk lights.

 

Construction Closures

With the Cogswell Roundabout now open, construction is set to begin on the adjacent new pedestrian plazas on the Halifax North Common.

Work will begin Thursday, Aug. 27, and is expected to continue for several weeks. This stage of construction will require the closure of the greenway trail on the Common until further notice.

Pedestrians will be able to use the sidewalk on the east side of North Park Street during the closure. Pedestrians and cyclists travelling through the area are advised to watch for additional closure and detour signage, which can change regularly depending on the work underway.

 

Changes to Rainnie Drive

As part of the intersection redesign, Rainnie Drive is being realigned and permanently converted to a one-way street between Cogswell and Gottingen streets. Vehicles travelling toward the downtown are no longer able to access Rainnie. This change will ensure the roundabout operates more safely and smoothly, simplifying the intersection from six legs to four.

This change also allows for the construction of a two-way protected bicycle lane on the upper part of Rainnie, part of the implementation of the bicycle route network proposed in the Active Transportation Priorities Plan.The tender for this work was issued on Aug. 7.

These bicycle lanes will be part of a convenient route from the greenway trails on the Halifax Common into downtown Halifax and the Spring Garden Road area. The goal is to create a cycling route for people all ages and abilities from the North Common directly to the Central Library, shops on Spring Garden Road, Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus, area employment destinations and more.

The current project scope will see protected bicycle lanes constructed on Rainnie from North Park Street to the current intersection of Gottingen Street. There will be no impact to on-street parking, due to the fact that Rainnie is being converted into a one-way (inbound) street.

There will be public engagement on these proposed cycling routes, as well as the future of Rainnie Drive. This is expected to be held in the fall, after all of the intersection redesign work is complete.

Realigning Rainnie Drive is expected to have the most impact at the intersections of North Park and Cogswell, and Gottingen and Cogswell. Cogswell Street runs roughly parallel to Rainnie, so it will accommodate the majority of the re-routed traffic. That will require additional capacity at the intersection of Gottingen and Cogswell.

Staff members have looked into a number of options and their recommendation is to modify the two northbound lanes on Gottingen, resulting in a left-turn-only lane and a shared lane for traffic travelling straight or turning right. Changes will also be made to create a right turning lane eastbound on Cogswell and signal timings at the intersection will be adjusted accordingly.

These proposed upgrades will enable the intersection to accommodate volumes in the short term (5-10 years) while helping to minimize associated costs. In the longer term, it is expected that additional lane capacity will be required to accommodate additional traffic growth. Any changes affecting Cogswell Street are being considered in the broader context of ongoing planning for the redevelopment of the Cogswell Interchange in the next 10 years.


Cunard Roundabout

The first roundabout at the intersection of North Park, Cunard and Agricola streets in Halifax is now open to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. For more information on roundabouts, check out our frequently asked questions.

Cunard Roundabout Rendering Nov 18 Roundabout Photo

Cunard Roundbout, which opened on Nov. 17, 2014

Roundabout Safety

Whether you’re travelling by car, on foot or by bicycle, below are some helpful tips to follow the rules of the road and keep everyone safe.

Motorists: As drivers approach, they should slow down and yield to pedestrians waiting to cross at the marked crossings. Once clear, drivers should proceed slowly, again yielding, this time to circulating traffic in the roundabout. When a gap is available on the left, drivers enter the roundabout by turning right and then follow the circle until they reach their exit. Remember to signal your intentions to leave the roundabout, so other drivers know there will be an opening. Always remember that traffic travels in one direction in a roundabout — counter-clockwise. Motorists should never turn left into a roundabout.

Pedestrians: Pedestrians will have much shorter zebra crossings than in traditional signalized intersections. These crossings will be at all approaches to the roundabout, about a car length from the yield line. Pedestrians cross only one direction of traffic at a time and have curb-protected refuge islands in between crossings. As with all crosswalks, pedestrians should be alert and cautious when crossing and make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the road. For more information on crosswalk safety, check out the Heads Up Halifax campaign, leading up to Crosswalk Awareness Day on Nov. 5.

Cyclists: Cyclists have two options – ride like a vehicle or walk like a pedestrian. For those comfortable riding in traffic, signal your intentions on the approach and merge into traffic, known as “claiming the lane.” Cyclists must obey all of the same rules for motorists and are advised to watch out for vehicles crossing their path and larger vehicles that may need more space to maneuver. Those less experienced in traffic can leave the road entirely. Simply dismount from your bike at the entries to the sidewalk and walk your bike through the crosswalk or on the sidewalk. If available, cyclists can also use the multi-use paths, like the greenway trail on the Halifax Common.

Visually Impaired: The roundabouts on North Park Street will have bright yellow tactile warning strips on each curb ramp to assist the visually impaired. People also have the option to cross at the zebra crossing at nearby Cornwallis Street, which has overhead push-button activated crosswalk lights. They can also use the greenway trail or the sidewalk on the east side of North Park Street.

Trucks: Just like before, WB-20 and larger trucks will not be able to turn right from Agricola Street onto Cunard. Trucks entering from Agricola should continue around the circle, going a full 360 degrees, and then exit at the Cunard Street West leg of the roundabout.

 

Communty Art

Three entrance plazas will be built on the Halifax Common as part of the North Park Intersection Redesign. Each one will feature a design in concrete, created by artists in collaboration with one of three communities in the neighbourhood: the LGBTQ community, the African Nova Scotian community and the Aboriginal community.

Gateways

The municipality is partnering with the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Center, the Youth Project and LaMeia Reddick of the Black Leaders and Learners Advocacy Collective (BLLAC) to host the conversation within the community about what the artwork will become. A public call for artists and arts facilitators went out earlier this summer and the three successful applicants are:

Raven Davis Raven Davis
Citadel Gateway, representing the local LGBTQ community

Raven Davis is an Aboriginal 2-Spirit, multidisciplinary artist and activist who uses performance, film and traditional Ojibwa drumming and dancing as part of the art.

 

 

 

Marven NelliganMarven Nelligan
Armoury Gateway, representing the local African Nova Scotian community

Marven Nelligan started off drawing portraits, painting murals and airbrushing T-shirts. He then moved on to become a full-time web developer and graphic designer. He resides in the same community where he was raised - Uniacke Square in north-end Halifax.

 

Teresa MarshallTeresa Marshall
Creighton Field Gateway, representing the local Aboriginal community

Teresa Marshall participates in a wide range of art-related activities that focus on issues faced by Native Peoples, with a specific concern for the well-being and celebration of the Mi'kmaq culture. She is originally from the Millbrook area, near Truro.

 



Tree Management Plan

During the construction phases, the public will notice some changes to the landscape of North Park Street/Common area. In particular, some of the trees will be given a second life and dozens more will be planted as part of the neighbourhood renewal and public art components of  the North Park Intersection Redesign project.

Several of the mature trees are Norway Maples that are reaching their life expectancy. These trees are an introduced species from Europe and not recommended for street tree planting because they have weak-limbs, a short lifespan and are susceptible to disease. Those trees will be replaced with ones that are native to this region, like the Sugar Maple.

Four of the largest trees that will come down have been selected to harvest the wood and turn it into custom benches in the new green space that will be created on the Halifax Common. This was a popular idea with residents when it was suggested as an option during the public engagement sessions.

Over the two years of this project, crews will plant 124 new trees and another 30 already in the area will be candidates for transplantation to another area of the Common.

The tree management plan for the North Park project is based on the recommendations of the Urban Forest Master Plan, which Regional Council approved in 2012 to guide new tree planting.  The planting locations for the new trees takes into account the recommendations from the Halifax Common Plan, adopted in 1994, for opening up and framing important views of the two national historic landmarks on North Park Street – the Halifax Armoury and the Halifax Citadel.

 

Public Engagement

Public engagement sessions were held in February and March of 2014 to showcase the draft construction drawings and gather feedback from the public. To view all of the drawings and supporting materials, visit www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca.

 

Related Municipal Initiatives

North Park Street is a popular thoroughfare to downtown Halifax, used by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The street connects neighbourhoods and is surrounded by landmarks including the Emera Oval, the Halifax Common, Citadel High School, the Halifax Armoury and Citadel Hill National Historic Site. With this redesign, the fabric of the neighbourhoods surrounding North Park Street and the Halifax Common is changing. Projects moving this change include the Peninsula Bikeway Network (north/south), Cogswell Interchange, Open Space Plan and the Halifax North Common Plan.