Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 (Halifax, NS) – With the first of two roundabouts on North Park Street opening soon, the Halifax Regional Municipality would like to remind residents of the different ways they can safely travel through roundabouts.
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.
The North Park Intersection Redesign is a two-year project, beginning with the roundabout at Cunard Street, which opens this month. The second roundabout at the intersection of North Park, Cogswell, Rainnie, Trollope and Ahern streets will be built in 2015.
For more information on roundabouts and the North Park Intersection Redesign project, please visit www.halifax.ca.