Vernon-Seymour Local Street Bikeway

The Vernon-Seymour Local Street Bikeway was approved by Halifax Regional Council in May 2018 as part of the Regional Cycling Network outlined in the Integrated Mobility Plan.  The vision is to provide safe, comfortable, convenient routes for people of all-ages-and-abilities to cycle around the city.  The Vernon-Seymour corridor connects into many important destinations including Dalhousie University, the Quinpool Road Business District, and the Windsor Street Bike Lanes. 

Vernon-Seymour is the first example of a local street bikeway to be designated in Halifax!  Implementation of these local street bikeway corridors will (1) help to build the core cycling network, (2) make it easier for people to choose cycling as a mode of transportation, (3) improve road safety, and (4) help attain the mode share targets set out in the Regional Plan.

Current Status:

Phase two changes to Vernon-Seymour-Coburg are now complete!

Project Update: December 2020

A new set of half signals have been installed at the intersection of Vernon Street, Seymour Street, and Coburg Road.  The purpose is to improve the safety of this offset intersection and help people walking, rolling, and cycling create reliable gaps to cross Coburg Road.  When a pedestrian or cyclist wishes to cross, a red light will be triggered for vehicles on Coburg Road.

A new painted crosswalk on the west leg of the intersection has been incorporated into the design.  A centre painted bike lane has been added to better align people cycling for the offset ‘straight’ movement from Vernon onto Seymour and vice versa.  As a result, vehicles on Vernon and Seymour must turn right onto Coburg when they encounter this intersection.

The Vernon and Seymour Street legs remain stop controlled and the half-signal only serves to stop traffic on Coburg.  Cars and bicycles can proceed on any available gap after the stop sign.  A pedestrian push-button is available to trigger the half-signal before crossing Coburg Road.

This is the first location in Halifax where radar detection will be used for bicycles to activate a half signal to create safer gaps to cross a major intersection.

See below for photos of the recent changes as well as instructions on how to use the new intersection.

A photo of the Vernour Seymour street improvements for cycling and pedestrians.
A photo of the Vernour Seymour street improvements for cycling and pedestrians.

How to use this intersection:

People walking and rolling can push the button to request to cross Coburg Road and must wait for the ‘Walk’ signal before moving across the street.  There are now painted crosswalks across all four legs of the intersection.

People cycling can trigger the half signal using a new radar detection system which will stop traffic on Coburg Road.  You do not necessarily have to wait for the signal – both Vernon and Seymour streets are only controlled by a stop sign.  The radar will only trigger the signal after 5-8 seconds.  You can proceed to cross along the bikeway at any available gap if it becomes available.

People driving on Vernon and Seymour streets can no longer turn left onto Coburg Road or proceed straight through this intersection.  Signage and pavement markings will indicate ‘right turn only except bicycles’.  Additionally, when the signal is activated to stop traffic on Coburg Road, there is new signage to indicate ‘no right turn on red’.

This new intersection treatment will continue to be monitored and adjusted as needed.

Project Update: June 2019

New traffic regulations were introduced at the intersection of Vernon and Jubilee for all northbound and southbound vehicles.  ‘No through vehicles except bicycles’ signage and pavement markings were installed (see figures below).  Vehicles cannot go straight, and instead must turn left or right onto Jubilee Rd at this intersection.  Bicycles can proceed straight along the corridor.

These changes were approved by Council in May 2018 to reduce the number of vehicles using Vernon Street.  Fewer vehicles on Vernon will promote a safer, more comfortable environment for walking and cycling.

No through except bicycles sign
Diagram of traffic changes on Vernon Street

Project Overview

Local Street Bikeways are bicycle routes on quiet local and residential streets. The street is modified in a way that lowers vehicle speeds and volumes. This allows people cycling to share the road comfortably with vehicles without the need for designated bicycle lanes.  Special treatments are considered to make it easier for people cycling to cross at major intersections.

In spring 2019, Vernon-Seymour will be transformed into Halifax’s first local street bikeway and become a part of the Regional Centre AAA Cycling Network.

These two streets will receive:

  • Signs and pavement markings to show that the street is a Local Street Bikeway;
  • Traffic diversion measures, where necessary, to discourage through trips or “short-cutting” by motor vehicles;
  • Traffic calming measures, where necessary, to slow down motor vehicles;
  • Intersection improvements to create safe, convenient bicycle crossings of major and minor streets; and,
  • Improvements to the pedestrian realm, including curb extensions.

Phasing

Phase One: Construction of a Local Street Bikeway started on Vernon Street in fall 2018. The segment from Quinpool to Watt Street received:

  • A centre-painted bicycle lane on the Vernon approach to Quinpool Rd to improve visibility and prioritize bicycle movement
  • Sharrows painted along the corridor, including green-backed sharrows through the Quinpool intersection
  • New traffic regulations at Vernon-Jubilee intersection to restrict through movement by vehicles, who must turn left or right onto Jubilee.  Bicycles can proceed straight along the corridor.
  • Curb extensions to reduce crossing distances for people walking and to slow traffic along the street (e.g. at Pepperell, Shirley, Cedar, Jubilee, and Watt St)

Phase Two: This phase was completed in December 2020.  The segment from Watt St to University Ave to include:

  • A centre-painted bicycle lane on both approaches to Coburg Rd to improve visibility, align bicycles better for the offset intersection, and prioritize bicycle movement
  • New traffic regulations at Vernon-Seymour-Coburg intersection to restrict through movement by vehicles, who must turn right onto Coburg.  Bicycles can proceed straight along the Vernon-Seymour corridor
  • A pedestrian/bicyclist actuated half-signal at the intersection of Vernon-Seymour-Coburg with the potential to paint an additional marked crosswalk on the western leg of the intersection.

Project History

December 2020 –

Construction of Phase Two is complete between Watt Street and University Avenue.  The AAA connection has been made between Quinpool Road and University Avenue.  Staff will continue to monitor and make adjustments as required to meet the objectives of a safe, comfortable, convenient local street bikeway.

June 2019 –

Construction of Phase One is complete between Quinpool Road and Watt Street.  Phase Two is anticipated for construction in 2020.

September 2018 –

Detailed design is complete.  Project is tendered for construction of Phase One to be completed in spring 2019.

May 2018 –

Regional Council approves the implementation of the Vernon-Seymour and Allan-Oak Local Street Bikeways.

December 2017 –

Regional Council adopts the Integrated Mobility Plan, which includes the Vernon-Seymour and Allan-Oak Local Street Bikeways as part of the Regional Centre AAA Cycling Network.

November 2017 –

As part of the planning process, public engagement sessions are held to provide information and receive feedback on the concept plans for local street bikeways on Vernon, Seymour, Allan, and Oak Streets. Engagement sessions are held on Nov. 8 and a survey is posted to Shape Your City from Nov. 9-22, 2017. Information from these engagement sessions can be found here

September 2014 -

Regional Council approves Making Connections: 2014-19 Halifax Active Transportation Priorities Plan. There is direction in this plan to establish local street bikeways to support cycling people for a broad range of ages and abilities. Vernon-Seymour is a corridor that is identified as a potential candidate for a local street bikeway.