The municipality is planning walking and cycling enhancements for the Forest Hills Parkway. The road is scheduled for a regular resurfacing in the next two years. When this happens, the municipality proposes making improvements to the infrastructure for walking and cycling.
A public engagement session was held Wednesday, March 1, and feedback was collected in person and via a Shape Your City survey from March 1-March 17, 2017.
What is the Forest Hills Parkway?
The Forest Hills Parkway is a 2.8 kilometre collector road located in the Cole Harbour area of Dartmouth. The parkway was initially constructed as an emergency route, but was transitioned to a public road as Cole Harbour developed. The parkway connects Main Street to Cole Harbour Road and collects traffic from adjacent neighbourhoods. Key destinations on the Forest Hills Parkway include Cole Harbour Place, Cole Harbour High School, playing fields, churches, and the commercial areas at either end.
Currently, the road does not have a cycling facility and the sidewalk is substandard along several sections. As part of the municipality’s Active Transportation Priorities Plan [PDF] and as part of the Regional Plan direction to develop “complete streets,” the municipality is considering how to make walking and cycling on Forest Hills Parkway easier, safer, and more enjoyable.
Options include on-road bike lanes combined with an improved sidewalk or a multi-use pathway, where cyclists and pedestrians share a wider asphalt corridor.
Common questions on the Forest Hills Parkway
Why are you planning changes to the walking and bicycling infrastructure on the Forest Hills Parkway?
The Forest Hills Parkway is identified in the municipality’s Active Transportation Priorities Plan as “Bikeway Desired.” There currently is no bikeway on Forest Hills Parkway and it is a “high stress” environment for cycling due to the speed and volume of motor vehicles. While there is a sidewalk for the entire extent of the parkway, some sections are asphalt and do not meet current standards. This project will consider how to add cycling facilities and how to improve the sidewalks. One of the options being considered is to replace the sidewalks with a multi-use pathway (shared bicycles and pedestrians). The changes are being planned because Forest Hills Parkway is scheduled to be resurfaced in the next couple of years and this presents an opportunity to make walking and cycling enhancements in a cost-effective manner.
What options are being proposed for enhancement?
Concepts proposed for public consideration include:
- painted bike lanes combined with an upgraded sidewalk
- an off-road, multi-use pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians to share (at least three meters wide) with another consideration for putting the multi-use pathway on the other side of the road
Will there be an impact to other users of the road, such as cars or buses?
This project envisions maintaining the same number of vehicle lanes, so there is no anticipated change for motor vehicles. Opportunities for improved transit stops are being explored as part of the project.
Will there be connections with community paths and greenway trails? How will it connect at Main Street and Cole Harbour Road?
This project will consider how to connect with the existing Forest Hills greenway trail network, neighbourhood sidewalks, and bike lanes on Main Street. Connecting destinations such as Cole Harbour Place, Cole Harbour High School, playing fields, commercial areas on either end, and the neighbourhoods on either side of the parkway, are key project factors.
Is this part of the Trans Canada Trail?
Some sections have the potential to become part of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). Segments of the Forest Hills greenway trail network are designated as Trans Canada Trail; however, these currently do not extend to Main Street. The potential multi-use pathway alongside Forest Hills Parkway from Cole Harbour Place to Main Street could provide the TCT connection.
How much will the proposed changes cost?
The cost is unknown at this time. As part of the planning process, a recommended concept for Forest Hills Parkway will be developed and then cost estimates will be provided.