To Whom It May Concern:
Oct 7 2017
Re: The Halifax Region Mainstreets Plan
The Spryfield Community Association is pleased to write this letter in support of Our HRM Alliance’s “Halifax Region Main Streets Plan” Position Statement of August 24, 2017 regarding the urgent need for planning activities for suburban and rural communities. We generally support the position statement in the context of our comments that follow.
- Spryfield and area is growing quickly and the community’s vision and infrastructure needs have not kept pace with development. Large scale housing developments continue to be identified and added and yet the overall community infrastructure remains largely unchanged. Lack of efficient and community friendly connectivity in each of the basic modes of transportation chokes our potential to be the great community we envision. Examples are as follows:
- We have a 4 lane highway right through our community – Though some money has been invested in sidewalk upgrades, Herring Cove Road is not pedestrian friendly and there have been multiple pedestrian accidents.
- We have a high degree of transit ridership, yet our primary route into downtown via Herring Cove Rd lacks a priority transit lane, creating a deterrent to public transport. For those with no choices but use public transit, this is a significant quality of life issue.
- We are under 10 km from downtown Halifax and are therefore about a 30 minute bicycle ride from our primary workplaces. To commute by bicycle is to use a mode of transport that is on many days the most efficient and has added health, environmental and economic benefits for the community and the rider. And yet we have no bike safety infrastructure to connect the Spryfield to downtown; there are no lanes through Spryfield or the Northwest Arm Drive or on any of the arteries leading to downtown on the opposite side of the rotary. We had a bicycling fatality at Herring Cove Road and Purcell’s Cove Road two years ago and other incidents have occurred since.
- Even those with the luxury of the choice of a car do not have an efficient route into downtown with the traffic back up on Herring Cove and Purcell’s Cove Road during morning rush hours. More residents and cars are added every year with no certain solution in sight and as outlined above, no good alternatives.
- We believe the time to act for Spryfield is now. With the support and vision of many individuals and organizations in our network, our community is already mobilized to advocate for and advance a number of the planning ideas referenced in the position statement. We cannot afford to wait for further development without the context of an up to date plan and vision for our neighbourhood. Case in point is the recent and welcome announcement for a new JL Isley High School. How will each of the sites under consideration by the Province impact our community? Will they add or detract from pedestrianism, transit, our business Centre and the heart of our community, the Captain William Spry Centre? We need to think through these elements now, as a community and with HRM staff and councilors and support the best possible decision by the Province for our neighbourhood.
- We are a community with a high degree of commitment and engagement by residents and businesses; we have the capacity and interest in being an immediate single area pilot for a proposed suburban planning exercise and that is our request.
- If a pilot planning/visioning project using our community is not possible, we urge that:
- the Suburban plan is prioritized ahead of a rural plan
- the timeline for the development of such suburban plan is limited to 2 years; and
- such a planning exercise is not cause to impede the advancement of community initiatives in the meantime, as long as they make good sense and are in alignment with Halifax’s existing planning framework.
We appreciate your engagement with our Association and look forward to remaining connected with this discussion.
Chair Planning & Infrastructure Committee
Spryfield Community Association