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Halifax to widen main streets to help pedestrians, businesses as economy opens

HALIFAX — Atlantic Canada's largest city is planning some changes to help people get around in anticipation of a yet-to-be released plan on reopening Nova Scotia's economy.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says civic spaces, including city streets, will have to be adapted to meet requirements such as physical distancing.

Under the first phase of a new mobility response for streets and spaces, Savage says two major thoroughfares will be modified to assist pedestrians and businesses.

He says sidewalks will be widened on Spring Garden and Quinpool roads to make it easier to move within the city and provide more outdoor space for patio expansions for bars and restaurants.

Jacques Dube, the city's chief administrative officer, says large portions of each street will be widened by removing parking and loading zones.

Traffic signal crossings in pedestrian-heavy areas are also being modified to reduce waits and encourage people to keep moving.

Dube said the changes, which will also see temporary loading spaces added for downtown businesses, will be implemented by the end of this week and will remain in place until further notice.

He said the plan will be expanded in coming weeks to include a number of other streets. There are also discussions about possible street closures to encourage more pedestrian traffic in some business areas, he said.

"It will help some of our main streets and the businesses, particularly in the hospitality area, maximize their revenue when they come back," Savage said. "Secondly, it will contribute to physical distancing and increase the capacity of some of these establishments, which is very important."

Dube said the city recently acquired about $65,000 worth of pylons and barricades to help implement the changes.

He said future measures would also look at what can be done to increase the capacity of the city's bike lanes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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