Friends of Schmidtville call on public to protect Morris Street trees
HALIFAX, NS – A group of residents in a neighborhood in south Halifax are concerned that the municipality cannot see the forest for the trees when it comes to green initiatives where they live.
On Tuesday, the Friends of Schmidtville gathered to display posters and speak to the media about a proposal to develop a bike path along Morris Street, which may require the removal of several distinctive elms and hardwood maples from the area. .
that of the city infrastructure improvement plan to University Avenue and its extension onto Morris Street is part of a “complete streets” approach to ensure that everyone can get around the south end, for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists and those who use public transit.
According to the plan, an all ages and abilities (AAA) cycling connection along the University and Morris would link the Halifax Urban Greenway to Lower Water Street, as well as to the University’s campuses and hospitals. Dalhousie along the way.
The Friends of Schmidtville, who live in the Heritage conservation district contained by Clyde, Queen, Morris and South Park Streets, say they support cycle paths in Halifax, but fear the city may decide on an option that calls for the removal of many curbside trees between South Park and Queen.
“This is historic Schmidtville, and the trees add a lot of character,” resident Karen Mitchell said at Tuesday’s meeting. “They add ambiance to walking on sidewalks, and in this age of fighting climate change, chopping down mature trees is the last thing we should be doing.
“There must be other areas that you can look at to create cycle paths.”
Halifax Public Affairs Advisor Brynn Budden said the municipality is still in the development stage of the project, with a number of different concepts underway that will be shared with the public for comment later this year or in early 2022.
“Some of these concepts would impact trees and some wouldn’t,” Budden said in an email. “Other implications of the concepts include potential changes to parking, curbside loading, traffic lanes and intersections. “
Larry Haiven, a longtime Schmidtville resident, said he didn’t see how major infrastructure changes could be made to the sidewalks and road surface of Morris Street without sacrificing trees along the way .
“It’s a pretty narrow street and very, very busy, and we don’t know exactly why they want to do this, but we assume they want to widen the street and remove these shoulders that I’m standing on,” he said. .
“That would mean they would cut down up to 48 trees between South Park and Lower Water Street. It’s absolutely ridiculous, how can you green a city by cutting down trees? “
District Seven Councilor Waye Mason said fears that many trees might fall by the wayside are unfounded and that a bike path could be put in place by removing only two or three trees, while that new ones could also be planted further along Morris between Queen Streets and Lower Water.
But he notes that other area residents have also objected to east-west cycle lanes on Morris or Clyde Streets, as it could mean the loss of curbside parking as well.
“It is not fair to cycling or the community at large not to include an option for” This is all it takes to make bike lanes, two lanes of traffic, keep the parking lot “and cut down lots of trees, ”Mason said in an email. “It was one of six options. It is fair and appropriate to show all options to the public.
Mason also said the suggestion that a narrower cycle path one way on Morris Street and another one the other way on South Street would not work because the steep grade on South does not meet the definition of a connection. AAA cycling.
“We need to have a good rational debate, and we need a bike path that people will actually use,” Mason said.
More information on the University Avenue / Morris Street / Robie Street portion of the Halifax Integrated Mobility Plan is available at www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/peninsula-south-complete-streets.