HRM considers tree removal to make room for bike lanes

William Breckinridge has served on several heritage groups and he prides himself on protecting what he calls the historic beauty of Halifax.

Breckinridge is in favour of bike lanes.

"We need safe roads for everybody," said Breckinridge, who added the issue is space. "How do you fit two lanes of traffic for bikes and vehicles?"

Breckinridge said the city grid for some streets is more than 200 years old and there is minimal room to allow expansion and to leave room for a wide sidewalk. Breckinridge is alarmed the Halifax Regional Municipality has tabled some plans that include options to remove mature trees in South End Halifax, to make space for bike lanes by 2023.

"There is a potential here and that is unacceptable," said Breckinridge.

One plan calls for the removal of 64 of 77 trees, including eight mature trees.

"On Morris Street potentially 40-plus trees," said Breckinridge.

Breckinridge said on a stretch of Robie Street, one possible three-pronged plan involves cutting down trees on one side of the street, or the other or even on the boulevard.

"These are 50 to 100 year old trees, or more," said Breckinridge.

These trees according to Breckinridge, add to the beauty and history of the area and in some cases, they enhance property values.

Cyclist Roy Arsenault loves the new bike lanes.

"In 15 years it is best thing I saw in Halifax in 15 years," said Arsenault. "But I would leave the trees."

The HRM in a statement told CTV News, they are currently in the planning process of the Peninsula South Complete Streets Project. The city also confirmed options that they will explore include the impact on trees. They plan to present the issue in future public consultation sessions.