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August 4, 2008

You can change the grade

Here is an example of how a switchback sidewalk turns an impossible hill into a useful pedestrian way. The problem is to turn a 12% grade into a wheelchair friendly 8% grade. This configuration uses a wider pedestrian area of 16 feet, but still leaves room for one way traffic and an 8 foot sidewalk on the other side. These proportions are a bit off, but it would work. By way of example, it could be done in the current sidewalk/parking lane on Bishop Street.
Longer switchbacks handle steeper slopes. 28 foot switchbacks can tame a 33% slope and can integrate a stairway. The proposed Sackville Promenade, if done right, could be a signature feature of a pedestrian-friendly Halifax.
Imagine the welcoming prospect of a non-life-threatening route from the waterfront to Spring Garden Road. Kind of a nice alternative for tourists - Government House, The Old Burial Ground, St. Mary's Basilica.

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