Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road Functional Planning Study

Share Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road Functional Planning Study on Facebook Share Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road Functional Planning Study on Twitter Share Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road Functional Planning Study on Linkedin Email Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road Functional Planning Study link


Project Background

Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road are an important gateway and link between communities of Dartmouth and Cole Harbour with the rest of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is estimated that upwards of 40,000 people travel along this corridor every day. This includes use by people driving, buses in mixed traffic, trucks on the designated truck route, as well as people walking/rolling on sidewalks and cycling in mixed traffic.


The context changes along the corridor and has been broken into three segments. Segment 1 (Alderney to Gaston) is most narrow at one lane in each direction surrounded by older homes and businesses directly abutting the sidewalk. Segment 2 (Gaston to Portland Hills Terminal) is the widest with at least two lanes in each direction surrounded by lower-density commercial properties and parking lots. Much of the emphasis on this section is accessing the Circumferential Highway and the area tends to experience congestion at peak hours. Segment 3 (Portland Hills Terminal) also has two lanes in each direction, with fewer cars that generally travel at higher speeds. There are some homes with smaller-scale commercial development on both sides.



What is Happening?

The Halifax Regional Municipality is planning on making incremental changes to Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road from Alderney Drive /Prince Albert Road to Bissett Road over the next few years. A study has been undertaken to develop a future vision for this street that seeks to:

  • Provide high quality transportation options;
  • Improve people-moving capacity;
  • Build Complete Streets and with an emphasis on the pedestrian realm and placemaking;
  • Improve road safety and areas of previous collisions.

This includes considerations like bus rapid transit implementation, wider sidewalks and boulevards, continuous off-road cycling facilities, and intersection improvements to help improve the comfort, convenience, and safety of all road users with a Complete Streets lens.



Why is this Project Happening?

Recent plans and policies emphasize the municipality’s commitment to investing in the Portland Street-Cole Harbour Road corridor as a critical link in our regional transportation network:

  • Portland Street between Alderney Drive and the Portland Hills Terminal is dedicated as a ‘Transit Priority Corridor’ in the municipality’s Integrated Mobility Plan and is proposed to receive bus rapid transit (BRT) service as part of the ‘Red Line’ within the Rapid Transit Strategy.
  • Large sections of the corridor are included in the Active Transportation Priorities Plan as ‘Bikeway Desired (Type TBD)’ as part of a larger connected cycling network in Dartmouth and Cole Harbour;
  • The Integrated Mobility Plan also provides policy direction about managing congestion through providing connected, healthy, affordable, and sustainable transportation options that will help meet our mode share targets and reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicles.
  • The Strategic Road Safety Plan and various safety audits of the corridor have led to recommendations for corridor-wide speed management and specific countermeasures at intersections to address areas of collision history and improve safety for all users.
  • The HalifACT 2050 action plan includes decarbonizing transportation by expanding transit and active transportation infrastructure to help meet more sustainable mode share targets.


There is significant future development potential along the corridor as the municipality grows. Future areas of residential and commercial intensification will be investigated as part of the Suburban Plan process (ongoing); however, this growth will be supportive of a changing multi-modal ‘main street’ that represents the vibrancy of Dartmouth and Cole Harbour.


As such an important corridor, Portland Street-Cole Harbour Road presents both exciting opportunities and challenges for future planning. The project aims to develop future design options and scenarios that balance multimodal demands. This includes improved accommodation of modes that are currently underserved while maintaining adequate operations for those that are served well.


Project History

Functional planning began in fall 2020. The project team completed Existing Conditions Analysis and hosted the first phase of public and stakeholder engagement in April 2021. Materials and a What We Heard Report are available to download in the sidebar.


Shifting municipal staff capacity required project reprioritization that put this functional planning study on pause until fall 2023. Phase two of the project has been initiated with a revised scope and deliverables towards project completion by summer 2024.


This second phase will focus on:

  • Development of conceptual design options for achieving project objectives
  • Travel time modelling and evaluation of trade offs
  • Public and stakeholder engagement before bringing the options to Regional Council


Upcoming Public Engagement Opportunities

Phase Two of public engagement will take place in June 2024. Have your say by participating in one of our public open house events or filling out the online survey. More details are below:


Public Open House #1

Thursday June 13th 2024 from 6 - 8pm

Micmac Aquatic Club (192 Prince Albert Road)


Public Open House #2

Monday, June 17th 2024 from 6 - 8pm

Cole Harbour Place (51 Forest Hills Parkway)


Drop-in style with display boards and breakout tables for themed discussion. There will be opportunity to review two design scenarios and ask questions of HRM staff. A major focus is on evaluation of trade offs. Which scenario best meets project objectives and matches your vision for the future of these streets?


Online Survey

Will be open June 10th through 28th

Hosted on this webpage, scroll to bottom of page once available on the 10th


Survey material will reflect what was presented at the Open House sessions including questions on the concept scenarios, trade offs, and future vision for the street.


Your input matters -- Public feedback will help us better understand the community's preferences and priorities regarding the project. Your participation is vital in shaping the future of our community. Responses will help to refine the concept designs and help move towards a recommended option for consideration of Regional Council


In summary, the Portland Street/Cole Harbour Road Corridor Project is a proactive response to the evolving transportation landscape and community needs. Through collaborative planning and strategic interventions, we aim to create a more accessible, sustainable, and vibrant corridor that enhances the quality of life for all residents and visitors to Dartmouth and Cole Harbour.


Project Background

Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road are an important gateway and link between communities of Dartmouth and Cole Harbour with the rest of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It is estimated that upwards of 40,000 people travel along this corridor every day. This includes use by people driving, buses in mixed traffic, trucks on the designated truck route, as well as people walking/rolling on sidewalks and cycling in mixed traffic.


The context changes along the corridor and has been broken into three segments. Segment 1 (Alderney to Gaston) is most narrow at one lane in each direction surrounded by older homes and businesses directly abutting the sidewalk. Segment 2 (Gaston to Portland Hills Terminal) is the widest with at least two lanes in each direction surrounded by lower-density commercial properties and parking lots. Much of the emphasis on this section is accessing the Circumferential Highway and the area tends to experience congestion at peak hours. Segment 3 (Portland Hills Terminal) also has two lanes in each direction, with fewer cars that generally travel at higher speeds. There are some homes with smaller-scale commercial development on both sides.



What is Happening?

The Halifax Regional Municipality is planning on making incremental changes to Portland Street and Cole Harbour Road from Alderney Drive /Prince Albert Road to Bissett Road over the next few years. A study has been undertaken to develop a future vision for this street that seeks to:

  • Provide high quality transportation options;
  • Improve people-moving capacity;
  • Build Complete Streets and with an emphasis on the pedestrian realm and placemaking;
  • Improve road safety and areas of previous collisions.

This includes considerations like bus rapid transit implementation, wider sidewalks and boulevards, continuous off-road cycling facilities, and intersection improvements to help improve the comfort, convenience, and safety of all road users with a Complete Streets lens.



Why is this Project Happening?

Recent plans and policies emphasize the municipality’s commitment to investing in the Portland Street-Cole Harbour Road corridor as a critical link in our regional transportation network:

  • Portland Street between Alderney Drive and the Portland Hills Terminal is dedicated as a ‘Transit Priority Corridor’ in the municipality’s Integrated Mobility Plan and is proposed to receive bus rapid transit (BRT) service as part of the ‘Red Line’ within the Rapid Transit Strategy.
  • Large sections of the corridor are included in the Active Transportation Priorities Plan as ‘Bikeway Desired (Type TBD)’ as part of a larger connected cycling network in Dartmouth and Cole Harbour;
  • The Integrated Mobility Plan also provides policy direction about managing congestion through providing connected, healthy, affordable, and sustainable transportation options that will help meet our mode share targets and reduce reliance on single occupancy vehicles.
  • The Strategic Road Safety Plan and various safety audits of the corridor have led to recommendations for corridor-wide speed management and specific countermeasures at intersections to address areas of collision history and improve safety for all users.
  • The HalifACT 2050 action plan includes decarbonizing transportation by expanding transit and active transportation infrastructure to help meet more sustainable mode share targets.


There is significant future development potential along the corridor as the municipality grows. Future areas of residential and commercial intensification will be investigated as part of the Suburban Plan process (ongoing); however, this growth will be supportive of a changing multi-modal ‘main street’ that represents the vibrancy of Dartmouth and Cole Harbour.


As such an important corridor, Portland Street-Cole Harbour Road presents both exciting opportunities and challenges for future planning. The project aims to develop future design options and scenarios that balance multimodal demands. This includes improved accommodation of modes that are currently underserved while maintaining adequate operations for those that are served well.


Project History

Functional planning began in fall 2020. The project team completed Existing Conditions Analysis and hosted the first phase of public and stakeholder engagement in April 2021. Materials and a What We Heard Report are available to download in the sidebar.


Shifting municipal staff capacity required project reprioritization that put this functional planning study on pause until fall 2023. Phase two of the project has been initiated with a revised scope and deliverables towards project completion by summer 2024.


This second phase will focus on:

  • Development of conceptual design options for achieving project objectives
  • Travel time modelling and evaluation of trade offs
  • Public and stakeholder engagement before bringing the options to Regional Council


Upcoming Public Engagement Opportunities

Phase Two of public engagement will take place in June 2024. Have your say by participating in one of our public open house events or filling out the online survey. More details are below:


Public Open House #1

Thursday June 13th 2024 from 6 - 8pm

Micmac Aquatic Club (192 Prince Albert Road)


Public Open House #2

Monday, June 17th 2024 from 6 - 8pm

Cole Harbour Place (51 Forest Hills Parkway)


Drop-in style with display boards and breakout tables for themed discussion. There will be opportunity to review two design scenarios and ask questions of HRM staff. A major focus is on evaluation of trade offs. Which scenario best meets project objectives and matches your vision for the future of these streets?


Online Survey

Will be open June 10th through 28th

Hosted on this webpage, scroll to bottom of page once available on the 10th


Survey material will reflect what was presented at the Open House sessions including questions on the concept scenarios, trade offs, and future vision for the street.


Your input matters -- Public feedback will help us better understand the community's preferences and priorities regarding the project. Your participation is vital in shaping the future of our community. Responses will help to refine the concept designs and help move towards a recommended option for consideration of Regional Council


In summary, the Portland Street/Cole Harbour Road Corridor Project is a proactive response to the evolving transportation landscape and community needs. Through collaborative planning and strategic interventions, we aim to create a more accessible, sustainable, and vibrant corridor that enhances the quality of life for all residents and visitors to Dartmouth and Cole Harbour.