With the city’s lean budget and short construction season, cyclists in Halifax are used to a few bumps in the road. But as a long-awaited street repair project puts the brakes on an annual bike race, the event organizer says more should be done to keep the asphalt up to snuff.
Tom Beazley says he was disappointed to discover in March that the Criterium would have to be cancelled. The race, which encircles the north side of the Halifax Common, usually draws about 100 cyclists and large spectator crowds in July.
After a lack of funding cancelled the event last year, Beazley says this year private sponsors came through. But the state of the track would have likely put the event on hold.
“Given the road conditions, the way they are now, it would not be the conscious and proper decision to have that race there,” he said.
Asphalt upgrading and sidewalk work on Robie Street, expected to last from May to August, won’t be completed in time to schedule the race. But it’s work that the city approved last year, and Beazley says he’s frustrated it wasn’t done then.
In the case of Robie Street, however, the city’s “being somewhat proactive” about repairs, says HRM’s manager of design and construction services Dave Hubley.
“This road has not failed to the point where it needs a full reconstruction,” Hubley said.
The portion of Cunard Street that is part of the Criterium track is also slated for improvement in this year’s proposed budget, he said.
But Halifax Downtown Coun. Dawn Sloane says putting the race on hold while the city plays catch-up on road repairs is indicative of a disturbing trend.
“Is our priority our downtown? I don’t think that it is, and it should be,” she said.