The traffic circle receives vehicles from five different directions: Chebucto Road and Quinpool Road on the Halifax Peninsula, Herring Cove Road and Joseph Howe Drive, which run along the isthmus of the Halifax Peninsula, and St. Margaret's Bay Road, which travels away from the Halifax Peninsula. It currently handles approximately 60,000 vehicles on weekdays.
The historic intersection predates modern automobile traffic but was designed during the post-war period to handle 5,000-20,000 vehicles. Dramatic urban growth on the Halifax Peninsula and subdivisions off the peninsula since the 1970s has resulted in current traffic levels outstripping the design capacity.
The traffic circle had long been a source of irritation and controversy to its users due to the unusual operation rules: prior to 2005 all vehicles had to "yield and proceed" while entering and while in the circle. This caused confusion for both visitors to the city as well as many locals, and the roads leading up to the traffic circle were often congested for several hundred metres. For many years, the city assigned a commissionaire to patrol the intersection and assist in traffic direction.
In October 2005, municipal and provincial traffic laws were amended in regard to the rules for entering and traversing the traffic circle, making them consistent with worldwide standards for modern roundabouts.
Vehicles that are in the traffic circle now have the right of way and cars entering must yield and wait for an opening. Signs have been erected alerting drivers of the new changes, although there was initially some controversy regarding the new rules, which some say caused additional confusion.
This was clarified in 2006 when the provincial government's Department of Transportation and Public Works noted that the traffic circle was technically neither a rotary nor a roundabout; it was actually "a circular piece of roadway" with specific rules pertaining to its operation.
Reconstruction of the lanes entering the circle began in the summer of 2007 in an effort to improve traffic and pedestrian flow.
The project also included re-aligning some of the roadways feeding the traffic circle, including a controversial additional lane for Chebucto Road which resulted in property loss for a number of residences to provide for a reversible lane extending from the traffic circle.
In popular culture
- A song called "Dreamer" by Halifax musician Jenn Grant mentions the Rotary in geographic relation to Chocolate Lake, a nearby lake. This reference is found in the verse "On a date by a chocolate lake, down by the rotary."
- The Armdale Rotary in 2006 on Google Maps
- Comedic haiku poetry about the Armdale rotary, accompanied by photos