Temporary Downtown Public Space Changes

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
Aerial view of downtown area next to river

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the temporary downtown public space changes that were put in place between June and October 2020 as part of the public health measures during the pandemic. We received 1,492 response to the survey - and many of the respondents took time to provide comments to inform the review of last year's changes and the recommendations for this spring/summer.

With the tight spacing that’s typical in a downtown area, the normal use of sidewalk space for patios, and new limitations on the number of patrons allowed inside stores and restaurants, the City made changes to the public space to support physical distancing and business activity. The changes were made in consultation with Peterborough Public Health and the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area.

The downtown public space changes last year included reducing the number of vehicle lanes, creating two temporary one-way streets, and removing some on-street parking in certain sections of the downtown. By making these changes, we were able to create space to expand business areas and pedestrian spaces.

As part of the planning for last year’s public space changes to support public health measures, we considered a number of priorities – sometimes competing priorities – such as:

Vehicular traffic

Pedestrian traffic

Cycling

Business activity (i.e. patios)

Parking (e.g. on-street parking, curbside pickup parking availability, commercial deliveries)

Accessibility was an overarching priority that was considered as part of the overall planning.

A report went to City Council at its Special General Committee meeting on March 29, 2021 to detail the findings from the experience last year as well as to consider steps if public health measures are needed in the downtown this year to support physical distancing for the safety of the community and business activity. The recommendations go to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 6 for ratification.

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the temporary downtown public space changes that were put in place between June and October 2020 as part of the public health measures during the pandemic. We received 1,492 response to the survey - and many of the respondents took time to provide comments to inform the review of last year's changes and the recommendations for this spring/summer.

With the tight spacing that’s typical in a downtown area, the normal use of sidewalk space for patios, and new limitations on the number of patrons allowed inside stores and restaurants, the City made changes to the public space to support physical distancing and business activity. The changes were made in consultation with Peterborough Public Health and the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area.

The downtown public space changes last year included reducing the number of vehicle lanes, creating two temporary one-way streets, and removing some on-street parking in certain sections of the downtown. By making these changes, we were able to create space to expand business areas and pedestrian spaces.

As part of the planning for last year’s public space changes to support public health measures, we considered a number of priorities – sometimes competing priorities – such as:

Vehicular traffic

Pedestrian traffic

Cycling

Business activity (i.e. patios)

Parking (e.g. on-street parking, curbside pickup parking availability, commercial deliveries)

Accessibility was an overarching priority that was considered as part of the overall planning.

A report went to City Council at its Special General Committee meeting on March 29, 2021 to detail the findings from the experience last year as well as to consider steps if public health measures are needed in the downtown this year to support physical distancing for the safety of the community and business activity. The recommendations go to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 6 for ratification.

  • Recommendations for 2021

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    City Council will consider recommended temporary changes to the downtown public space to support public health measures and outdoor business activity, including patios, through the spring and summer months, during a Special General Committee meeting on Monday, March 29, 2021.

    Based on the review of last year’s temporary changes to the downtown public space and feedback from the community, several changes have been made to this year’s recommended plan. Public health remains the overarching priority while supporting business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The proposal includes upgrading the bollards/delineators to improve the look of the changes, the feeling of safety in the dividers between traffic lanes and pedestrian spaces, and accessibility by more clearly separating the spaces. The City is considering the use of portable flower planter boxes and fencing.

    Peterborough Public Health has provided guidance to assist the City and downtown businesses with planning for the various uses of the downtown public space during the spring and summer months. Among its guidance, Peterborough Public Health encourages the wearing of face coverings outside when physical distancing may be challenging, such as on downtown sidewalks.

    Implementation is expected in May, pending Council approval.

    George and Water streets

    For this year, the City is recommending maintaining two lanes of vehicular traffic on George and Water streets with extended patio areas being designed in adjacent on-street parking spaces through a permitting process, similar to the regular permit process for patios.

    Sidewalks on George and Water streets would remain designated for pedestrian use.

    The modifications to the parking lanes will be focused in front of businesses that seek a permit to use the space for expanded patio/display space. Rather than a “one-size fits all approach”, the City will assist with a more customized design of the space. This approach will reduce the number of areas where parking/pick up/drop off spaces are impacted for other uses. Roadway space will be used to accommodate vehicle and cycling modes of travel.

    Hunter Street

    The layout would be similar to the temporary changes that were made last year to allow for expanded patios to use the available sidewalk space. Vehicular traffic will be one lane, one-way traffic in the westbound direction.

    Based on feedback on last year’s changes, it is proposed that there will be upgraded treatment to separate the pedestrian space from the traffic lane, including portable planters and temporary fencing.

    Charlotte Street

    Similar to last year, Charlotte Street would be changed to one lane of vehicular traffic in the eastbound direction. Based on feedback, sidewalks would be maintained for pedestrian traffic this year with patio/business space shifting into the current on-street parking lanes and a portion of the former westbound traffic lane.

    Public consultation

    A public survey was conducted in February to allow for broad input on the changes implemented in 2020. Among the survey results:

    • 1,492 responses were received
    • 61.3% of respondents agreed that the changes gave them the ability to maintain appropriate physical distancing
    • When asked to rank priorities, with the stipulation that public health/safety is a main priority and accessibility is a foundational principle, respondents ranked the priorities in the following order:
      • Supporting business activity
      • Providing additional pedestrian space
      • Providing dedicated curbside pickup areas
      • Providing on-street parking

    Review meetings were held with Peterborough Public Health, the Downtown Business Improvement Area, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, and the Accessibility Advisory Committee.

    City Council feedback was incorporated into the recommended design for 2021.

    The Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area submitted its own review of the temporary downtown public space changes as input into the City’s review and for consideration for recommendations for 2021.

    City Council is holding a Special General Committee meeting starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 29 to consider the recommendations.

    Public delegations can speak to Council at the special Council meeting on Tuesday, April 6, when it considers approving a direction. To register to speak as a delegation at this meeting, please call the Clerk’s Office at 705-742-7777 ext. 1820 or use the online form at peterborough.ca/delegation.

    Project information including links to the report and the Peterborough Public Health guideline document are available at peterborough.ca/downtownptbo.

Page last updated: 29 March 2021, 17:17