More pedestrian space and flexible-use areas downtown

full bike rack

Hunter Street patios

Peterborough, ON - The City of Peterborough is adding more pedestrian space and flexible-use areas that give businesses an opportunity for some limited outside space as part of a re-working of public space in the downtown through a plan developed in collaboration with the Downtown Business Improvement Area and Peterborough Public Health.

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists should watch for signs and markers indicating changes to sidewalks, cycling lanes, on-street parking and road lanes that are being implemented over the next several days.

Work has already begun to mark the roads where delineators will be installed to separate the expanded pedestrian space from vehicular traffic. As the equipment arrives, it will be installed in phases through sections of the downtown with George Street first, followed by areas on King, Charlotte, Water and Hunter streets, in that order. The changes are expected by fully implemented by the end of next week.

For vehicular traffic, the changes are largely in the areas of:

  • George Street between Murray Street and Sherbrooke Street, which will be reduced to one lane southbound for vehicular traffic;
  • Water Street, between Simcoe Street and Hunter Street, which will be reduced to one lane northbound for vehicular traffic;
  • Hunter Street between Aylmer Street and George Street, which will become a one-way street with one westbound lane; and
  • Charlotte Street between Aylmer Street and George Street, which will be become a one-way street with one eastbound lane.

The cycling lanes on George Street and Water Street remain in place.

The map of the changes to roads, sidewalks and on-street parking in the downtown is available on the City’s website at

The changes are temporary as part of the measures being put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reduced road space for vehicles will create more space for pedestrians and flexible-use areas for businesses, which could be used for patios or pop-up commercial space through a fast-tracked application process with the City.

Helping people follow public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic as activity increases in the community during the Province’s re-opening framework is the overarching goal of the plan.

“Thank you to Peterborough Public Health and the Downtown Business Improvement Area for working with the City to support welcoming people back to our downtown in a way that makes health and well-being a priority,” Mayor Diane Therrien said.

The plan considers several priorities, such as pedestrian space, business activity, equitable use of space, accessibility, commercial deliveries, construction, and emergency access.

“It’s impressive to see the efforts made by both business operators and customers to follow public health measures for everyone’s safety,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “In these public settings, workers and their clients are reminded to practice physical distancing staying at least two metres away from people who are not from the same household or same social circle.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that even with the changes to the downtown streets, it is recommended to use a face covering to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when physical distancing and keeping two-metres distance from others may be challenging or not possible.

This bold plan will make Downtown Peterborough the largest open air shopping experience in the region, said Terry Guiel, Downtown Business Improvement Area Executive Director.

“Downtown will feature more than 30 new or expanded patios, allowing patrons a safe and enjoyable dining experience,” Guiel said. “The patios are essential to help bring staff back to work and to draw attention to the downtown in a vibrant way that will also increase foot traffic for our retailers.”

With the reconfiguration of streets, on-street parking has been maintained in many areas throughout the downtown to continue to support curbside pickup and deliveries. Some new commercial loading zones are being established to help businesses that rely on deliveries and these will be strictly enforced.

On-street parking and parking in surface lots will continue to be free, however, with less on-street spaces available the two-hour parking limit will also be enforced to make sure that the available spaces are there to support business customers.

Visitors and employees working in the downtown are encouraged to use the City parking garages and surface lots and walk to their destinations. Paying for parking is still required at municipal parking garages, and the City will continue to offer one hour of free parking at all parking garages

The City reminds residents to turn off their vehicles when waiting curbside to follow the anti-idling by-law.

For an up-to-date listing on municipal services affected by the COVID-19 emergency, please visit
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For further information, members of the media are invited to contact the undersigned:
Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Services
City of Peterborough
705-742-7777 ext. 1636