#1 Reid St. & Rubidge St. Corridor
Reid St. and Rubidge St. are heavily traveled routes in the neighbourhood for both residents and non-residents. Currently, Reid St. and Rubidge St. are both one-way streets, and each is three lanes wide. This street configuration primarily serves vehicle traffic, as vehicles are able to move through at quick speeds. Many residents feel that these streets lack safe crossings, cars travel too quickly, and the intersections are confusing to navigate. Residents feel that Reid St. and Rubidge St. have the potential to become safer and more accessible active transportation corridors, and would like to see better infrastructure for cycling and walking. Rubidge St. in particular has no signalized crossing for a 750-metre stretch between Charlotte St. and McDonnel St. Residents want to explore traffic calming measures for Reid St. and Rubidge St., such as reducing the number of lanes and adding rumble strips. Accessibility along these routes is especially important to residents. Kawartha Participation Projects, located on Reid St., is an amazing asset that provides housing for people with disabilities. However, residents have noted Reid St. and Rubidge St. are difficult to navigate, and make it challenging for residents of the Kawartha Participation Projects to travel downtown.
Bump-outs at crossings
Use curb bump-outs at pedestrian crossings to decrease crossing distance and slow traffic.
This is an example of a curb bump-out. In this example, the crossing distance is reduced for pedestrians, and space is freed up for garden plantings.
Add rumble strips on Rubidge St. as it curves along the hill towards McDonnel St. to slow traffic
This will slow traffic, and alert drivers of the upcoming pedestrian crossing. Residents are open to other ideas to calm traffic, but traffic speed is a key concern along this corridor.
This is an example of rumble strips. The textured strips alert drivers that they need to slow down and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Add new pedestrian crossing(s)
Improve the walkability of this area by adding new pedestrian crossings at priority locations including Rubidge St. at Hunter St. (similar to the one currently on Reid St. at Hunter St). Consider additional crossings, like on Rubidge St. and Reid St. at Kirk St. Ensure that curb cuts are accessible at all crossings.
Close off some side streets to traffic (suggested streets include Brock St., Scott St., and/or Hall St.)
Closing off a few of the side streets would open up space for parks or future housing development sites. It would also reduce the number of short cross-streets, which chop up the street grid.
Add play or gathering space to increase activity
Make use of existing green spaces, like the church lawns, for increased park space in the neighbourhood. Reach out to churches to see if there are community uses that they may support on their outdoor spaces, such as benches, gardens, community art, or other creative and low-cost ways to improve the green spaces.
Change the traffic flow on Reid St. and Rubidge St., and add bike lanes
At the design workshop, residents explored different options for traffic flow on Reid St. and Rubidge St. Although we are not presenting a preferred vision, residents were strongly in favour of adding bike lanes, regardless of which other features are included. Some popular ideas included:
Converting the streets from one-way streets to two-way streets (in order to slow traffic and make traffic flow patterns less confusing)
Keeping both streets one-way, but building in complete streets design
Differentiating the street uses between the two streets, making Rubidge St. a more pedestrian and cyclist focused street, and Reid St. a street with more potential to move traffic and transit vehicles
Rubidge St., current configuration
Rubidge St., one-way with bikes lanes & parking
Rubidge St., two ways with bike lanes
This image shows what Rubidge St. at Hunter St. could look like with a curb bump-out, buffered bike lane, and dedicated parking. All of these components fit into the currently paved roadway by reducing the drive lanes.
#2 Park St. Corridor
The Park St. corridor is a desirable route for cyclists and pedestrians in the Downtown Jackson Creek neighbourhood. However, residents are concerned with fast-moving traffic and incomplete sidewalks, and the impacts on cycling and walking. Opportunities for enhancement exist, as Park St. has a wide right-of-way and is included in the City of Peterborough’s Proposed Cycling Network.
In particular, residents find the intersection of Hunter St., Park St., and Donegal St. confusing and hard to navigate. Residents have proposed some creative ideas to tighten this intersection, slow traffic, and repurpose some of the excess pavement.
Cul-de-sac Donegal St. at Hunter St.
Create a cul-de-sac at the south end of Donegal St. to simplify the intersection. This will allow the intersection to become a four-way crossing. Excess pavement could be depaved and turned into a pollinator garden with a walkway. Keep connections for pedestrians and cyclists through the garden.
Accessible four-way crossing
Make a four-way stop at Park St. and Hunter St. and add crosswalks and accessible curb cuts.
Complete and improve pedestrian infrastructure
Add sidewalks on the east side of Park St. and improve sidewalks along the corridor, including ensuring that curb cuts are accessible.
Depave right turn slip lane on Park St. at Hunter St.
Slow down traffic turning right by removing the slip lane and tightening the intersection. This will make crossings shorter, easier, and more accessible. This area could be depaved and turned into a rain garden.
This is an example of a depave project from Peterborough. At this site, behind the No Frills on George St., a section of road was removed and replaced with water wise and pollinator-friendly plantings.
Add bike lanes on Park St.
Improve cyclist connections by installing bike lanes on both sides of Park St.
#3 Rubidge Park and the Trans Canada Trail
People love the Trans Canada Trail, and use the green space adjacent to it to walk dogs, picnic, and play games. The residents of Downtown Jackson Creek call this “Rubidge Park” and have been working hard to make the park more of a community space. Residents have formed a neighbourhood association, called the Reid McDonnel Neighbourhood Association, to bring more programming and activities to the park like clean-ups and BBQs. Relative to the density of the neighbourhood, there is little public community space in Downtown Jackson Creek. Since many people live in apartment buildings, many residents do not have backyards or porches to enjoy the company of their friends. As a result, the park is an important gathering space.
The bridge along the Trans Canada Trail has been a spot in the neighbourhood that has sparked much discussion and some disagreement amongst residents. Many people enjoy the bridge, and see it as a peaceful place to sit and gather. However, some people experience fear and discomfort travelling through here, especially after dark. There are also concerns about the bridge’s surface quality, graffiti, and lack of maintenance. Many residents see opportunities to enhance the park and the bridge, and also see a need to consider diverse users of this space, and look for solutions that benefit all.
Install pedestrian lighting
Add more lighting along the Trans Canada Trail and in the park, but ensure lighting is sensitive to wildlife and lights up the path adequately for pedestrians.
Community gardens and fruit trees
Reach out to Nourish, and start a garden in the park. Build accessible raised beds, and plant some fruit trees so that the community can enjoy fresh fruits.
Celebrate Jackson Creek
Rehabilitate the shoreline along Jackson Creek by planting native plants and improving across to the creek.
Add more waste disposal bins and a community board
Install a community board by the bridge as a place for people to share information on events and resources. Add more garbage and recycling bins to keep the park cleaner.
Enhance the bridge
Improve the surface quality of the bridge and possibly paint the sides. This could be a potential art project for students or the community.
Naturalized play area
Create a naturalized play area using elements like logs, rocks, and trees to encourage children to play creatively.
This is an example of a naturalized play area from close to home! This play area is located at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre. Peterborough Public Health released Outdoor Playspaces for Children: An Evidence Review in 2017 that speaks to the benefits of naturalized play areas.
#4 Creative Redevelopment
The city of Peterborough is a rapidly growing urban area1. With population growth occurring in our city, it is important to think ahead and consider how we can add housing and services to our downtown, while maintaining the character of local neighbourhoods.
As a centrally-located neighbourhood, Downtown Jackson Creek has potential to densify and change in the coming years. In particular, Downtown Jackson Creek is home to church buildings that are positioned on large plots of land, some of which have declining congregation numbers, and one of which has already been decommissioned as an active church. These church sites, along with under-utilized pieces of land, such as the former Baskin Robbins ice cream factory and large parking lots, provide potential for infill development in the neighbourhood.
As this neighbourhood transitions, residents would like planners, developers, and policy makers consider the design concepts presented in this section.
What is infill development?
Infill development is an urban planning term. It refers to the process of repurposing vacant or underused pieces of land that are within an already built up urban area, and using these sites for new developments. It is a way of adding additional housing and services to neighbourhoods that already exist, rather than building new neighbourhoods on undeveloped land outside the city (e.g., suburban developments). Infill can help keep housing close to services. It also helps to avoid urban sprawl, and promotes healthier transportation choices by creating denser and more complete communities.
Encourage creative redevelopment and use of church buildings.
As church congregation numbers decline, encourage innovative uses of the buildings, including mixed-income housing or community space.
In 2016, the former Knox United Church was redeveloped into a 41-unit affordable housing building. This redevelopment was an example of a partnership between a private developer and the City of Peterborough.
Housing is critically important in the Downtown Jackson Creek neighbourhood, but residents also want to see a mix of uses available in the area. Since many people do not drive, people want to be able to access shopping, services, and employment opportunities close to home.
George St. is an example of a mixed-use area in Peterborough. As the population grows, there is an opportunity for new developments in neighbourhoods like Downtown Jackson Creek to include a mixture of uses.
Reduce and re-purpose surface parking lots
Since the neighbourhood is very walkable, has great transit access, and has a growing cycling network, people would like to reduce the amount of space taken up by parking lots. Further, many people in the neighbourhood do not drive because of factors including income, age, ability, or choice to use alternatives. Reducing parking requirements for new residential buildings could free land for other uses.
Why do parking requirements matter?
Minimum parking requirements for new developments are set out in the City’s Zoning By-Law. Most of the Downtown Jackson Creek neighbourhood falls within an area just outside the downtown core, known as “Parking Area 2” in the current Zoning By-Law. For new residential developments in this area, 1.5 parking spaces must be provided per unit. Commercial buildings also have minimum parking requirements.
These parking requirements mean that large pieces of land in the downtown are set aside as parking lots, whether or not there is an actual need for such a high number of spots.
Reassuringly, parking requirements may be changing in our downtown. The Draft Official Plan supports exemptions for some parking requirements for developments within the Central Area, which includes all of the Downtown Jackson Creek neighbourhood.
This is an example from Detroit where parking lot has been re-purposed for a community garden.
Keep housing affordable and accessible
It is important that the people who live in Downtown Jackson Creek currently are not displaced as the neighbourhood changes. Promote the development of affordable housing units, particularly within mixed income buildings, to keep the neighbourhood affordable for current residents and other lower income people looking to move to the neighbourhood.
How can we focus on mixed-income housing?
Currently there seems to be little that a municipality can do to require that affordable housing is prioritized. In 2016, amendments to the Planning Act allowed municipalities to
implement a new tool called inclusionary zoning, which would require affordable housing units to be included in residential developments. In 2019, Bill 108 restricted municipalities so that they can now only implement inclusionary zoning in special transit areas.
Inclusionary zoning was providing the jumping off point for conversations about affordable housing, geared-to-income housing, mixed-income neighbourhoods, and mixed-income buildings. Now cities must find other tools to ensure that equitable housing options that provide for inclusive communities are planned for and built within their boundaries.
The Mount Community Centre, a former convent, is a housing, food, and services hub. The Mount is an example of a not-for-profit-led mixed-income housing project.
Preserve architectural heritage
Downtown Jackson Creek is full of beautiful heritage buildings, including the churches, Cox Terrace, Hutchison House, and many heritage homes. They add character to the neighbourhood, and residents want to maintain this architectural heritage as new development occurs.
#5 Harm Reduction and Addressing Stigma
Housing and social services are usually outside of the realm of the work that the NeighbourPLAN program engages in. However, we learned early in our engagement that these concerns are critical to the people living in the neighbourhood, and are tied to the use of public space.
The NeighbourPLAN program wants to create public spaces and services that support all people, including individuals experiencing addictions, poverty, and homelessness, or who are sex workers. People in these communities have a right to safe spaces and harm reduction services. There is also a need to build understanding and empathy between different communities, and to help people co-exist happily and safely in public spaces.
Some of the conversations we had in the neighbourhood suggested that stigma may play a role in how the neighbourhood is viewed and used. We heard residents make negative comments about people living in poverty or experiencing homlessness in the neighbourhood, people experiencing alcohol and drug addictions, and people engaged in sex work. Sometimes, people making these comments said sharing public space with people from these communities makes them fear for their own personal safety, though the majority of residents hadn’t actually experienced an unsafe encounter. This sense of fear can be addressed both through changes to the built environment (e.g., adding lighting in key areas), and through building empathy and understanding between different communities and users of space.
To better understand and address these concerns, we worked with partners like PARN: Your Community AIDS Resource Network to hear from people with lived experience of engaging in sex work, illicit drug use, and/or the trafficking of drugs. Partners from Peterborough Public Health and Community Mediation Peterborough also facilitated a table about these subjects at the design workshop. Collaboratively, workshop participants came up with some ideas to address social concerns in the neighbourhood. We also worked with PARN to discuss and validate these ideas with individuals with lived experience, who may have faced barriers to attending the design workshop.
What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is an approach to reducing the health and safety risks associated with activities including drug use and sex work. It is a movement that is based in respecting the dignity and autonomy of individuals who use drugs or are employed as sex workers, while also working to “meet people where they are at” and provide non-judgemental services and supports to keep people safer. A harm reduction framework gives individuals the materials they need to minimize the risks associated with activities that are inherently risky. These activities are risky for a range of reasons, including the potential of exposure to blood borne infections, overdose risk, and criminalization.
For people engaged in substance use, harm reduction strategies could include things like needle and equipment exchanges, safer injection sites, training for overdose prevention, publicly accessible sharps disposal bins, and more. For sex workers, harm reduction approaches could include providing condoms, lube, and other safer sex supplies, regular STI screening and treatment, and drop-in safe spaces.
What is Stigma?
Stigma is a negative stereotype that people hold against certain communities or individuals, based on factors like their social or economic status, mental health, addictions, or more. These stereotypes are based on assumptions or misconceptions, and are a form of discrimination and prejudice. Stigma is harmful to the people who are on the receiving end of these judgments.
What does the Harm Reduction landscape look like in Peterborough?
Many organizations in Peterborough are working together to support harm reduction. Some of the ideas that residents put forward to address harm reduction are already underway or in the works for the Downtown Jackson Creek neighbourhood. Some of these organizations and services are highlighted below:
PARN – Your Community AIDS Resource Network has a Harm Reduction Works program, which provides people with free access to harm reduction supplies, including safer injection equipment and safer inhalation equipment. These resources can be found at locations throughout the city.
Learn more at www.parn.ca.
The Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre has a program called the All Our Relations Outreach Program, which works in partnership with other agencies, including PARN, Salvation Army, and the City of Peterborough to provide outreach and harm reduction supplies to Indigenous women and girls involved in sex work, and Indigenous people experiencing homelessness. This program has outreach vans and they offer well-being and life-skills workshops.
Learn more at www.nogofc.ca.
Peterborough Public Health supports harm reduction through initiatives such as the installation of public sharps disposal bins, and has made public statements in support of a safe injection/consumption site. They also manage and facilitate the distribution of Naloxone (an overdose reversal medication) via service providers at multiple points of contact throughout the city.
Learn more at www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca
The Peterborough Drug Strategy is a “locally-based approach that involves stakeholders from various sectors to identify and address gaps in the local system, with the goal of reducing the negative impacts of substance use for individuals, families and the community as a whole.” The Drug Strategy brings together key players like Peterborough Public Health, PARN, FourCAST (Four Counties Addictions Services Team), Peterborough Police Services, the Ontario Provincial Police, Peterborough Social Services, the Peterborough Family Health Team, and more to work together towards four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement.
Learn more at www.peterboroughdrugstrategy.com
Sites to re-develop for housing or community services
Encourage the future development of mixed-income housing in open or underused lots. Develop a by-law to ensure that a portion of units in all housing developed is affordable. As church congregations decline, consider repurposing the church buildings for housing or community uses, but maintain the heritage buildings.
Mobile trucks to provide food, safer sex supplies, clean needles, naloxone, and other harm reduction supplies.
Flower and garden plantings
Plant native flower and plant species. In partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations, create a Indigenous-led native plant garden or raised garden
Hub for social services
The abandoned school building on Hunter St. and Rubidge St. could become a site for a new social services hub.
Water stations/water refill stations
Provide clean drinking water to anyone that needs it.
Sharps (needle) disposal bins
Support the proper and safe disposal of needles. Helps keep public spaces cleaner