The city of Peterborough has been designated a 2015 Silver WALK Friendly Community. The city boasts impressive cross-sector collaborations that work together towards increasing the City’s walkability. Peterborough has a robust Transportation Demand Management program in place to encourage and incentivize walking. This includes engagement with workplaces, schools and programs for the general public to take part in.
Some highlights from Peterborough’s application include:
- When it comes to engaging the community in walking initiatives, Peterborough has established strong partnerships to deliver programming. One such program is Shifting Gears, a collaboration with five organizations and businesses. Shifting Gears is the City’s annual active transportation community challenge, and this year moved beyond just targeting workplaces and encouraged all citizens to walk, bike, take transit, carpool, and/or telework for all transportation trips. The City of Peterborough also engaged with a number of community organizations and businesses to deliver the first Open Streets program, Peterborough Pulse, in the summer of 2015. The program involved a 3 km car-free route between Peterborough’s downtown core and their Saturday Farmers’ Market. The route was animated with activities, art, and information, and encouraged physical activity and active transportation.
- The City has a robust Sidewalk Policy and Sidewalk Strategic Plan that have been supported by both staff and Council. The Sidewalk Policy requires sidewalks be provided on both sides of all streets in new areas and in existing developments where roads are being reconstructed. The Sidewalk Strategic Plan identifies and prioritizes all missing sidewalks in existing areas, with a commitment to implementing all Priority 1 and 2 sidewalks by 2022, with a 30% completion rate as of 2014. As seen in the recent GCC-CAA walking survey, snow and ice clearing is a concern for most Canadians. Peterborough also has a maintenance standard to clear sidewalks of snow within 24 hours of a snow fall of more than 4 cm, and will salt or sand within 24 hours of a freezing rain event.
- With regard to children’s walking, Peterborough has a strong adult crossing guard program, with 35 community crossing guard locations at 22 elementary schools. The crossing guards are active during all travel-to-school times. The City also uses the CAA’s Safety Patrollers program, a great way to engage kids and their peers on the issue of walking and safety.
- Peterborough is also commended for their use of data to inform planning. The City engages in the National Pedestrian and Bicyclist Documentation Project, using the project’s methodology to conduct annual pedestrian and cyclist counts at 24 intersections, and they have also been tracking active school travel since 1999.
- Peterborough is a city surrounded by nature which allows for the creation of attractive recreational walking environments. The City has used their geographical location to their advantage with an impressive trail system, and has committed to maintaining the paved trails year-round by plowing throughout the winter months.