Newsletter: Councillor calls for infrastructure improvements after cyclist struck

You’re reading the August 24, 2021 edition of the Peterborough Currents email newsletter. To receive our email newsletters straight to your inbox, sign up here.

Good afternoon,

Welcome to the Peterborough Currents newsletter.

I’m Brett Throop, a reporter with Peterborough Currents. Here’s the latest from us: a cyclist collision has prompted a call for better infrastructure, the manager of Peterborough Transit is defending controversial bus route changes, and a grieving mother is speaking out about addiction stigma in our city. I have more on those stories below. Thanks for reading.

No charges laid after cyclist struck on Water St.

A Peterborough cyclist is recovering from non-life threatening injuries after being struck by a vehicle on Water St. over the weekend.

Peterborough Police said they would not be laying charges, following an investigation.

Police said they were called to the intersection of University Heights and Water Street just after 9:00 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 21 in response to the collision.

The cyclist was taken to Peterborough Regional Health Centre with non-life threatening injuries, according to a press release from police.

Northcrest Ward Councillor Stephen Wright said the collision highlights the need to rapidly build more cycling infrastructure in the city. There is no bike lane on the section of Water St. where the collision happened.

“You want to be able to completely separate [cyclists] from vehicular traffic,” he said. “I’m going to reach out to the Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee and see if there’s any safety recommendations they can make.”

Wright was one of the councillors who last month voted in favour of a failed plan to build 160 km of cycling infrastructure over the next two decades, at an estimated cost of $2.4 to $2.9 million per year.

Council instead opted for a plan to build 80 km of cycling infrastructure over the same period, for an estimated $1.2 to $1.5 million per year.

City transit boss defends controversial route changes, says service improvements are coming next month

The manager of Peterborough Transit is defending route changes that have angered some riders since they were introduced last year. “It’s a faster, more direct system,” Laurie Stratton said.

Her comments come as Peterborough Transit tries to win back riders who fled transit in huge numbers last year as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the city.

Downtown resident Heather Luxton is one of those who stopped renewing her transit pass last year. She said it was the service changes, not pandemic concerns that drove her away. “The way it is now and if they’re going to continue it that way – I’m done with the bus,” she said.

Stratton said she is confident riders will return to transit in the coming months. “I think once people get out again and start traveling again, that experience will reinforce” that the current system works better, Stratton said in an interview with Peterborough Currents.

Transit service will ramp back up next month, after running at reduced capacity for more than a year, as people were urged to stay home because of the pandemic. The City released details of the changes on Friday, which include bus frequency increasing on some routes to ensure at least 30-minute service across the system during morning and afternoon rush hour.

Read the full story on our website.

Grieving mother speaks out about addiction stigma

Jody Smith died of complications related to opioid use three years ago this month. Now her mother, Gail Parry, displays her daughter’s picture in the front yard of her Peterborough home every August. (Photo courtesy of Gail Parry)

When Gail Parry’s daughter died from complications due to opioid use, it wasn’t only grief she had to deal with. Parry also faced a wave of stigma around the way her daughter, Jody Smith, died.

“We get a lot of comments,” Parry said. One of the most hurtful things her family has heard was that her daughter “made a choice to die” because of her struggle with substance use. “[Jody] was so non-judgmental. So to see people judge her – it’s awful,” Parry said.

Parry was on hand Monday morning as a purple flag was raised at City Hall, in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The flag reads “Overdose Awareness Day” and also bears the name of an advocacy group Parry belongs to, called Moms Stop the Harm.

“I’m not ashamed of how my child lost her life,” Parry told a small crowd of city officials and police officers who came out for the flag raising. “I’m ashamed of how people pick and choose which life has value.”

Parry was wearing a small button that read “stigma kills.” She said one place stigma needs to be rooted out is in the health care system. “People like my daughter do not want to go to the hospital unless they’re very sick … because of stigma and judgment,” she said. “There’s so many nurses and doctors that aren’t trained with addiction… They don’t look at it like a disease.”

Jody Smith died three years ago this month. She was 44 years old and left behind two daughters and one granddaughter.

Parry is organizing a memorial service for those who have died from overdoses on International Overdose Awareness Day, next Tuesday, August 31. It will be held at the Silver Bean Café in Millenium Park from 1 to 4 p.m.

That’s all for this issue of the Peterborough Currents newsletter. Want to receive these emails straight to your inbox? Sign up here.


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