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Councillors want to explore cost of possibly opening Portage and Main


The topic of Portage and Main popped up once again at city hall Monday as two councillors tabled a motion to see what it would mean if pedestrians and cyclists were able to cross at street level.

Area councillors Sherri Rollins and Cindy Gilroy put forward a motion to the public works committee to see what it would cost to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross on the street and the impacts that would have on vehicle traffic.

"I'm a local councillor who just wants my residents to be able to cross the street where they live," said Rollins.

She notes this is about making Portage and Main a more accessible area.

"I don't want any of the seniors living in the downtown to jump barricades and hurt themselves – or any tourists for that matter."

This new motion comes two weeks after the city released options for upgrades to get public feedback for a report in the fall. None of those options envisioned opening the intersection up at street level.

Coun. Russ Wyatt argues if there is any move to take down the current barricades, another plebiscite should happen first.

During the 2018 election, 65 per cent of voters voted to keep the barricades up.

"The engineers that I've talked to over the year, the City of Winnipeg engineers, have indicated that you open that intersection, you can expect injuries and fatalities," said Wyatt.

The committee put the motion over to the fall for consideration, saying it would rather see results of the current consultation first.

"What we don't want to do is cloud the waters right now," said Coun. Janice Lukes, who chairs the public works committee.

However, Lukes was asked if she believes Portage and Main will be open to pedestrians at some point down the road.

"Absolutely, for sure. It's got such huge potential. It's a beautiful intersection."

As for what Rollins thinks about another plebiscite, she is not in favour of one, saying she believes it is anti-democratic. She argues the issue is more complex than a yes or no answer. Top Stories

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