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Council votes to open Portage and Main to pedestrians

Council votes to open Portage and Main to pedestrians
Council votes on Portage and Main

By: Staff Writer - Winnipeg Tribune

Winnipeg, March 22, 2024 - The prolonged debate has finally come to a close, culminating in a decision. Portage and Main, closed off for 46 years, will soon be accessible to pedestrians. The Winnipeg City Council, in a vote of 11 to 3 on Thursday, resolved to open the intersection while shutting down the underground concourse.

In favour of the motion were Mayor Gillingham and councillors Sharma, Allard, Browaty, Dobson, Duncan, Gilroy, Lukes, Mayes, Rollins, and Santos. Conversely, councillors Wyatt, Eadie, and Jason Schreyer opposed the decision.

The councilors have set a target date of July 1, 2025, for opening the intersection to pedestrians. The city has allocated $13 million for the initial design and construction phase, deferring some road projects to ensure implementation of this decision.

A new clause was added to the original motion, mandating a study on the cost and traffic impacts of closing the concourse. City officials indicated that maintaining the intersection's closure to pedestrians could cost up to $74 million, with no definitive estimate provided for closing the underground concourse, although it is speculated to range between $20 and $50 million. Notably, the report did not incorporate the potential loss in property taxes currently being paid.

Councillors Markus Chambers and John Orlikow were absent during the vote on Thursday.


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