If you have passionate ideas about the future of Winnipeg’s most iconic intersection, you can share your thoughts with the city in person Wednesday at the first of several public consultations about Portage and Main.
Winnipeggers can make their voices heard at a pop-up info session at 201 Portage Ave., beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
An increased risk of water damage to the underground concourse means the famous intersection needs to be completely excavated in the near future, so the city launched a survey last month asking Winnipeggers for their recommendations on a reimagined use of the space.
Several possibilities, including a sky garden, an artistic monument over the intersection, multimedia lighting and lookout towers have been floated as part of an online survey.
The city’s principal planner, Kurtis Kowalke, told 680 CJOB’s The Start that civic leaders aren’t necessarily writing off the idea of opening the intersection to pedestrians — at least not completely.
“All the ideas that we’re looking at are intended to be flexible,” Kowalke said.
“For example, whatever replaces the barricades in the future could be openable — so when we have big celebrations like a Blue Bombers win, it’s much easier to access that space in an accessible way.”
Since the intersection needs to be ripped up anyway, he said, it’s an opportunity for the city to make some much-needed changes to Portage and Main.
“The stakeholders we have talked to do see the intersection as a very important destination. It’s got a very high concentration of people that work in the area, take transit in the area.
“More and more people are moving into the area, and they do see it as worthy of improvements.”
The idea of reopening Portage and Main to pedestrian foot traffic was the subject of a 2018 plebiscite, in which 65 per cent of Winnipeg voters elected to keep the busy intersection closed to pedestrians — although election results showed that much of the ‘no’ vote came from residents who didn’t live in the area.
Kowalke said there have been thousands of responses to the online survey so far.
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