During a press conference at the iconic corner on Monday, Winnipeg’s mayoral candidate, Gord Steeves, promised that pedestrians will not be allowed to cross Portage and Main anytime soon. Steeves revealed that he plans to leave the intersection blocked to foot traffic and put an end to the debate over whether it should ever be reopened to pedestrians during his time as mayor.
In his remarks, Steeves stated that “I do not believe that our current situation at Portage and Main is that bad, and I do believe that the current threat of changing the current set up is destabilizing the corner.” He added that “I’ll be open to any idea that concerns the intersection, but not ones that contemplate opening it up to pedestrian traffic.” Whereas on the other hand, Steeves rival candidates are mostly supporting to open the corner and have said earlier in the campaign that the move would spur development and help bring more people downtown.
Explaining his choice instead, Steeves elucidated that “if we did open up this intersection, it’s very, very clear, based on the traffic studies that to service a very small amount of people who would be walking in this intersection, we would be holding up tens of thousands of people and their commute time.” Conclusively, Steeves mentioned at the end that “I think the underground Winnipeg Square system is a very… positive thing for this corner—I like it—and I think it works.”
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