Mayor Bowman Supporting Referendum on Portage and Main Reopening

Mayor Bowman Supporting Referendum on Portage and Main Reopening

Portage and Main. (DOWNTOWN WPG BIZ)

When Winnipeggers go to the polls in October, they will not only have to choose a mayor and council, but whether they would like to see Portage and Main reopened to pedestrians.

Mayor Brian Bowman said Wednesday he will be supporting a council motion recommending a referendum on the future of Winnipeg’s most iconic intersection.

“The debate over whether or not to open the intersection to pedestrian traffic has demanded a lot of attention and while important has taken away from other pressing issues facing our growing city that require more attention and debate.”

Bowman has long been a champion for reopening the intersection to pedestrians. Critics say allowing people to cross on foot will impede traffic flows and become a safety concern.

“Since taking office, I have been listening to both sides of this debate very closely, and I agree Winnipeggers should be provided an opportunity to have a direct say on this matter,” Bowman added.

A budget of $3.5 million has already been set aside by city council to pay for upgrading the intersection’s surface, designing a crossing and making improvements to the nearby underground concourse.

Bowman says no incremental administrative costs are required with the addition of a single, yes/no question making a referendum on the opening of Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic a cost-effective way for council to engage Winnipeg residents.

Winnipeg’s municipal election is October 24.

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