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AND MAIN CLOSURE
SHERRYL HERSHBERG, DREMAN BUILDING OWNER
What do I think of the closure of Portage and main; I hate
The closure of Portage and Main to pedestrians has raged in
controversy for 25 years.
Without pedestrians crossing Portage and Main it lost something.
A number of people said that when they put the barriers up
you took away the heart of Winnipeg.
In cities that feel vibrant you see the people on the street.
When you take them off the street it looks empty.
I personally feel Portage and Main should be opened its perhaps
the great intersection in Canada.
There is no question about it is the one icon of Winnipeg
that is known more than any other place or location.
I think there are points at which traffic flow of vehicles
ought not to be the deciding factor of the character of a
place. Where there is a will there is a way.
When they put the barricades up at Portage and Main it was
part of an urban planning trend to try to move traffic in
and out of the centre of the city faster. What I think experience
has shown in the re-energization of downtown, is actually,
congestion works better. It makes people feel safer and downtowns
aren't freeways. My view is that we should reopen the intersection
to pedestrian traffic and bring people back up above ground.
With the opening of the concourse we needed to be where the
traffic was. Our customers said we don't like it down there;
we don't like to bank underground. We want to go upstairs
so we made a decision as a company to listen to our customers;
we moved back upstairs.
NAR: Plans are underway to reopen the corner to pedestrians
and to find ways to celebrate the corner. Only one building
owner is opposed.
OF THE FUTURE PORTAGE AVENUE
NAR: Something has been lost. Portage is no longer a people
street. Eaton's, the big store, is gone, and there is talk,
that the last remaining big downtown store, the Bay, will
soon be cut down from its 6 floors to 2. Or maybe even leave
have given up on Portage Ave. Afraid to go downtown. They
complain about the lack of parking, the panhandlers, and the
street people, the empty storefronts and barren sidewalks.
They see a growing wasteland.
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