In more of “What’s old is new again”, the dream of the urban visionary crowd to open Portage and Main to pedestrians is back on the civic agenda.

In Episode 22 you’ll hear a breakdown of the economics that Mayor Scott Gillingham says has led him to be for it- after he was against it.

In contrast to 4 council members standing with the Mayor at the announcement, ⁠Coun. Brian Mayes of St. Vital argued ⁠that Gillingham is ignoring not only the 2018 plebiscite result, but possible alternatives, and is being divisive.

12.15 – Coun. Russ Wyatt took to the podium on Friday after the Mayor was done- and you’ll hear a brief comment the Transcona representative made before staff shut down the microphone.

Wyatt also flagged that the report was written by a city planner, not an engineer. You’ll hear questions a listener with professional experience raised, about the waterproofing membrane that’s failing and about validity of the study.

The numbers seem to prove there’s little to no difference in the costs to repair the corner – $73M – compared to opening it up, which would entail a big price tag to mothball the Circus concourse underground.

Has the City report factored in increased emergency response costs, including inevitable pedestrian incidents and traffic flow delays?

And, as one listener suggested, “There will be fights over panhandling spots.”

Marty speaks out about the potential ruinous ripple effect on the quality of life in St. Boniface for area residents, businesses and the Hospital, if Portage and Main gets the urban vision dream of walkers crossing a wind tunnel at street level.

21:31 Part 2- “The closing of Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic in 1978 was a major step forward in terms of pedestrian safety and traffic flow in downtown Winnipeg.”

That’s what the mainstream media won’t tell you – but we will.

When bumbling Brian Bowman tried to leverage the issue going into the 2018 civic election, a retired cop set the record straight.

Former deputy police chief ⁠Menno Zaharias wrote⁠:

“Then there was Portage and Main. The intersection from hell in terms of traffic and traffic duty… but then add pedestrians to the mix and it was a nightmare.” 

Listen to the column Zacharias posted that described the mayhem in winter as drivers and walkers struggled for traction, and the resulting gridlock. Ask your own councilor if they can refute the conclusion of Menno Zacharias:

“The re-opening of Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic would be a great plan if your end objective was to bog down the center of Winnipeg into a total rush hour gridlock and at the same time endanger the lives of pedestrians.”

We add to his historic observations with the modern-day potential of needing police on-site round the clock to maintain public safety.

Marty Gold sees the rush to push this through council at the same time they are handling budget debates, as a return to the anti-democratic ‘walk-on motion’ tactic in the Sam Katz era. And we all know how well that worked out.


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