Jenny on Portage and Main:
"Jenny Gerbasi, city councillor for Fort Rouge/East Fort Garry, has been working on the bring-down-the-barriers file for years. She has spent much of her time building public support and she’s optimistic things are moving in the right direction.
"There’s a lot more political momentum now," she said.
Council recently endorsed a motion giving the administration direction to take the specific steps that are needed to make it a reality, including a detailed traffic study.
"We’ve also had legal advice over the last year that has given the city confidence that there won’t be a problem if the public and political will is there," she said.
Gerbasi said Winnipeggers need to take a more worldly view of Portage and Main.
"We’re the exception. You don’t find a bunch of intersections that are closed off to the public (in other cities). We have intersections that are just as busy as this one. The view that we can’t possibly have people at our signature intersection that everybody in the world knows about it absurd," she said.
The city's deal with property owners of the corners of Portage and Main expires in 2019 and while the property owners can renew it for a further 40 years, Gerbasi said the ultimate decision lies with council.
"If the city decides we want to open it up, we can do it. We want to do it in a collaborative way. City council has the ultimate authority," she said.
Gerbasi said the sooner the barriers come down, the better.
"I¹d like to see it happen in time for the Canada Summer Games (in July 2017)," she said."
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