While much of the discussion around opening Portage and Main has focused on travel times for drivers or pedestrians, one key aspect of the debate has been mostly ignored to date: the economic development impact.
As a longtime supporter of the push to modernize Portage and Main, The Chamber believes reopening the famous corner to pedestrians could also open up additional opportunities for investment and business activity in the heart of our downtown.
Recently, the owner of 201 Portage Avenue stated the lack of pedestrian access is the biggest barrier getting in the way of developing a surface lot located immediately north of their building.
“If the citizens of Winnipeg support the opening of Portage and Main, they will reap benefits in terms of active economic vibrancy in the downtown, safety in the downtown, and a place that all Winnipeggers can be proud of on a national scale,” said Rosanne Hill Blaisdell, Managing Director for Harvard Buildings Inc.
The owner of the Richardson Building agrees.
“People and businesses want a walkable, dynamic streetscape with activity and attractions that are safe and accessible,” said Dave Finnboggason, Vice-President of Corporate Development with James Richardson & Sons, Limited. “Portage and Main, both above ground and underground, needs a lot of work right now. We want downtown Winnipeg to be a more exciting and welcoming place for our citizens who live and work here and for tourists who come to visit the many exciting things we have to offer.”