At the request of Mr. Christian over at West End Dumplings let me share my thoughts and memories of Portage and Main. My earliest memories of Portage and Main are as a teenager exploring the city and seeing just how far I could make it via skywalks and underground without having to go outside. I still find it fascinating that there is this whole little world under there. It reminds me of other cities I have been to (Sydney and Montreal come to mind) where they have almost mini-cities under their streets.
To be honest, I don't think I want the intersection to re-open - it is already a difficult intersection to navigate, I mean that part when you're headed east on Portage and after Fort and it goes from 4 lanes to 5 with no guide lines as to how traffic ends up in the 5th lane, which is in the middle, and all of about 100 meters before mandatory turning lanes... Of course you could also try to head south on Main where you also get an extra lane all of a sudden and then both right hand curb lanes force you to turn... And with the trouble we already have trying to get the traffic lights to sync up, do we really think when we inevitably need to change Portage and Main for pedestrian traffic that there is any hope of that problem getting better??
My vote (in the imaginary poll) would be to really spruce up and further promote the flip side of the intersection and make it something special rather than lament that we can't walk across a windy, busy intersection. Besides, where do they think all this foot traffic is headed? Are there that many people that need to head from TD over to Scotia above ground? Do the suits in one of the office towers want to get splashed by puddles while they wait to head to Hy's for lunch? I'm pretty sure it will be faster to get from one side to the other via the underground walkways anyway.
So to you Portage and Main, have a very happy birthday, and I salute you for giving us a place to dance and celebrate when the need arises.