Roundabout pitched for Winnipeg's Portage and Main

A Winnipeg blogger has a bold idea for the city's famous intersection: Why not put a roundabout at Portage and Main?
A Winnipeg blogger has a bold idea for the city's famous intersection: Why not put a roundabout at Portage and Main? 2:06

A Winnipeg blogger has a bold idea for the city's famous intersection: Why not put a roundabout at Portage and Main?

Derick Young's proposed roundabout design for Portage Avenue and Main Street has been circulating on social media since it was posted on his blog on Thursday.

Young says having a roundabout at Portage and Main would improve the intersection, which currently has concrete barriers preventing pedestrians from accessing it.

Derick Young says putting a roundabout at Portage Avenue and Main Street would make the city's famous intersection more attractive as well as efficient. (Google Street View/Around This Town)
"We like to think as a Portage and Main as an iconic intersection, as one of the famous intersections in Canada, but there's really nothing iconic about it other than its location from a historic perspective," he told CBC News on Monday.

"The intersection itself is very run-of-the-mill, and putting a roundabout there would really add a lot of flair to the intersection. It would make it a memorable place and really set it apart from other intersections in Canada, and it would be a great eye-catching spot in the middle of Winnipeg."

Young said he has seen roundabouts in major cities across Europe and believes the idea could work well in this city.

"Roundabouts tend to be more efficient intersections than regular intersections like what we have now at Portage and Main, and traffic tends to flow better through a roundabout," he said.

He added that all traffic would approach the multi-lane roundabout from one direction, and it would allow motorists to make turns that cannot be done there right now.
Derick Young posted this diagram on his blog, showing what the proposed Portage and Main roundabout would look like. (Derick Young/Around This Town)

"You could turn left off Main Street onto Portage, if you wanted to, with a roundabout," he said.

Young posted his proposal online after mayoral candidate Brian Bowman promised to reopen the intersection to pedestrians if he is elected this fall.

Michael O’Neill lives in River Heights, where there are several roundabouts and said he doesn’t think traffic circles should be a source of confusion for Winnipeg drivers.

“What’s difficult? Keep to the right,” he said. “We’re educated people. I think we can handle it.”

But Jino Distasio, the head of the University of Winnipeg's urban studies institute, said the area needs to be open to pedestrians first.

“Let’s make that step number one. How do we create pedestrian environment?” he said. “Then let’s build the infrastructure around it. Let’s not just say a roundabout is the way to go.

City officials refused to comment on the roundabout idea.


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