The much-anticipated Memorial Drive debate ended yesterday as council defeated a motion to thwart the east/west artery’s closure for a summer festival.

As a result, for one Sunday in August, 1.8 kilometres of Memorial Drive from approximately 10 Street NW to 3 Street NW, one lane in each direction will be closed.

“We are trying a little stretch of the road for a riverfront festival and it will hopefully be a happy little event that a lot of people will come to,” said Ald. Druh Farrell, who proposed the closure.

“The fact that this event was singled out and the purpose of the event was singled out meant that some members of council wanted to get into whether or not some events were worthy over others. I think we’ve got better things to do,” said Farrell.

Transportation manager John Hubbell told council Memorial Drive peak traffic reached between 880 and 998 cars per hour on Sundays for east and west traffic respectively, and a single lane is able to accommodate up to 1,500 cars per hour, asserting that as such, his department had no issues with the closure.

Ald. Joe Connelly opposed the closure, even though Memorial Drive is closed for other festivals and road races, because he does not believe this festival will garner enough support.

“If I’m driving down Memorial Drive and see 10 people I’m going to ask what was city council thinking when they closed Memorial Drive,” said Connelly.

Connelly said that other viable options for a riverfront festival should have been looked at, including holding one at Prince’s Island Park, Fort Calgary or the Calgary Zoo.

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