Minneapolis Skyway System

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FISHMANPET
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Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby FISHMANPET » June 22nd, 2012, 5:46 pm

Love 'em or hate 'em, let's not derail any more threads talking about them, and talk about them here instead.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby FISHMANPET » June 22nd, 2012, 6:03 pm

I'm gonna reply to Lancaster's post in the Xcel Energy thread:

Lancestar2 wrote:
Konante wrote:
Lancestar2 wrote:For me personally I would never have picked Minneapolis to live if it wasn't for the skyway network. Instead I would have picked a suburb where I could have drove from place to place in my comfortable climate controlled car :) dispite the gas prices places like Apple Valley where everything is bunched up in a tight retail district it still could be rather affordable as long as you work close to where you live which could have been an option for me. If you were to shut down the skyway network the city would have a huge decrease in population and residency.
This made me gag. You are not built for urban living and cities are not and should not be designed for people like you. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

I, for one, am glad the new HQ won't have a skyway. I acknowledge their benefits but the net effect is negative.
Well I am not what people may call a "native urban dweller". I grew up in a very rural area, then moved out and lived in the suburbs for a good while until finally moving downtown, because it was going to be an experience. I do enjoy the accessibility of downtown and have adapted rather nicely IMO. I do appreciate the streets and sidewalks however I guess it's no secret that I love the skyway system 10x more!

Some day I think I will have to travel to Dallas and other cities where they have a larger indoor network of walking traffic because I think it would be fun! At times I believe it is more people in the skyways than on the streets perhaps its mostly the commuter works from the suburbs. call me crazy by if Minneapolis is trying to expand their downtown base I don't think "come walk a mile in the snow to the grocery store!" is a good selling point. I know you "native urban dweller's" may disagree but you have to make living downtown "easier and more appealing" for more to buy into the idea. I may not know numbers on where people are coming from but my guess is most are from the metro area already (mainly the suburbs). Also my favorite time to take the skyway is when it's snowing outside or pouring raining rain it makes the city very pretty and I appreciate the skyway so much more at those moments.

Also I would encourage everyone to try to live in the suburbs at some point in time in there lives even if it's just a week vacation in a dense suburbs. I think you will gain from the experience and understand how much more work it is to live a urban lifestyle in downtown.

Also I think Xcel Energy may agree with the idea of creating a skyway to the library. The fact they are creating the option into the design shows they have an intent to possible consider the option which is all I can ask for :mrgreen:


Also maybe if anybody wants to create a skyway thread and explain to me what the negative effects of the Skyway are a bit more in detail that would be great! I know less people walking the streets creates less feeling of safety and less attractive store fronts but why is it so bad to have all our retail inside instead of outside?

and finally If you feel the need to block me :cry: I will say I don't encourage a suburb lifestyle I bought a brand new car out of high school and to think it has already lost about 90% of its value! :cry: Very expensive and impractical lifestyle I love downtown but just not the weather I just wish I could live in a city where I never HAD to go out doors for longer than 10min at a time. :mrgreen:
Yes, you're right, it's easier to get around in inclement weather with the skyways. And I can understand the interest in them as an urban curiosity. If I for some reason found myself in Dallas I'd probably want to explore the walkway.

But living anywhere is about tradeoffs. Living in a suburb means you have to use a car for most of your trips, and getting to the center city is a hassle. But on the other side you've got more space and privacy. Living in the city you've got less space and privacy, but you're right in the center of it all and you're not forced to use a car. For some people they don't mind being in a car (and would prefer it) and they want the extra space, so they make that choice. For others, they're willing to give up that space to get out of the car, and in fact relish the opportunity to run into some interesting characters.

So they're two very different things, and for the most part I'd rather not make a value judgement on either one. The problem is when we try and turn something into something it's not. If we want to make downtown easier to drive in, we can make wider streets and build more parking garages. But that diminishes the activity needed to make a city vibrant, and it slowly dies. If you want those things, move to the suburbs where you can have them (as long as you're willing to pay).

So sure, I find the skyways interesting, and I like to explore them and see what I can see. But more than that I want a vibrant city, and I don't want to sacrifice that for what boils down to an urban curiosity.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby minntransplant » June 22nd, 2012, 6:27 pm

I love the skyway system. It serves an important purpose: it makes working downtown pleasurable and appealing. I question whether downtown Minneapolis would have a workforce of 180,000 if we didn't have our vibrant and quirky skyway network.

Sure, if you limit or destroy the skyway, businesses that would otherwise be there will be forced to the street. But, they will only be busy (or even open at all) during the workday, as not enough people live downtown to support them beyond then. So, you do not create a permanent, vibrant, and diverse street-life. And, importantly, you do it at the cost of making working downtown miserable and annoying, especially in Minneapolis during the winter. I think that would encourage many to relocate to the suburbs or choose suburban office space over downtown office space (as if there are not enough forces making suburban office space attractive).

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby ECtransplant » June 22nd, 2012, 6:34 pm

The positives of the climate controlled skyways matter to me more in the summer than the winter actually! You can always get a good pair of galoshes and heavy wool coat for the winter, but the professional downtown workers who need to be in a suit are saved from the humidity and heat that you can do nothing but suffer in if you must don a suit.

I'm undecided on the net effect of the skyways, but it really should be undisputed that there needs to be better, more visible, and more accessible connections between the streets and skyways.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mulad » June 22nd, 2012, 7:05 pm

Yeah, regardless of whether people like the skyways or not, I hope we can all (or nearly all) agree that they're still going to be around for a long time, and it's in our best interest to make sure they're implemented in a good way.

I think the most frustrating aspect of skyways is that they usually make me feel like I'm walking through a space where I shouldn't be -- though I think that's kind of been the point for some of them. Often the skyways were just plumbed through a random interior hallway, and the appearance is often even more bland than what has been put on the outsides of many modern buildings. They are really pedestrian streets in practical terms, but there's rarely acknowledgement of that fact outside of making doors more secure than they'd otherwise be. Heck, they should probably have names like streets do.

Like ECtransplant said, it has an effect on the wardrobe -- you can often tell who arrived by car and parked in a garage in winter (they're not wearing jackets) and who has come in from the street (wearing jackets, boots, etc.). Walking through the skyways in the summer, it's always clear that the skyways would become oven-like if not for massive amounts of HVAC. Just look at the cooling system for this skyway across the Zumbro in downtown Rochester:

Image
Skyway over the Zumbro by Mulad, on Flickr

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Avian » June 22nd, 2012, 9:53 pm

I'm going to throw out a far more broad issue and thus generate potentially more inflammatory comments. And I think it's good.

The skyways - along with massive shopping malls - operate as a "quasi-public" space. I submit that if certain forces have their way and believe that privatization of public services (and even spaces) should supersede the public realm - in the meager and often unfounded belief of better efficiencies - then we face a horror worse than Orwell's "1984."

As it stands, you can be ejected from the Mall of America - or any skyway - for nearly any reason. That is because the Constitutional guarantee of free speech does not apply to private spaces, with some exceptions.

I have a love/hate relationship with the skyways. If they are meant to be a public connective tissue for the city then they need to be operated under government (i.e. You and Me) decree. And people using them would thus be protected by the US Constitution. If they are meant to be voluntary private connections amongst buildings then people can't complain about the irregularity of hours or the varying rules of use.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
― Plato

web

Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby web » June 22nd, 2012, 10:07 pm

st paul skyways are public

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 22nd, 2012, 10:28 pm

web wrote:st paul skyways are public
Funny you say that. On New Year's Eve a few years back my friends and I tried getting back to our hotel after visiting Sr. Frogs on a VERY cold January 1 night via skyway. We got most of the way back until one of the skyways was locked (although I thought it was open). So I tried to open the sliding doors by hand that weren't meant to be opened that way, thinking that is what was happening up to this point from others who have opened the doors to this point, and I busted the doors' automatic opening mechanism and forced my way through.....right in front of a security officer (a totally innocent mistake)! The security officer seemed sympathetic to the situation but a cop came out from behind a door and wanted heads! A foot chase then pursued, followed by a "man-hunt" by at least a dozen armed officers! Ridiculous!! Public my arse!!!!

web

Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby web » June 23rd, 2012, 11:58 am

well they are public but have hours set by the city it seems
The skyways are not open 24 hours. The city of St. Paul owns the skyways and sets the opening hours for the skyways.
Most of St. Paul's skyways are open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. although some close earlier - anywhere from 7 p.m. to midnight.

minneapolis skyways are private property

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » June 23rd, 2012, 12:16 pm

Clarification. The city of St. PAul owns the Bridges over the street of St. Paul. They do not own the right of way of the passages thru the buildings or stores, such as Macy's.

web

Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby web » June 23rd, 2012, 3:35 pm

aka "the" skyways......the paths thru the stores and buildings in my eyes are not "sky"ways.

but then I would rather be outside

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » June 27th, 2012, 9:58 pm

web wrote:aka "the" skyways......the paths thru the stores and buildings in my eyes are not "sky"ways.

but then I would rather be outside
...well from the ground they are appearing to be in the sky. Of course if you wan't to be technical you could call them "Elevated indoor walkways" but that name doesn't sound as sexy. Also I don't think I ever been in a St. Paul skyway before are they very different than Minneapolis? Sounds like Macy's in St. Paul also is a big part of the skyway too.

This fall I am planning to take a mini vacation to Rochester for a few days and then Duluth mostly because I want to see their skyway network and the design of their downtown areas, haha I'm such a nerd. :lol:

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Ubermoose » June 28th, 2012, 10:52 am

Rochester's system, to me, is the most vital system due to all of the Mayo buildings. My parents were down there a couple of months ago and it was so necessary for my Mom and her wheelchair to get from appointment to appointment and back to the hotel. They couldn't say enough nice things about how easy it is to get around.
In Minneapolis it is a convenience, but has become a bit of our identity. I can't tell you how many visitors I have helped direct to and through the skyways, and that is the next thing on their travel itinerary, checking out the skyway on their way to the next destination.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby JMS9 » June 28th, 2012, 9:47 pm

Rochester also as a very large underground pedestrian subway system too.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby retiredbanker » June 30th, 2012, 12:26 pm

Since there's a thread for discussion about our skyway system. Let me ask this very talented, knowledgeable & imaginative membership of urbanmsp a question. If you had an opportunity to have a 15-minute meeting with a developer who was planning a tower(s) in the downtown core of Minneapolis. What would your ideas & techniques be to create better pedestrian traffic flow from the skyway to street level and vice versa? There is no right or wrong answer here, just curious on what this memberships ideas are to accomplish that objective. Thank you in advance, looking forward to your ideas.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mnmike » June 30th, 2012, 1:01 pm

I think there should be skyways...may as well continue what we have, but I have always thought that each one should have a direct connection to the sidewalk for ease of access between the street level and skyway. So you are not stuck in the skyway and see something on the street you want, and vice versa.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby ECtransplant » June 30th, 2012, 1:11 pm

retiredbanker wrote:Since there's a thread for discussion about our skyway system. Let me ask this very talented, knowledgeable & imaginative membership of urbanmsp a question. If you had an opportunity to have a 15-minute meeting with a developer who was planning a tower(s) in the downtown core of Minneapolis. What would your ideas & techniques be to create better pedestrian traffic flow from the skyway to street level and vice versa? There is no right or wrong answer here, just curious on what this memberships ideas are to accomplish that objective. Thank you in advance, looking forward to your ideas.
The most important things, IMO:

1. It needs to be highly visible and intuitive how to access/move from the street to the skyway and vice versa. This could be accomplished via stairways directly from the street to the skyway.
2. When navigating the skyway level it should always be obvious how you're oriented relative to the street grid.
3. There needs to be accessible street level retail in addition to any skyway retail. You should be able to transition between the two seamlessly. A good example of this is Gaviidae Common that allows access to the street level stores both from the street and skyway.
4. There needs to be appropriate street signage to indicate where any skyway level retail is located.
5. There needs to be a mix of retail that will service more than just the business crowd during lunch and on the commute home.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mplser » June 30th, 2012, 7:15 pm

retiredbanker wrote:Since there's a thread for discussion about our skyway system. Let me ask this very talented, knowledgeable & imaginative membership of urbanmsp a question. If you had an opportunity to have a 15-minute meeting with a developer who was planning a tower(s) in the downtown core of Minneapolis. What would your ideas & techniques be to create better pedestrian traffic flow from the skyway to street level and vice versa? There is no right or wrong answer here, just curious on what this memberships ideas are to accomplish that objective. Thank you in advance, looking forward to your ideas.
I would tell them to include skyway connections but make the entrance separate from the main building entrance. Make a direct outdoor entrance with a stairway that would be completely visible through the windows to avoid confusion. It would need signage that says "skyway" and could be an extremely easy access point to the system. I don't think the skyways have to be as detrimental to the street life as they are. with better in/out circulation the skyways could work together with the sidewalks to create a pedestrian paradise.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mnmike » June 30th, 2012, 7:44 pm

Everyone seems to be on the same page here! Too bad this hasn't been done yet.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby PhilmerPhil » July 1st, 2012, 1:56 am

Maybe have a requirement banning all retail in the skyway level of new construction. Would probably be hard to pull off from a legal standpoint though.


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