Minneapolis Skyway System

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
lordmoke
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby lordmoke » July 10th, 2012, 11:01 am

While the obvious cause of this is that people would rather be outside for nice weather and the food trucks are giving them that option, I'd like to think that maybe their presence is helping people realize how nice vibrant streets are.

http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/p ... rucks.html

Wedgeguy
Capella Tower
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » July 10th, 2012, 2:09 pm

With the food trucks on the street they are making it a bit difficult for the poor quality skyway restraunts. Now a few more dining table would be nice and things would be much better. New buildings need to be design so that there is an easy transition from street to skylevel. They do a better job of that in St. PAul.

Aville_37
Union Depot
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Skyways

Postby Aville_37 » April 4th, 2013, 4:00 am

Not sure if there is a thread here or not. If so - please feel free to move. Here is a link to a random article I found. Second photo is an idea for using skyways as place making tools/district gateways.

http://www.fastmall.com/blog/?p=933

skyrab

Skyways

Postby skyrab » February 4th, 2014, 11:52 pm

Skyways, love 'em, hate 'em, a link to an article about the merits and drawbacks to creating a vibrant, urban street as the design of Nicollet Mall is articulated.
http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/ ... s/5211623/

shaqwn
Block E
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby shaqwn » February 5th, 2014, 10:32 am

This argument always gets me:

"'Just by simple math it pulls people up into the skyway even on the nicest days of the year. It takes life off the streets and that's too bad," said urbanist Sam Newberg, owner of Joe Urban consultant business and regular blogger at Streets.mn."

Of course that's true if all else is equal. But for the math to be that simple, it has to be the case that the skyways have not contributed to density nor will they be a catalyst for density in the future. It's hard to believe that is true. Developer behavior does not support that conclusion. Anecdotal polls of people in the skyways does not either. Nor do examples from other cities that grew up in the last 100 years in locations like Minneapolis without natural constraints to a low density downtown. Minneapolis is not built on an island, hemmed in by mountains or surrounded on 3 sides by water. Contrast Atlanta and Kansas City to Minneapolis (Skyway) and Houston (tunnels). It may be that on balance it is best to do away with skyways, but you can't just ignore the incentive they give builders, corporations and people to locate in a compact core.

Wedgeguy
Capella Tower
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Wedgeguy » February 5th, 2014, 10:54 am

shaqwn wrote:This argument always gets me:

"'Just by simple math it pulls people up into the skyway even on the nicest days of the year. It takes life off the streets and that's too bad," said urbanist Sam Newberg, owner of Joe Urban consultant business and regular blogger at Streets.mn."

Of course that's true if all else is equal. But for the math to be that simple, it has to be the case that the skyways have not contributed to density nor will they be a catalyst for density in the future. It's hard to believe that is true. Developer behavior does not support that conclusion. Anecdotal polls of people in the skyways does not either. Nor do examples from other cities that grew up in the last 100 years in locations like Minneapolis without natural constraints to a low density downtown. Minneapolis is not built on an island, hemmed in by mountains or surrounded on 3 sides by water. Contrast Atlanta and Kansas City to Minneapolis (Skyway) and Houston (tunnels). It may be that on balance it is best to do away with skyways, but you can't just ignore the incentive they give builders, corporations and people to locate in a compact core.
I agree with you. Until lately, there has been no reason to walk the street due to lousy street level planning. The Food trucks, and the outdoor patios and street seating has bought people out to the streets again. Give them a reason to get out of the gerbil tubes and they will come. With all of the empty space in the skyway levels it must mean that there are fewer people using the skyways, or a lot fewer people working downtown than there used to be. I really doubt both those statements are true. Will see how things shake out by fall when we have even more new residents in the downtown area.

mattaudio
Stone Arch Bridge
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mattaudio » February 5th, 2014, 12:25 pm

Skyways might have saved our downtown from becoming Kansas City or Atlanta in the era of the car-oriented suburban experiment, and I'm thankful for that. But the reality is that skyways, in 2014, split the downtown street life and consumer base into two competing segments even within the same block.

In the short term, more connectivity between street and skyway would be great. In the long term, we should wonder if these are helping or hurting.

nordeast homer
US Bank Plaza
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby nordeast homer » February 5th, 2014, 12:59 pm

Love 'em, use 'em every time I'm downtown. I believe downtown is better because of them. In some buildings they need to create access to the street level, but beyond that I believe they are an asset, not a liability. Most people I've talked to from out of town think they're great!

talindsay
Wells Fargo Center
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby talindsay » February 5th, 2014, 4:01 pm

nordeast homer wrote:Love 'em, use 'em every time I'm downtown. I believe downtown is better because of them. In some buildings they need to create access to the street level, but beyond that I believe they are an asset, not a liability. Most people I've talked to from out of town think they're great!
I agree. They do definitely have negative aspects, but many months of the year they're the only street life we can have. A better focus on street retail, better urban design at the street, and better connections between skyways and the street will allow street life to grow while the skyways remain. And in the dead of winter, skyways are really pretty great.

RailBaronYarr
Capella Tower
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 5th, 2014, 4:19 pm

If Minneapolis or St Paul are better than other non-geographically constrained cities (as if that's really an excuse for the way we made policy choices to build out in this country..) it's by a very, very marginal amount. On the spectrum of "good architecture and urban design" to "Detroit," Minneapolis and Houston fall squarely on the Detroit side of the scale. As we try to encourage the rebuilding of downtown and other near-core areas, we shouldn't hold up one of the tools that allowed easy drive/park/skyway walk for commuters, since they facilitated far more people to do that rather than continue to live/work downtown.

IMO, Nicollet Mall is a great place to start. It's one of the (if not) best pedestrian streets in the city. Networks on either side still allow office workers to go between buildings, but when they need to cross, they can do so without waiting for a light. This should also encourage the re-use of space to meet the Mall with retail and restaurants without going gung-ho on trying to tear down an entire above-grade network.

PhilmerPhil
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Re: Skyways

Postby PhilmerPhil » February 5th, 2014, 4:22 pm

Is there some way to have zoning ban skyway level retail frontage and require all retail in new buildings to face the street? I'd be cool with having skyways exist with the sole function of connecting buildings. It's their use as retail corridors that take away from the street level experience.

nordeast homer
US Bank Plaza
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Re: Skyways

Postby nordeast homer » February 5th, 2014, 4:38 pm

You would have dead streets AND dead skyways then. The point of retail is to be where the traffic is and, good or bad, people will not go out in the winter if they don't have to. The genie is already out of the bottle. The skyways are not going to go away. We have proven time and time again that there is not enough support for street level retail and you can't force retailers to put a store in a place where they can't make money.
If I were a retailer I'd look at opportunities where I could have street presence during the summer, whether it's a smaller strore front or a kiosk, and skyway presence year 'round.

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FISHMANPET
IDS Center
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Re: Skyways

Postby FISHMANPET » February 5th, 2014, 5:17 pm

All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again:
https://forum.streets.mn/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=166

blobs
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby blobs » February 5th, 2014, 5:29 pm

Pipe dream: think how successful the skyway system--and street--would be if it were pumped and became something on an indoor mall, on par with the Mall of America.

If you had all the details right: street access, escalators, parking, standard open and close hours, security, etc you could really have something like the MOA but in a downtown setting.

MOA is 4 levels. DT is two levels: skyway and street. It could be done and a huge success and national and international draw like the MOA.

mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mattaudio » February 5th, 2014, 6:00 pm

MOA has "free" parking... wrapped into the cost of leases.

ECtransplant
US Bank Plaza
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby ECtransplant » February 5th, 2014, 6:01 pm

Thinking downtown needs to emulate suburban malls is how we got the likes of the building formerly known as block e

mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mattaudio » February 5th, 2014, 6:08 pm

^ -1

Cities are now winning on cities' terms. No need to be a suburb.

nordeast homer
US Bank Plaza
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby nordeast homer » February 5th, 2014, 7:45 pm

blobs wrote:Pipe dream: think how successful the skyway system--and street--would be if it were pumped and became something on an indoor mall, on par with the Mall of America.

If you had all the details right: street access, escalators, parking, standard open and close hours, security, etc you could really have something like the MOA but in a downtown setting.

MOA is 4 levels. DT is two levels: skyway and street. It could be done and a huge success and national and international draw like the MOA.
We had that proposal about 25 years ago from a company called LSGI out of France. They wanted to cover about 4 blocks of Nicollet Mall. The proposal was on the table a lot longer than I thought it would be. It had a very European lean, as one would expect.

MplsSteve
Nicollet Mall
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby MplsSteve » February 5th, 2014, 10:54 pm

I think it's unfair (and a little lazy) to blame skyways on the demise of street level activity. The first skyways opened in the early 1960's and within 10 years we had a fairly extensive network. However from the 1960's into the 1980's we still had a lot of street level activity. The decline had a lot to do with the changing nature of retail downtown. We used to have a number of large department stores that created a lot of traffic on both the street and skyway levels. There were also many smaller retail buildings (not skyway connected) especially on the south end of the mall that housed well established destination retailers. The proliferation of fortress-like developments really has made the downtown street level very uninviting.

Also consider that skyways have advantages beyond climate control. You're removed from motorists and bicyclists who have become increasingly careless about the rights of pedestrians. You don't have to cross streets where the lights are timed for the benefit of automobiles. You don't have to breath in clouds of cigarette smoke that linger in every doorway.

Tyler
Foshay Tower
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Tyler » February 5th, 2014, 10:59 pm

Hey guys.
It's cold.
Yo.
Towns!


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