Minneapolis Skyway System

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
go4guy
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby go4guy » October 3rd, 2014, 11:33 am

Anyone that has been in the skyways know there is not room, and it would probably be unsafe for bikers in there. Plus, the skyways are private investment. They aren't going to want to remodel and lose other space to accomodate bikers.

nBode
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby nBode » October 3rd, 2014, 11:37 am

I've got to agree with VAStationDude and go4guy on that one. The skyways are equivalent to sidewalks in scale and function. They're meant for walking. If we were to develop a bicycle skyway, it'd have to be an entirely separate system, which would be ridiculously complicated and expensive, I'd imagine. I agree it would be a unique draw, though.

Just had the thought to do a bicycle subway system. But that would have all sorts of issues as well (safety comes to mind).

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby FISHMANPET » October 3rd, 2014, 11:43 am

Also how would you get through Macy's.

Wedgeguy
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » October 3rd, 2014, 12:01 pm

FISHMANPET wrote:Also how would you get through Macy's.
Try doing the stairs, on a bike, in a few of the Skyways. Like the set between the NorthStar and the Quebec or the Public Safety Building going to the Haaft Ramp. Dealing with doors would also be a Bich!!

grant1simons2
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby grant1simons2 » October 3rd, 2014, 12:02 pm

Well I guess it's time to post this again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCdSPvsjx9w

acs
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby acs » October 3rd, 2014, 8:24 pm

The Vikings just released a new stadium update touting the Stadium's connection to the skyway system through the bridge we already knew about. However, it also shows HCMC being connected to the rest of the system along the south side of the mall via the armory. Maybe they made a mistake, or maybe Wilf has plans for the Armory. It's definitely a needed connection.

http://www.newminnesotastadium.com/new- ... 3_32848866

Lancestar2

Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » October 3rd, 2014, 11:39 pm

acs wrote:The Vikings just released a new stadium update touting the Stadium's connection to the skyway system through the bridge we already knew about. However, it also shows HCMC being connected to the rest of the system along the south side of the mall via the armory. Maybe they made a mistake, or maybe Wilf has plans for the Armory. It's definitely a needed connection.

http://www.newminnesotastadium.com/new- ... 3_32848866
Wow thanks for posting! a very neat map. I would point out that it does not have the Newly completed Nic on 5th or North/South corridor next to Chicago Ave. That corridor goes from Washington down into the Plaza (perhaps that's not finalized yet? considering the grocery store has yet to be name.?) and has at least 3 skyway to street transition points. A huge part of that expansion was not even included, so perhaps it's not completely reliable. A note worth mentioning on the direct link..

http://prod.static.vikings.clubs.nfl.co ... 100314.jpg

It says the word Tunnel. Not very sound evidence but maybe we will be seeing a proposal to connect HCMC within the next few weeks or so? Just imagine, a sidewalk to tunnel (skyway network) connection outside next to the plaza! Sure would be a neat and unique feature.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » October 4th, 2014, 10:39 am

There is a skyway to tunnel at the Century Link building in St. St. Paul that leads to the Library and the Xcel Center. I do not see a skyway even touching the Armory block. It would look awful running like the skyway from the WF Operations Center to the big parking ramp on Washington. That would look ugly and spoil the view of the Armory from the Commons. Doing a tunnel would require some more utility relocation and I don't see that happening, just because of cost. My south spine would work much better and promote the filling of underdeveloped parking lots.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » October 4th, 2014, 10:50 am

Tcmetro wrote:Manhattan has a very dense core, but the reason it feels busier there is because their core is ringed by high-density, walkable neighborhoods where owning a car is expensive and not worth the hassle. In Minneapolis, the core is ringed by freeways and industrial zones, and the immediately adjacent neighborhoods are low-density and owning a car is very easy. To simplify, the core of Manhattan meshes with residential neighborhoods, whereas the core of Minneapolis is walled off from where people live, by busy roads and land uses.

If Minneapolis had a high density in the neighborhoods surrounding Downtown in the 1950s, skyways would have never happened. The streets would have already been the focus point for businesses, as that's where everyone would have already been traveling. Minneapolis in the 1950s and 60s was very smart to implement the skyway system. It helped keep the jobs from moving out to suburban office parks a la Saint Louis and Detroit, as they offered a means to navigate the city in a climate controlled manner. This probably gave Downtown Minneapolis a competitive edge over other cities because the skyways allowed access to a variety of lunchtime restaurants and fostered easy contacts between businesses in different buildings in the core. Skyways will never permeate the North Loop or the Mill District or Loring Park or Elliot Park, as those neighborhoods are too low-rise to accommodate them and because they don't attract the all day traffic necessary to create the demand for them. Any such skyway would be primarily used by commuters.

This being said, as much as the skyways detract from the street level, I think that the skyway system remains an important part of downtown, and a few extensions should be pursued. I think that HCMC and MCTC should be linked up to the network, and perhaps some missing links in the core should be built. We also need more street-skyway interaction in the core. I think it would be very nice to see some projects similar to the proposed IDS Nicollet Mall staircase connection to the skyway throughout downtown. I also think that large portals should be built on the ends of the network. We could have four or five of these large "portals", one at the Mill District, one at Elliot Park, one at Loring Park, and one in the North Loop. These "portals" could have some sort of market place at the end, preferably near high-volume bus stops. I think these "portals" could become important nodes in the neighborhoods on the edge of the core. I also think a skyway connection to Target Field Station will become useful once the Duluth and Chicago lines are in service.
Thanks for that post, could not agree more on all of your points. You very much understand the pros and cons of the skyway system and where the economic of them no longer pays off. I very much agree with you on the portal districts. They make great sense. Thank for you post again.

TroyGBiv
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby TroyGBiv » October 5th, 2014, 3:37 pm

There are some other economic benefits to skyways. It has for the most part doubled the potential retail space from only ground/sidewalk level to extending up to the second floor. New York is a tough comparison - but you are totally correct in residential density. The foot traffic is key to improving safety and to grow the street level retail and other services. To my thinking the best integration of both levels is the IDS Crystal Court. Gaviidae is good too but hasn't been able to weather the economy to keep retail healthy.

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Nick
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby Nick » October 5th, 2014, 5:56 pm

We live in a 1980s moonbase.

Image

mattaudio
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mattaudio » October 7th, 2014, 10:56 am

Wow, Nic on 5th sure has quite the street presence on Marquette :p

mamundsen
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mamundsen » October 8th, 2014, 12:06 pm

Remembering the bike in the skyways talk we were having earlier this month... I saw TWO Mpls bike cops in the skyways over lunch today. One was in Mayo Clinic Square, the other out in Ramp A (headed for Target Center).

I've never seen that before. And I saw it 2x in 5 min! Haha

grrdanko
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby grrdanko » December 21st, 2014, 3:24 pm

With the expanding skyway system and the increasing downtown population I think it's time for a discussion about keeping the skyways open later. I also think it would be great if more of the shops on the skyway were open evenings and weekends. I know many people on this forum think skyways are bad urbanism, but I think they are a great asset to our city. No many places have 2 "sidewalk" zones. I believe there is plenty of room for vibrant sidewalk life and vibrant skyway life. The skyway connection is one of the main reasons I decided to live where I live.

nickmgray
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby nickmgray » December 22nd, 2014, 9:59 am

I'm all for the skyway being open later, but I don't think there's much incentive for many of the businesses to stay open late. Yes, it would be nice for those who live downtown or work afternoon of evening shifts, but there's simply not enough demand to make it financially feasible. Let's not forget that every shop or restaurant is in the business of making money. If they could stay open later and make money doing so, they would.

grrdanko
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby grrdanko » December 22nd, 2014, 12:34 pm

nickmgray wrote:I'm all for the skyway being open later, but I don't think there's much incentive for many of the businesses to stay open late. Yes, it would be nice for those who live downtown or work afternoon of evening shifts, but there's simply not enough demand to make it financially feasible. Let's not forget that every shop or restaurant is in the business of making money. If they could stay open later and make money doing so, they would.

I don't think it's that all these business can't make money beyond normal business hours. Many of these buildings lock the doors to the street after 6 even though the skyway is still open till 10. In a few years there will be thousands more skyway connected residents in Downtown Minneapolis; additionally there will be over a thousand new hotel rooms. I would like to see the building management and the skyway businesses see the value of being open late. I see convenience stores, liquor stores, restaurants and the lunch places being able to be profitable beyond normal business hours if the skyways are open. Obviously not every business will be able to be open till 11 or 12, but I do think some of them could.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby mullen » December 22nd, 2014, 2:05 pm

the only people who matter do not want the skways open later though. the building owners. and this is the flaw of the skyways. sucks life off the street and only really works during the 9-5 business day. (6-6) or whatever. no coordinated wayfinding system, no coordinated hours. been this way for 50 years. they work great as an office worker funnel for the business day. or provide direct access to parking garages after arena/stadium events. that's it. the skyway system on a saturday is a depressing, quiet place mishmash of some buildings being open and some locked. i wanted to enter the skyway this past saturday afternoon via the target office lobby..of course the doors were locked to the mall.

the opportunity to connect them to the street with the nicollet mall renovation was axed beacuse building owners didn't want to deal with possible liability issues or provide greater general public access. but they're great if you need to grab lunch and work downtown. there isn't any incentive for them to be open beyond the work day. and all of the restaurants are just there for the work day lunch hour. with a few exceptions, such as the subway across from the target store.

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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby EOst » December 22nd, 2014, 2:34 pm

What if the city were to assume liability and maybe some operational costs?

stockman
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Re: Minneapolis Skyway System

Postby stockman » December 22nd, 2014, 2:38 pm

mullen is right. skyways just help workers walk an extra block without a coat for lunch on very cold days (and unfortunately on the most days of the year that are perfectly fine for outdoor walking). But really, if its really cold out, and you don't want to walk far -- then go to the lunch place in your building, or the one across the street. If the skyways weren't there, it is not like there would not be any nearby lunch options for workers. Some of these places might then stay open into the evening, especially where there are residents, if they were on the street and had more consistent foot traffic across the day.

There's also the argument for the people who walk to work that they couldn't do this without the skyways in winter. As for walk-commuters and longer walking routes, one option could be more of a metro-like network of key skyway routes rather than connecting every building. Or a network of downtown circulator bus routes with heated shelters and very frequent service? The latter could be done now without taking down skyways.

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Re: Skyways

Postby twincitizen » December 22nd, 2014, 2:44 pm

PhilmerPhil of July 2012 wrote: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.
PhilmerPhil of February 2014 wrote: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.
This idea deserves more attention. Phil suggested it over 2 years ago, and he and I both have regurgitated it since. PHIL - write a dang streets.mn post already!!

I don't see why the zoning code couldn't be amended to prohibit 2nd floor retail in future construction. Perhaps it could be allowed only as a conditional use. There would be requirements about providing active street frontage and street-to-skyway connections if one really wanted to build *new* skyway level retail. You can still do it, you just need to meet conditions x, y, and z.


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