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Monday, December 5, 2016

skyways and streets

MDC Director wrote the following letter published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on December 5, 2016 in response to an editorial written about Eric Dayton's efforts to get people out of the downtown skyways and into the streets:

They are but one reason walkers opt against using street level

The point to make about Minneapolis’s skyways is not whether they are good or bad; they are, as the Star Tribune Editorial Board says, here to stay (“Find ways to improve skyways, streetscapes,” Nov. 28). The real issue is why Minneapolis has so many unpleasant streets. While the new Nicollet Mall, now under construction, will draw people out of the skyways, few other downtown streets ever will as long as they remain devoted to moving a maximum number of vehicles as fast as possible. We might learn from central Barcelona, Spain, in which through-traffic gets routed around “superblocks,” where the streets in multiblock areas provide vehicle access only to parking ramps, freeing up nearly 60 percent of the public right of way for pedestrians. Great cities have great streets, and if we want to be the former, we need more of the latter.

Tom Fisher, St. Paul

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