24.1.17

Downtown Saint Paul Skyway Tour this Saturday! *First Ever*

So I've done three or four walking tours of the Downtown Minneapolis skyway system. It's fascinating labyrinth that illustrates all kinds of architectural and social science principles and it's one of my favorite things to do. Each time I experience a slightly different perspective on the city, and learn something new about everyday Minneapolis.

Well Saint Paul has a skyway system too, and its differences are small but really meaningful. Most importantly, each skyway in Saint Paul is identical with the next (with one exception) and each was publicly bought and owned by the city itself. That changes things in some ways, and is an irrelevant (and perhaps counter-productive) difference in others.

So with some research help from an urban sociology class at Augsburg University, we're going to dive in and explore the Saint Paul skyway on a Saturday afternoon, an unmagical land of mundane beige brimming over with failed urban renewal efforts, paradoxical public/private situations, spaces for lease, actually existing businesses, bastardized historic preservation and more!

[The end of a little remembered era.]
Here's some food for thought:
The Unwritten Rules of Skyway Etiquette, by Mark McGinty
1) Stay to the right.
2) Move quickly towards your destination in an orderly manner.
3) No zig-zagging.
4) No stopping to gawk at merchandise.
5) No stopping at all.
6) No looking at merchandise.
7) When traveling in groups, stay close together in tight little packs - do not walk side-by-side-by-side-by-side.
8) Keep the luggage to a minimum.
 9) No phone calls unless you're using an earpiece or headset in which case you kind of look like a D-Bag. 
10) By all means if you need to turn around, exit and enter somewhere else - do not just stop, turn around and start walking directly into the coming masses, people! 

Follow these rules and you will live longer!!!

Skyways are one of those rare urban design topics where I almost always have a good discussion with people who disagree with me. Come and find out for yourself and discover a new perspective on Saint Paul and its small but firmly entrenched skyway system.

[Your "standard" Saint Paul skyway looks like this.]
[A typical mid-day scene in the Saint Paul skyway's ambiguously "successful" urban redevelopment epicenter.]

What: First Ever Tour of the Downtown Saint Paul Skyway System (approx. 2 mile walk)
Who: Anyone, free to the public 
When: Saturday, January 28th, 2pm to 4pm
Why: To learn about the past and present downtown Saint Paul
Where: Meet 7th Place and Wabasha Street, between the trees by the "no feeding the pigeons" sign

[A typical scene from Saint Paul's newest skyway, the controversial "Central Station" connection.]    
More reading from over the last 10+ years:

Minneapolis, Saint Paul Separating on Skyways

My Way or the Skyway

Four Suggested Skyway Improvements

Unconjoined Twin Cities: A Catalogue of Difference

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