Debate Over Minneapolis Skyways Continues

Minneapolis is working to turn the deteriorating Nicollet Mall into a vibrant public space—even hiring James Corner Field Operations (of High-Line fame) as designer. Will the revitalization of the area require the removal of the mall’s four skyways?
February 6, 2014, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The city of Minneapolis has set a goal to turn Nicollet Mall into “one of the most vibrant, efficient and appealing public spaces in America.”

Sam Newberg recently presented his case for the revitalization of Nicolett Mall, which includes tearing down four of the mall’s skyways: “Whether or not we spend $40-plus million to rebuild the street and then more to route a streetcar down the middle, we should completely overhaul the zoning code for buildings fronting Nicollet – we need a form-based code for the buildings and the street. And we should consider tearing down the four skyways that cross Nicollet between 5th Street and 10th Street.”

That argument provoked a response, posted a few days later, from Iric Nathanson: “Today, we have a pedestrian system that connects 80 downtown blocks. It may be confusing and somewhat intimidating for first-time users, but it is a system without breaks. To sever the links between downtown’s west end, past Hennepin, and its east end, beyond Nicollet, would do irreparable harm to the system as a whole.”

Last fall, James Corner Field Operations embraced the skyways in its proposed revitalization plan. 

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Published on Friday, January 31, 2014 in Minneapolis Post
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