Skywalk Plan Threatens Cleveland's Budding Street Life

A downtown Cleveland casino is pushing to build a skywalk to connect to its parking garage located across the street. Recognizing the anti-urban implications of the plan, an unlikely activist has organized opposition to the project.
April 17, 2013, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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While cities like Minneapolis bemoan the deadening effect of skyways on the city's street life, and Baltimore and Cincinnati tear theirs out, Cleveland seems to be headed in the opposite direction, with the support of the Cleveland Planning Commission and the mayor. 

Sarah Goodyear looks at plans put forth by the owners of the year-old Horseshoe Casino to build a brand-new skywalk, and the group that has emerged to fight the plan. "For many of the young people moving to Cleveland in search of a 21st-century urban experience – pedestrian-friendly, with lots of people out and about – it seems like a step backward in time."

"'I’m not typically the activist type,' says Joe Baur, a 26-year-old writer who moved downtown two years ago and has now started a group called OurCLE to fight the skywalks."

"Baur and other opponents of the skywalk have started a petition drive to stop the construction, saying it would deaden the neighborhood, make residents more vulnerable to crime, and block sightlines of other historic buildings in the neighborhood," reports Goodyear. "A new skywalk, he says, will stall the city’s momentum just as it’s beginning to pick up, making downtown streets less inviting by reinforcing old stereotypes. 'It adds to the perception that the city is dangerous,' says Baur."

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Published on Monday, April 15, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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