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Public Safety a Growing Concern in St. Paul Skyways

As more people come to Downtown St. Paul to live and sightsee, foot traffic in the city's famous skyways has increased at later hours of the day and night. With that new traffic comes new concerns about public safety.
May 13, 2016, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Michael Hicks

"Skyway problems are a result of growing pains in St. Paul," according to an article by Jessie Van Berkel, as downtown draws more visitors and residents.

Though the skyways "bustle with hordes of office workers" during the day, according to van Berkel, "by 6 p.m. an uneasy quiet settles over the skyways, which are increasingly a setting for conflict as loitering teens, homeless people and new downtown residents converge."

That narrative is borne out by crime statistics. Police have issued 77 Skyway conduct violations this year already, after issuing two during all of 2011. "The number of police reports that mention the word “skyway” has more than tripled from an average of 100 a year in the early 2000s to 353 over the past year," reports Van Berkel.

The article includes a lot more insight into the debate about how to improve the public safety of the skyways—local officials want to reduce risks while also encouraging the use of skyways. The design and planning of skyways has been a source of debate for a long time in the Twin Citiesplayed out most famously in recent years by a design proposal from James Corner Field Operations (of High Line fame) for a renovated Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis

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Published on Sunday, May 8, 2016 in StarTribune
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