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Calling for a Moratorium on Skywalks in Spokane

Despite declining use of existing skywalks in the city and a new appreciation of the importance of a pedestrian-friendly streetscape, developers are moving forward with several plans to add new skywalks around downtown Spokane.
June 15, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Spokane’s venerable skywalk system has served the city and the region for almost fifty years, allowing pedestrians the ability to cross between buildings without braving the elements," according to an article by Anthony Gill. "But while the system once received significant use (one 1984 study found 43,200 crossings in a single July day) and allowed small businesses to thrive in the second floor of downtown buildings, the skywalks today sit with minimal use."

After making the common points about how skywalks harm the use and vitality of sidealks, and thus the use and vitality of the downtown neighborhood, Gill notes that the city of Spokane is persisting with the expansion of skywalks.

According to Gill, "Walt Worthy and the Public Facilities District in 2014 constructed a new skywalk to link the Davenport Grand and the Convention Center. And now, Cowles Company, the owner of the Spokesman-Review, KHQ, and River Park Square, intends to replace two sets of skywalks in the Macy’s Building, which it recently purchased."

Instead of continuing with the status quo, Gill calls for a one-year moratorium on the construction of skywalks, and suggests a course of action to be taken during that time.

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Published on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Spokane Rising
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