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Old 03-12-2013, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
I support the plan.
Why?
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:09 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Why?
The network is a product the Charles Center "urban renewal" project, ca. 1960, and also a small mall-like area in another office building. Much of the skywalk through Charles Center is currently closed (much of Charles Center is vacant, awaiting redevelopment) and the mall-like area is mostly vacant except for a few restaurants for office workers.

The skywalks detract from street level pedestrian activity. If they were protected from the elements, I could understand the case for their saving. But ours aren't. I could also understand the case for them in places with extreme weather, which isn't Baltimore.

Additionally, by shunting pedestrian traffic to overpasses, underpasses, etc., the streets below tend to become speedways (thinking specifically about Pratt St). Pedestrian overpasses are good for getting people across suburban arterials, train tracks, or expressways, but the main drag of the central business district should not be turned into an expressway.

CBDs thrive when there is an abundence of street-level, non-motorized activity. The Charles Center development allowed its workers to drive or take the subway to work, come right upstairs from underneath, and never set foot on the street.

While the design of our skywalks was born of good intentions, they helped to create a dead zone right in the heart of the CBD.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
The network is a product the Charles Center "urban renewal" project, ca. 1960, and also a small mall-like area in another office building. Much of the skywalk through Charles Center is currently closed (much of Charles Center is vacant, awaiting redevelopment) and the mall-like area is mostly vacant except for a few restaurants for office workers.

The skywalks detract from street level pedestrian activity. If they were protected from the elements, I could understand the case for their saving. But ours aren't. I could also understand the case for them in places with extreme weather, which isn't Baltimore.
I can understand how in this specific example about how in Baltimore, there doesn't seem to be a huge need for all of this extra infrastructure, especially when the Charles Center is mostly vacant and being re-developed, and I also totally understand the charm and 'cool factor' of having a vibrant street life, however I don't think most skywalks really take away from this... If I'm an office worker and I want to get from one building to the next, or to the parking garage, or to the subway/train/bus and I can take a covered skywalk (I take one every day to get to the adjacent shopping mall from my building to get lunch and sometimes, my car) I'm going to want to have that option available most of the time because it just makes life easier. If there's something downstairs worth my time, then I'll forgo the option of using the overhead walkway and go to the street level. If enough people decide that there are worthwhile businesses downstairs, they will thrive. Maybe not in the Baltimore example, but pretty much anywhere I've seen these walkways, that's the case.

I like the idea of a bypass, so that I don't have to wade through crowds of people on the street to get to my destination, if I have no desire to shop or stop somewhere en route. I don't want to be bothered with slow moving crowds in my way in the name of "vibrant street life" when I have somewhere I'd rather be than taking the time to get there. And personally, I doubt most office workers who commute into the CBD of major cities every day want to "mingle" in the "vibrant street life" on their way to and from work, maybe lunch hour or smoke breaks, but otherwise, they'd like to get where they want to go as quickly as possible. Kind of why I really like bypass highways/roads and interstates...if I wanted to check out some town or "main street", I'd go that way, otherwise I'd like to be on my way with minimal interruption. Same goes on foot, when I'm in Manhattan, I'll use subway transfer tunnels all the time to bypass heavy pedestrian areas, or use less-known, less touristy streets to get around. 44th-50th streets > 42nd street, IMO. That is, unless something I want is on 42nd street.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
The Charles Center development allowed its workers to drive or take the subway to work, come right upstairs from underneath, and never set foot on the street.
This is exactly the ideal environment which I'd like, if I had to work in an urban office area, lol.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:59 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
I can understand how in this specific example about how in Baltimore, there doesn't seem to be a huge need for all of this extra infrastructure, especially when the Charles Center is mostly vacant and being re-developed, and I also totally understand the charm and 'cool factor' of having a vibrant street life, however I don't think most skywalks really take away from this...
I don't have a negative opinion of all skywalks, as I indicated, but I do not like ours. However, it's not just a "cool factor" - the idea that cities are "cool" or amusements for suburbanites is sort of an idea of the urban renewal movement as well. They can however, take away from street-level retail and "synergy," which has had negative economic consequences for our CBD. That may not matter one bit to the person commuting in from a different municipality, but it matters to those paying taxes to the city.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
This is exactly the ideal environment which I'd like, if I had to work in an urban office area, lol.
Yup. It's common for people not to want to interact with persons of lesser economic class. I just don't think it's healthy for communities, and I think a lot of our problems are born of our desire to segregate. Which is a whole different discussion.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,522 posts, read 12,282,796 times
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Chicago has an underground walkway system called the pedway (Google Image Result for http://www.spiegl.org/pedway/ped.jpg)

The city doesn't go out of its way to publicize it, so a lot of Chicagoans don't even know it exists. Its good for escaping the bad weather we get on occasion, but it doesn't suck away street life due to limited capacity and publicity.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:16 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,795 posts, read 11,761,346 times
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I like the concept but I have no idea how it looks in reality. Youtube?
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
I don't have a negative opinion of all skywalks, as I indicated, but I do not like ours. However, it's not just a "cool factor" - the idea that cities are "cool" or amusements for suburbanites is sort of an idea of the urban renewal movement as well. They can however, take away from street-level retail and "synergy," which has had negative economic consequences for our CBD. That may not matter one bit to the person commuting in from a different municipality, but it matters to those paying taxes to the city.
The idea that cities are "cool" or amusements for suburbanites (or visitors from other cities or rural areas for that matter) brings in millions of dollars for these cities, and if people are going to want to walk around and shop, and there is a demand for this type of retail destination, then it works fine. People who work downtown every day, whether they commute from some suburb, take the bus from the inner city or walk 6 blocks should be able to ideally bypass the "synergy" of the street life so that they can just get to their desks or get home quicker. This, to me, is more important than adding a little more "vibrancy" by forcing everyone to cram onto sidewalks for everything. Kind of the same reason why I like the idea of bypass roads and single-use development as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Yup. It's common for people not to want to interact with persons of lesser economic class. I just don't think it's healthy for communities, and I think a lot of our problems are born of our desire to segregate. Which is a whole different discussion.
Healthy or not, it is part of human nature and how people have always been. If my desire to live in a single use, suburban single family home detracts from some nearby city's "vibrancy" because I'm not out mingling with the masses all the time, so be it. And personally, I have no problems interacting with people of lower economic class, I don't like going to certain areas of predominately lower class which breed a criminal element which would negatively affect my life. I'm sure there are correlations between an areas wealth and crime levels, however I personally am not stating any particular facts about this other than the anecdotal evidence I've experienced in my life.

My desire for things like skywalks and bypassing places has little to do with interacting with any particular economic class or type of people, but rather a desire to avoid large crowds or people impeding my way to my destination. At 5pm, I don't want to have to wade through huge throngs of people on "Main Street" to get back to my car, when I could have a skywalk that goes through adjacent buildings and parking facilities/transit stations. I think the majority of office workers share a similar mentality, and if there's something on the street that they want/need, they'll go that way instead. Having that choice is nice, and building owners know this hence build office complexes in this way. This is especially true in excessively cold/hot climates or those with a lot of poor weather. A good example would be my father, who works on 6th Avenue adjacent to Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. His evening bus home stops on 5th Ave, and rather than walk the 1/3 mile distance on the crowded streets of Rockefeller Center, he uses the extensive network of underground passageways to stay dry and get there faster. In fact, there are quite a few shops and restaurants placed throughout the complex as well, though not enough to cause congestion outside of the weekends during the holidays when all the tourists are ogling over the tree and get lost looking for the B/D/F/V subways lol.

Rockefeller Center Passageways
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:31 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,095,690 times
Reputation: 3117
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
The idea that cities are "cool" or amusements for suburbanites (or visitors from other cities or rural areas for that matter) brings in millions of dollars for these cities, and if people are going to want to walk around and shop, and there is a demand for this type of retail destination, then it works fine. People who work downtown every day, whether they commute from some suburb, take the bus from the inner city or walk 6 blocks should be able to ideally bypass the "synergy" of the street life so that they can just get to their desks or get home quicker. This, to me, is more important than adding a little more "vibrancy" by forcing everyone to cram onto sidewalks for everything. Kind of the same reason why I like the idea of bypass roads and single-use development as well.
Well, as I said (did you read my post) the shops along the skywalk have mostly closed, so I guess there isn't much demand. Also, there's no "cramming" onto the sidewalks, there's plenty of room in Baltimore (it ain't Times Square!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
Healthy or not, it is part of human nature and how people have always been. If my desire to live in a single use, suburban single family home detracts from some nearby city's "vibrancy" because I'm not out mingling with the masses all the time, so be it. And personally, I have no problems interacting with people of lower economic class, I don't like going to certain areas of predominately lower class which breed a criminal element which would negatively affect my life. I'm sure there are correlations between an areas wealth and crime levels, however I personally am not stating any particular facts about this other than the anecdotal evidence I've experienced in my life..
Like I said, I do not wish to discuss that here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRightPassLeft View Post
My desire for things like skywalks and bypassing places has little to do with interacting with any particular economic class or type of people, but rather a desire to avoid large crowds or people impeding my way to my destination. At 5pm, I don't want to have to wade through huge throngs of people on "Main Street" to get back to my car, when I could have a skywalk that goes through adjacent buildings and parking facilities/transit stations. I think the majority of office workers share a similar mentality, and if there's something on the street that they want/need, they'll go that way instead. Having that choice is nice, and building owners know this hence build office complexes in this way. This is especially true in excessively cold/hot climates or those with a lot of poor weather.
I understand your methodology. Once again there are no throngs of people in downtown Baltimore. It would be like building a bypass around Richmond Pkwy on Staten I. Not really the congestion to demand a bypass.

I ask you again to acknowledge that you are speaking broadly about skywalks, and I am speaking specifically about one.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
Well, as I said (did you read my post) the shops along the skywalk have mostly closed, so I guess there isn't much demand. Also, there's no "cramming" onto the sidewalks, there's plenty of room in Baltimore (it ain't Times Square!)

....

I understand your methodology. Once again there are no throngs of people in downtown Baltimore. It would be like building a bypass around Richmond Pkwy on Staten I. Not really the congestion to demand a bypass.

I ask you again to acknowledge that you are speaking broadly about skywalks, and I am speaking specifically about one.
I understand what you're saying about the Baltimore example, I was speaking broadly about other skywalks/passageways and why I don't believe they are bad for other cities (not that you were arguing that they were).

In New York City, I definitely think that there should be more skywalks or passageways, the sidewalks are WAY too crowded. And widening the ground level pedestrian areas isn't going to help much, I've spent plenty of time in the new "plazas" they took away from vehicles in Times Square, Herald Square and Union Square and while I think they've helped and are generally good for their areas, some alternatives to avoid crowds would be nice to have. Of course if you're vigilant and impatient enough like me, you could always walk in the roadway next to the sidewalk in the parking lane, as long as you keep a keen eye out for vehicles and are prepared to get a jaywalking ticket from a hard-assed cop lol. Most streets I wouldn't recommend it on, but there are definitely places in Manhattan where you could get away with it without impeding any traffic or putting yourself in too much danger, I see plenty of other seasoned NY'ers doing the same thing lol.
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: The City
22,331 posts, read 32,138,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakparkdude View Post
Chicago has an underground walkway system called the pedway (Google Image Result for http://www.spiegl.org/pedway/ped.jpg)

The city doesn't go out of its way to publicize it, so a lot of Chicagoans don't even know it exists. Its good for escaping the bad weather we get on occasion, but it doesn't suck away street life due to limited capacity and publicity.
Interesting. There is also a pretty substantial underground concourse/pedestrian way in Philly but hardly used












My Life in Center City Philadelphia: The Underground Pedestrian Concourse

Center City Underground Concourse Network Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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