St. Paul Skyway System

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Lancestar2

St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » October 14th, 2014, 9:46 pm

http://www.capitolrivercouncil.org/comm ... committee/

I didn't know there were St. Paul Skyway meetings open to the public every other month! Has anyone ever attended them in the past? Are they very interesting, long and informative? According to the minutes in July progress on Google street mapping in the skyway has begin (slowly). I didn't see any other threads with the Skyway subject (In St. Paul section) so perhaps we can create this place as a safe space for Skyway enthusiast to discuss all thinks St. Paul Skyway related?

Last I heard St. Paul has nearly 8,000 downtown residents! Anybody here live Downtown St. Paul and have any thoughts or things to share about your viewpoint on the Skyway you like to share? Any planned Skyway expansions? Any recommendations to improve the network? How does it relate to Minneapolis and there private system? Would love to hear what others think about the St. Paul Skyway system!

Tcmetro
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Tcmetro » October 14th, 2014, 10:00 pm

The nicest thing about the St Paul skyways are the consistent hours. I believe they are open 4 am - 2 am daily. It's also quite interesting how they were retrofitted into buildings that weren't designed with the skyways in mind, which is much less common than in Minneapolis where the buildings are newer.

Otherwise, there aren't many businesses that are open late or on weekends, so they can be eerily quiet at times. The streets are often dead at these hours also, which just gives off strange vibes.

acs
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby acs » October 14th, 2014, 10:33 pm

8000 downtown residents. Wow does St. Paul need housing development downtown. Minneapolis is approaching five times that number. /off topic

Wedgeguy
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » October 15th, 2014, 9:41 am

You would be surprised by the number of DT apartment and condos that are attached to the STP skyway system. I expect that it would be close to those number of those in MPLS that are attached to the skyway system DT. Also the area that is counted as MPLS DT is a lot larger than St. Paul's area.

bptenor
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby bptenor » October 15th, 2014, 1:11 pm

I live downtown St Paul, and most fellow residents seem to use the skyway to get around. I usually take the sidewalk though, as long as the weather isn't incredibly awful (plus the skyway won't get me all the way to work anyway).

Lancestar2

Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » October 16th, 2014, 11:45 am

The nicest thing about the St Paul skyways are the consistent hours. I believe they are open 4 am - 2 am daily. It's also quite interesting how they were retrofitted into buildings that weren't designed with the skyways in mind, which is much less common than in Minneapolis where the buildings are newer.

Otherwise, there aren't many businesses that are open late or on weekends, so they can be eerily quiet at times. The streets are often dead at these hours also, which just gives off strange vibes.
Thanks for sharing! I haven't ventured out to see the system myself yet. I need to get out more I think, it does sound like there is a lot of potential if St. Paul continues to develop into a urban core. Of course with limited space that may be difficult. Yet, with being open for 22 hours a day it sure does sound like a nice feature for downtown residents. Maybe Minneapolis will take note on those hours of operation soon too? It sure does sound neat living downtown St. Paul heck you just take a nice skyway walk to your friends living on the other side of downtown during the winter in shorts to visit.
You would be surprised by the number of DT apartment and condos that are attached to the STP skyway system. I expect that it would be close to those number of those in MPLS that are attached to the skyway system DT. Also the area that is counted as MPLS DT is a lot larger than St. Paul's area.
WOW! Really? I never really gave St. Paul much of a thought in the past until I came across a news story saying they had a downtown population of about 8K! Perhaps St. Paul has a better chance of creating a more residential skyway community? If they continue to expand the downtown area maybe we could see a Target Express? Or maybe a min grocery store such as Lunds? Having some grocery options downtown connected to the skyway sure would be a tipping point I might have to consider living there for at least a year myself! Granted it's much smaller area but it has a lot of potential to be a nice urban community. Sure Minneapolis may be the real urban core but St. Paul downtown could really become a nice walking friendly community. Right around Rice park I always thought it was such a great environment that downtown Minneapolis still does not have anything that compares.
I live downtown St Paul, and most fellow residents seem to use the skyway to get around. I usually take the sidewalk though, as long as the weather isn't incredibly awful (plus the skyway won't get me all the way to work anyway).
How do you like living downtown St Paul? Is it easy to get to many places? Do you drive for grocery runs? Take the bus to many major places? Are there places you see the skyway should be connected in the future? What do you like or dislike the most about living downtown St. Paul? If you don't mind me picking your brain for a moment haha I'm a bit curious to know more. Sounds like you work downtown which may have been your main motive to living there correct?

Lancestar2

Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » October 16th, 2014, 12:05 pm

8000 downtown residents. Wow does St. Paul need housing development downtown. Minneapolis is approaching five times that number. /off topic
well your right that Minneapolis is bigger but I think St. Paul has potential to do something that Minneapolis can't, that is create a compact mix use community. Plus with a city run skyway network you have the potential for better planed routes and corridors and expansion, while in Minneapolis you have a market based expansion which can be disorganized and inefficient in a general sense. St. Paul with a full build out may be enough to attract a small grocery store (dare I say 2?) and some other minor retail and allow for a nice downtown urban environment without the nightlife you see in Minneapolis. Yet, still just a short hop and skip via the light rail St. Paul could be a urban community for people who don't want to walk as far, or enjoy a more "smaller urban community" St. Paul does offer some nice views and beautiful architecture of street designs, and buildings I think if people have a desire to build and live in a urban village such as the heart of Burnsville well downtown St. Paul is a great opportunity to develop into a urban village where people don't need a car to survive, without having to live next to a large financial district.

blobs
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby blobs » October 16th, 2014, 9:24 pm

I walked through the entire skyway on a Saturday, I think I only saw one or two other people. It's kind of a surreal experience...I recommend everyone try it at least once, especially since you may not be able to experience it if the population continues to grow downtown.

Wedgeguy
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Wedgeguy » October 17th, 2014, 9:39 am

I walked through the entire skyway on a Saturday, I think I only saw one or two other people. It's kind of a surreal experience...I recommend everyone try it at least once, especially since you may not be able to experience it if the population continues to grow downtown.
Yes, weekends are a ghost town in there. Lot of skyways that just end in an apartment building or a dead end. But the skyway hours are at least where most of them are open for you to get around.

Lancestar2

Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby Lancestar2 » October 20th, 2014, 3:24 pm

Is there anything that could increase usage and value of the Skyway system? Perhaps a connection to the new Saints ballpark, Allina Health-United Hospital? Or is the issue low amounts of retail for residents? (because of low residential population)

Also does anybody know what the long term plan is just south of downtown? (across the river) I noticed a few 5 floor residential is that entire area planned to be developed within 10-20 years? Or will it remain business/warehouse? With a limited space downtown that location sure could potentially develop into a nice "Loring Park" style community just outside of downtown. Could develop into a Green Bay, or Milwaukee design, a few pedestrian bridges, a skyway bridge in the style of the Target center skyway. It really could become a really neat urban community. Is it a possibility even in 30-40 years? Or does the apartment boom seem to only be in Minneapolis?

at40man
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby at40man » October 22nd, 2014, 10:40 pm

Re-unifying all the signage a few years back and installing maps was a move in the right direction. (Does anyone remember when the skyways were color-coded?)

I took a walk through the skyway a couple of weeks ago. Parts of the system are looking REALLLLLY shabby. Given the high amount of traffic, installing carpet is foolhardy. The Lowry skyway in particular is looking rough, despite the renovation it received less than 10 years ago! I miss the beautiful parquet wood and colorful tiled floors that Galtier used to have.

St Paul's downtown is experiencing a boom. Not a Minneapolis-type boom, but a boom nonetheless. We're just a bit more introverted. There are many new condo and apartment buildings which have opened up within the past 10 years -- just stroll around and you can easily spot them.

at40man
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby at40man » January 27th, 2017, 10:47 pm

http://www.twincities.com/2017/01/27/me ... ppy-crowd/

Very interesting article; it sounds like there is a lot of gas on the ever-burning skyway fire right now. In a way, this reinforces the idea of whom the skyways are really for. And at the exact same time you cannot have people urinating in skyways or treating them like waste receptacles. When I worked and lived in Galtier Plaza, I often saw people curled up in corners of the building early in the morning before any of the businesses opened. Sometimes the bottom of certain stairwells smelled like urine, as did the hallway leading into the Crowne Plaza/Intercontinental (did they ever fix this to not look like a bad 80s hotel?). Homeless also used to sleep in the abandoned Town Square Park area.

The St. Paul skyways are in a seriously shabby state. And given the high amount of traffic they get, installing carpet on the skyway level of any building is a pretty foolish decision.

mattaudio
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby mattaudio » January 30th, 2017, 9:18 am

It's almost like a civilized society should have public places for people to urinate.

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nBode
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby nBode » January 30th, 2017, 9:49 am

^nah, that would just encourage people to be homeless.

at40man
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby at40man » January 30th, 2017, 11:49 am

It's almost like a civilized society should have public places for people to urinate.
Offhand, I know that there are public restrooms in Town Square (gross), Wells Fargo Place (nice), Galtier Plaza (ground level men's room untouched since the 80s), St. Paul Central Library, and Union Depot. Plus that stupid port-a-potty they put by the base of the LRT station.

There should be no reason to defecate in the skyway.

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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby EOst » January 30th, 2017, 2:23 pm

How many of those are open at night? Wells Fargo Place apparently now closes its doors at 6.

at40man
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby at40man » January 30th, 2017, 4:14 pm

Union Depot is pretty much always open. I don't know about the rest.

That said, most of the problems seem to occur in the skyway linking to the LRT station. The same station where they put the port-a-poddy on the ground level.

They've tried some.... interesting... tactics to keep people from loitering. In the summer they've been turning on a furnace and pumping hot air into the space. In the winter they've been pumping AC into the space. Plus all the spikes on the window sills. And stark white and gray carpeting. I'm half-expecting them to start blasting classical and opera music into the space, like what Block E did about 10 years ago.

In a way, these are the results of a mini-experiment of what could happen if visible stairways to the skyway level of Nicollet Mall were ever built, as has been proposed on this site.

nate
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby nate » January 31st, 2017, 8:38 am

I don't know if the Central Station skyway connection is the best case study for improved street/skyway connections, because from an urban design standpoint it is flawed. However, it does point to the need to make street/skyway connections happen at points of active uses at both levels, so problems with loitering, nuisance crimes, and homelessness are mitigated before they happen.

At any rate, it is hard to imagine the situation in the St Paul skyway getting better before it gets worse - Ecolab moving over to its new location will leave a huge vacancy in the center of downtown that will be tough to fill, leading to less foot traffic, even more retail vacancies, and fewer "eyes on the street".

EOst
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby EOst » January 31st, 2017, 9:10 am

I don't know. Maybe I'm just naive and idealistic, but before we put in more dehumanizing and place-deadening measures, perhaps someone should ask the local homeless population why they prefer to do their duty in the skyway and not the porta-potty. Has anyone?

Measures like those are a symptom of our broader societal failure to grapple with the root causes of homelessness. Rather than try to solve the problem, we just make the spaces "we" use so unpleasant to linger in that the problem gets forced on someone else.

skywayer
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Re: St. Paul Skyway System

Postby skywayer » August 31st, 2020, 7:48 am

Found current link to the Skyway Committee!

https://www.capitolrivercouncil.org/skyway_committee


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