Skyways: Improve the Skyway system that connects buildings Downtown.

Skyway at Gaviidae Commons

Downtown skyways have been the source of debate for decades. They are beloved in extreme and inclement weather for their seamless indoor connections and are the focus of ire for their lack of navigability, their inaccessibility from the street, and their impact to street level vibrancy. Access to the skyways can be improved through additional high-quality connection points to the street, specifically at primary transit and pedestrian routes. Navigability can be improved through designs that provide transparency to the street. Tying skyway business activity to street level business activity while limiting skyway expansion can help create opportunity to improve street level vibrancy.


The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to improve the Skyway system that connects buildings Downtown.

  1. Require newly-established retail uses in buildings connected by skyways to be located primarily on the ground floor with an entrance facing the street.
  2. Require transparency of skyway walls in order to provide views to the outside that help users orient themselves.
  3. Require uniform skyway hours of operation.
  4. Encourage consistent and uniform directional signage and accessible skyway system maps in multiple languages near skyway entrances, particularly along primary transit and pedestrian routes. Include navigation to publicly accessible restrooms.
  5. Require convenient and easily accessible vertical connections between the skyway system and the public sidewalks, particularly along primary transit and pedestrian routes.
  6. Require functional links in the skyway system while adjoining properties undergo redevelopment or renovation.
  7. Limit skyway expansion to the downtown core and major institutional sites in order to minimize low-usage skyways and maximize street-level pedestrian activity in growing downtown neighborhoods and historic areas.
  8. Encourage skyways as a transportation, rather than commercial system. 
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