Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hi, Ho, SkyBridge!

Stories in this morning's Trib and DesNews about the proposed skybridge for the City Creek Center. Taubman says it is critical to their project, and I can see that that may be the case to tie the upper levels of the development together. However, there is a long-standing aversion to skybridges in the Salt Lake psyche, partly because of our desire to protect the views of the mountains. We also have much wider streets than many of the downtowns that have them, which adds to that desire.

I actually opined on skybridges over a year ago, which I think is still relevant to the current discussion. See that commentary here.

I tend to agree with the quote by Bob Bliss in one of the news stories, what's the rush? We have time to work through this issue, the plans for the City Creek Center are still have not been presented in detail. Let's work through this and get most everyone on the same track.


At 7:30 PM, Blogger oussan said...

As you mentioned in your earlier post, it's just one skybridge, rather than a sytem of such. I don't see this as a huge issue.

And surely Taubman and the LDS Church will want to preserve significant foot traffic on Main Street. Nothing will make this development feel so dead as empty streets surrounding it.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Brian said...

My sister-in-law lives in St. Paul and says everyone loves the sky bridges in there and in Minneapolis simply because they allow shoppers to move from building to building without having to step outside in the severe winter.

But I tend to agree with oussan: if it's only one bridge and can be designed correctly, it shouldn't be much of an impact to the view up Main Street. It gives patrons a unique people-watching experience, from both the bridge and the street, and shouldn't be convenient enough to most shoppers to shunt much traffic off the streets and lower levels.

It can be done, but the devil will lie in the details.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm Bruce Heckman, the project director for Taubman on the City Creek project. I'm also a planner, having been the chapter president of two APA chapters and one of the charter members of AICP.

Having had considerable experience with major downtown projects over a 40 year career, I can assure you that we would never design a project that would kill pedestrian vitality on the adjacent streets. That would kill our project too.

The observation that we are only talking about a single pedestrian connector vs. a complete skywalk system is an important one. Not to mention that it has escalators at both ends connecting it directly to Main Street. . .

I think that once people take the time to really study and understand the project, they will see that it is purposefully designed to be very porus, enlivened on the perimeter, and otherwise well integrated into its downtown surroundings.

We've had over 20 public meetings for review and comment on the plans and we encourage more participation. While not finalized yet, we will be directly involving local input into the final design of the pedestrian connector.

Thank you for your thoughtful observations, versus some of the hysterical cliches we've heard from other elements in the community.

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