Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winnipeg Walkway System

Picture 1: Construction of the first link of the Winnipeg Walkway from Eaton's to the Somerset building

Picture 2: The east bridge of the Portage Place walkway. Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Picture 3: Picture of the plans for the Winnipeg Walkway

The Winnipeg Walkway System is modelled on the Minneapolis Skyway which began in built in 1962 and now encompass 80 city blocks and runs five miles.

Winnipeg's first overhead walkway was constructed in 1969 between Eaton's and the Somerset building where Woolworth's was located.

It has been a slow process linking up Winnipeg buildings. The problem, in short, is that there have often been gaps where there was no building to link. The downtown has a surfeit of parking lots.

The other issue is money. Many of the landowners seem to want the government to pay the bill for the overhead walkways. Mr. Christian has as good synopsis of the development of the walkways.

The plan for the $6 million walkway expansion is described on the city of Winnipeg website.

Walkways are not pretty. Underground ain't pretty either but those are two options for cold climates for people to walk places without donning a coat. I have no problem with linking the downtown. However, I do have a problem when the walkways are as ugly as we have seen.

Linking buildings is no substitute for abandoning the street level. The city needs to make greater efforts in this department.

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