The long history of a tall sidewalk: How elevated skywalks have failed cities in the United States


The Minneapolis Skyway system near IDS in 1980 (City of Minneapolis Archives)

Skywalks, or elevated sidewalks, continually resurface as an urban solution to alleviate pedestrian traffic, provide additional retail space, and offer a safe alternative to sharing space with automobiles. However, each time a skywalk is actually realized, problems abound.

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Cincinnati decided this waterfront skyscraper just wasn’t complete without an old-timey hat and handlebar mustache

Architecture, Midwest, Skyscrapers
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Scripps Tower on the right, dressed up as the Cincinnati Reds mascot. (Courtesy Mayerson Co.)

When Mies van der Rohe set out to remake the world in the image of a crystal-clear tower with steel columns behind walls of glass, he probably wasn’t thinking about dressing up those buildings with old-timey hats and handlebar mustaches. However, a century later that’s exactly what’s happening in Cincinnati.

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On View> Daniel Arsham takes over Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center

Art, Midwest, On View
Monday, March 16, 2015
(Courtesy Contemporary Arts Center)

(Courtesy Contemporary Arts Center)

Remember the Future: Daniel Arsham
Contemporary Arts Center
44 East 6th Street
Cincinnati, OH
March 20–August 30

Remember the Future is the first major exhibition in Ohio by Cleveland-born artist Daniel Arsham. In it, site-specific installations respond to the scale, light, and structure of the Contemporary Arts Center building in Cincinnati.

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Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Detroit's 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City's first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Detroit’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. Read More

The 11 most endangered historic sites in the United States according to theNational Trust

Photo by North Bend Eric

A mural inside Cincinnati’s Union Terminal. (Eric Bend)

The Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave captured the eye of American audiences last year, but it may have also had an unforeseen effect on historic preservation. It appears that the National Trust for Historic Preservation was watching as well. The Trust has issued its annual list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the United States, which featured the slave trading center where the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northrup, was held and captured.

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Work to begin on Cincinnati’s Central Parkway bike path

Chicago's first protected bike lane—photographed at Kinzie and Jefferson streets Monday, July 25, 2011—is cited as a model for Cincinnati's Central Parkway plan.  (E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune)

Chicago’s first protected bike lane—photographed at Kinzie and Jefferson streets Monday, July 25, 2011 for the Chicago Tribune—is cited as a model for Cincinnati’s Central Parkway plan. (Courtesy E. Jason Wambsgans/ Chicago Tribune via City of Cincinnati)

Cyclists in Cincinnati will soon have a separated bike lane along Central Parkway—a major connector between neighborhoods including Downtown, the West End, and Over-the-Rhine—following a narrow City Council vote last week. Read More

On View> The Cincinnati Museum of Art Presents The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith

Art, Midwest, On View
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
(Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

(Courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith
Cincinnati Museum of Art
953 Eden Park Drive
Cincinnati, OH
Through May 18

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith consists of twenty-four pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by the Brooklyn-reared modernist jeweler Arthur Smith (1917–1982). Smith trained at Cooper Union and opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946. Art was an active supporter of the black and gay rights movement and early black modern dance groups. He included these themes in his works.

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2014 will be a big year for streetcars in Kansas City and Cincinnati

City Terrain, Midwest, Transportation
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Car 1056 of Kansas City's historic streetcar fleet. The city is currently in the process of reviving the system. (Nick Fisher via FLickr)

Car 1056 of Kansas City’s historic streetcar fleet. The city is currently in the process of reviving the system. (Nick Fisher via FLickr)

Although it hasn’t yet broken ground, Kansas City plans to revive a long-dormant streetcar network. Voters approved a ballot measure in 2012 to fund a 2-mile starter route from Union Station to the River Market, nearly 55 years after the city halted its original streetcar service in 1957.

Now Kansas City residents are likely to vote again to help pay for streetcar construction, this time to approve taxes that would help fund a new streetcar taxing district. The measure goes to City Council on Jan. 23. Read More

Cincinnati Art Museum seeks new director; Aaron Betsky steps down

Art, Midwest, Shft+Alt+Del
Monday, January 6, 2014
The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

The cincinnati art museum. (Erica Minton via flickr)

Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum for seven years, announced Thursday he’ll step down.

Cincinnati’s WVXU reported that the museum’s board will set up a search committee, and that Betsky will help pick his successor. Betsky, an architect, oversaw the first phase of a renovation for which he helped raise more $13 million, and increased the art museum’s endowment by 18 percent. His leadership was at times controversial, as when he oversaw an exhibit by artist Todd Pavlisko that included firing a .30-caliber rifle in the 132-year-old museum’s Schmidlapp Gallery.

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Cincinnati City Council Puts Brakes on Streetcar Construction

Monday, December 9, 2013


In what the Cincinnati Enquirer called “a meeting filled with fire and suspense,” City Council voted 5-4 to halt construction on its $133 million streetcar project.

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After Half A Century, Cincinnati’s Roebling Bridge Welcomes Pedestrians

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

For the first time in half a century, residents of Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. can traverse the Ohio River on foot via Roebling Bridge, thanks to a pedestrian connector reopened June 4. The Roebling Bridge Pedestrian Connector ties Cincinnati’s central riverfront, the site of some major mixed-use development of late, to the city of Covington.

The $430,000 project is part of The Banks’ public infrastructure improvement program. Lane closures will accompany renovations on the north end of the bridge, where a new roundabout and traffic signal will take a few months to complete. Pedestrians, however, can walk on through.

Let’s just hope a certain New York City mayoral candidate doesn’t confuse the Roebling Bridge with its big brother in Brooklyn and snap a photo for his website!

Cincinnati’s Bike Hub Connects the City With Smale Riverfront Park

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The bike hub in Cincinnati's Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

The bike hub in Cincinnati’s Smale Waterfront Park. (Randy Simes / Urban Cincy)

As one of a slew of successful placemaking initiatives of late, along with the recently reopened Washington Park, Cincinnati’s Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park is a key component of the city’s resurgent urban identity. It’s a multi-faceted design, aspiring to filter water for flood control, provide green space and connect two downtown stadiums with a multimodal trail along the Ohio River.

Continue reading after the jump.

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