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Should Charlotte Remove the Rest of its Skywalks?


monsoon

Should Charlotte Remove the Rest of its Skywalks?  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Charlotte Remove the Rest of its Skywalks?

    • No - OverStreet is important to downtown
      19
    • Yes - It continues to hurt street live/retail
      12
    • Some - Disconnect it across Trade
      2


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The article posted below has a pretty good writeup of the failed urban design concept of skyways. This concept, like many bad urban design concepts was adopted in Charlotte and was one of the reasons that street life died in the center city. (Charlotte is mentioned in the article) While there have been great successes in reviving street life in the center city, maybe more can be done as there is still a stunning lack of street level retail in the city So the question is, should Charlotte tear down the rest of the skywalks?

Cities' enthusiasm for skywalks fades

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The sky walks are part of the urban fabric now. I think they should be left as is. There is traffic accustomed to their existence, and there are merchants that would be negatively affected by removing them-- and have to go through the hassle of relocating to ground level.

If the skywalks were mostly empty, and the overstreet had a lot of empty storefronts, then I'd probably say it was a failed experiment that should be put to sleep.

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I think skywalks serve a purpose, but they should be supplemented with street facing retail in almost every uptown midrise and highrise building, preferably on all sides. As long as there is street retail, there will be a reason to walk outside on Tryon, especially in Charlotte's climate. When I worked downtown, I found it very depressing to use the skywalks, as I never got to go outside and see the sun. I think people will walk on the streets as long as there are lunch places to go to.

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Get rid of all the skywalks, kill the overstreet mall, and force some of these building to put their indoor retail outside (BOA, Ivey's, etc). I have not stepped foot in one of the overstreet malls stores. It caters only to those who work in those buildings and that is it. Truly Depressing.

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^^Once the Epicenter/TwoTen Trade is completed, there will definately be a better entrance to the mall through the one skywalk running across College. Also, I believe that they are planning on taking the top off of the skywalk to have a livelier effect when walking back and forth to the Epicenter retail.

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IMO removing the skywalks is an absurd idea! Yes it does draw off some foot traffic from street level activity, but when the Uptown condos get filled up, people will be on the streets in fair numbers.

OverStreet Mall is fun, memorable, and has a nice lively atmosphere. Destroying it is pure lunacy

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One point to note on this discussion is that it is purely hypothetical. In reality, the bridges are privately owned, and quite valuable. It would cost a significant amount to compensate the office tower owners for the removal of the skywalks. It is impractical.

The most realistic approach will be to encourage or require street retail so that being outside can be a proper competition for the rat-tunnels. Also, whereever possible, new projects should convert overstreet pedestrian traffic to street level. Epicenter does this by having the bridge open to an outdoor area, with stairs to the street level immediately. Hearst does this by having very little retail inside the building after its skywalk, and then having stairs to deliver people to the street level, where much of its retail is located.

It was good that the money was spent to remove the skywalk over Tryon to Ivey's, but I think that was a unique situation, as it was the only one to cross the main CBD street, and with the department stores closed on both sides of the street, there was much value in it any more.

By creating a requirement or encouragement for street retail be added to the buildings, businesses will eventually start shifting to those spaces, as they a much more visible and accessible in off hours. Once it less profitable to locate in the Overstreet Mall, and there are fewer retail establishments hidden inside, the skybridges will lose their negative effect on the city.

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Although the bridges are privately owned, are they public space? I sometimes see Jehovah's Witnesses handing out "The Watchtower" or homeless guys sitting in the corners trying to stay warm/cool. I assume they get shoo'd off by security after a while, since I don't see them stay there for long.

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I think they could remain. They are unique. Not many cities have them. Its is also true that its a part of the urban fabric of uptown Charlotte that makes the city unique fron other NC cities and comes in very handy on rainy and very cold days. The problem with cities is when things become unpopular they tear them down only to come back years later wishing that they had not tore them down. Think of all the old office buildings torn down that would have made great condos today. I think it would be a mistake to tear down to over street mall in uptown Charlotte.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The condos I've seen also have weird layouts and it seems like they stay on the market forever when they go up for sale.

Can anyone tell why, other than the few weird layouts with long halways? I wouldn't think that would be enough.

I work in Real Estate and was an appraiser -- a large detracting factor with Ivey's was the interior "bridges" to get to the units that pass over what is essentially a mall. Most also only have one wall that meets the exterior of the building so many rooms don't have windows or natural light and many have bedrooms where windows face out into the open mall/bridge area.

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