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Pedestrian Tunnels and Skyways


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Houston has the most extensive pedestrian tunnel system in the country, plus a few skyways. It links up with major downtown buildings, from banks to government offices, etc. The few advantages of this system is that, since this is a humid city, people can walk back and forth between buildings in the Central business district without having to deal with the hot sun - with the help of the ped tunnel and skyways. The disadvantage is that, like many 9 to 5 businesses, they are open during the days only - closed nights and weekends. Only one tunnel is open to Houston Center Park Shops on Saturdays, but not a whole lot of pedestrian activity. Talk about deserted. The link to the Pedestrian and Skyway System Map is through the Central Houston website.

Now what are the pedestrian tunnel and skyway systems in your cities like when it comes to convenience and weather protection?

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Boston's small but useful system connects the following places:

Back Bay Station (Amtrak, MBTA Orange Line, 5 MBTA commuter rail lines)

Copley Place Mall (including a multiplex movie theatre) and office building

Marriott Copley Place Hotel

Westin Copley Place Hotel

Prudential Tower

Prudential Center Mall

Prudential Station (MBTA Green Line "E" branch)

101 Huntington Avenue office building

111 Huntington Avenue office building

Hynes Convention Center

Sheraton-Boston Hotel

It's open all the time, and is fully climate-controlled. It gets lots of pedestrian traffic because of the shopping malls.

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Cool map - where did you find it?

The "Ring Rd." cutting across the bottom of the Prudential mall is no longer there -- it has been replaced by the 111 Huntington office tower and an extension of the mall. The most notable tenant of this extension is a large Barnes & Noble. The extension also provides an indoor entrance to the Prudential T station.

Note that there are only two skywalks here -- one over Huntington Avenue, the other over Stuart Street. The rest is just first-floor-level interconnections between adjacent buildings. Most of this development covers the right-of-way of the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and railroad lines.

The Prudential Center still has some vacant land waiting to be developed along Boylston Street. When this development occurs, I presume it will be tied into the walkway system. But I'm not sure, since a new Shaw's Supermarket was recently built on another vacant site (at Huntington Ave. and "Prudential Way") without being tied in.

One section of the "Indoor Walking Route" shown on the map, through the middle of the Hynes Convention Center, is not usually open to the public.

You might think that this system would detract from street activity surrounding it, but it doesn't. Newbury Street, one block to the north, is full of small shops and restaurants and usually jammed with people.

I'm amused to see that two of the hotels that I mentioned are now appearing near the top of this page as Sponsored Link ads.

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Cool map - where did you find it?

I was looking for something else and stumbled upon it. I think it had something to do with a convention, hence the dotted line through the Hynes. I've seen a colour version of it before, I'm not sure where it is from originally.

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