We asked our members with a presence downtown to weigh in on the hours the skyway is open. As mentioned in our April 28 blog post on skyway vitality, the majority of our downtown members who responded to our original survey about the skyway were not concerned with the skyway being closed earlier than 2 a.m., and many applauded that change.
We then sent a follow-up email to downtown members asking specifically for thoughts on skyway hours and received 16 responses. 14 of those responses were in favor of the closing, including calls for closing even earlier. A few excerpts:
- We applaud the proposed change of closing skyways at midnight.
- My business would be positively impacted by the skyway closing at midnight.
- I think midnight is late enough. We close prior to midnight so it would not impact our guests.
- We would prefer that they be closed earlier (8 p.m. or 10 p.m. at the latest). Our restaurants are impacted by [negative activities] that are occurring in the skyways.
- The skyway should close at 8 p.m.
The other two emails provide good insight into the negative impact this change could have on some businesses.
Email 1, from a downtown restaurant:
Closing the skyway earlier than 2 a.m. would negatively impact [restaurant name].
- We are open until 2 a.m.
- Many of our patrons walk from the hotels through the skyways or are our regulars that work and live downtown.
- Patrons would need to leave our venue more than 2 hours prior to our closing time to be able to walk the skyway out of the weather (cold, snow, and/or rain etc) and off the streets.
- It is hard enough to get patrons to downtown St. Paul with the lack of parking and having the meters active until 10 p.m.
The skyway is not the problem. Walking the streets has also gotten worse with the escalating population of aggressive vagrants in St. Paul that harass businesses, their customers, and visitors of our city.
Email 2, from a downtown consultant firm:
Our staff has some very long hours as we push toward certain milestones. It’s not uncommon for us to have individuals work beyond midnight and safe skyway access certainly makes that more comfortable when they do head home. I’m not saying that we necessarily are opposed to the skyways closing at midnight, but we can certainly make use of them on a semi regular basis between midnight and 2 a.m.
We will continue to work with the City and other stakeholders to find ways to make every segment of the skyway system as welcoming as possible.
If your views on skyway hours are not reflected here, please give us a call at 651-265-2780 – we appreciate your feedback!