Have you just started a new job in downtown Minneapolis? Are you about to start one?
I thought it might be helpful to share a post I originally wrote nearly two years into my employment here at Karwoski & Courage on navigating the Minneapolis skyway system. If you are visiting our fair city for business, the following will get your acquainted with our fabulous skyway system and offer some tips for using it.
Minneapolis Skyway Etiquette
When I started a new job with Karwoski & Courage in downtown Minneapolis, it was 19 years removed from the last time I worked downtown in the IDS building.
The skyway system has expanded exponentially during the intervening years and I don’t mind saying that it was a little intimidating navigating the whole thing my second time around.
If you’re new to working downtown (or here as a visitor), here are the essentials you need to know about the Minneapolis skyway system and some etiquette to make everyone’s life a little less frustrating during pedestrian rush hour (that would be lunch hour).
First, don’t bother with the skyway map kiosks located throughout the system. They are a hot spaghetti mess. Completely useless.
You could get a skyway app but I’ve found them to be not so helpful. The best way to approach the skyway system is manually, a little at a time.
How To Use The Minneapolis Skyways
Venture out each day the next building over from where you work to explore your nearby lunchtime and happy hour options. Do that for a week or two. Then venture out two buildings over. Rinse and repeat till you get the hang of it.
It is kinda tough getting your bearings at first from within the skyways themselves, so don’t be ashamed to go down to the street level to find the building you need to get to and pay attention to how and where the skyways connect to the buildings.
3 Things That Shouldn’t Alarm You
- Along your travels you will occasionally encounter a busker (or street musician, or skyway musician, if you will); be nice to them for they bring us joy. Throw them a buck every now and then.
- You will also occasionally cross paths with one of Minneapolis’ Finest. You’ll be able to recognize them from the Segways they ride. Try and scare them to see if they can maintain their balance. (Just kidding. Don’t do this. I’m serious.)
- You may also nearly get run over by a baby buggy. These vehicles typically seat six to eight toddlers and are pushed by daycare providers. I don’t believe they are licensed vehicles, so the skills of the drivers will vary.
If you find yourself in the way of a baby buggy, try to swiftly move the side of the skyway and wave to the toddlers. They’ll wave back.
5 Types Of Skyway Walkers You Don’t Want To Be
It is on all of us who work downtown to make the skyway experience a pleasant one. So, pay attention because you don’t want to be That Guy.
1) Short Striders & Slow Walkers
Aggravating though they are, Short Striders can’t do anything about their stature, so you kinda have to grin and bear it.
Slow Walkers can be of any stature and the tall ones, well, they have no excuse. Please, if you’re a tall person, do us all a favor and make use of your stride, early and often.
If one day you find that the skyways are inundated with Slow Walkers, you may want to beware: The Zombie Apocalypse may be at hand. In which case, you’ll want to know how to survive a zombie attack.
These are, as the name suggest, a group of two or more people who walk side-by-side, not allowing anyone to pass them. More often than not, this is a group of three big, broad guys who fill the entire skyway and walk slowly.
There is a technical term for these people: Inconsiderate.
Meanderers have no clue.
There are two types:
- Completely & Pathetically Lost, and
- Too Preoccupied With Their Smart Phone To Navigate.
These people weave from one side of the skyway to the other, in and out of traffic, leaving a gnarled mess in their wake.
The Completely & Pathetically Lost can be subdivided into Tourists (whom you should smile at and be helpful) or the Hopeless (whom you should avoid).
The Too Preoccupied With Their Smart Phone To Navigates should be disapproved of in some vocal but classically passive/aggressive Minnesota way. Be creative.
These people have the uncanny ability to be walking at full speed and without a moment’s notice, stop dead in their tracks. They tend to do so during the height of rush hour, when the skyways are jam packed.
If you have the misfortune of carrying a drink while walking behind them, don’t expect to return to the office without a stain on your shirt. You will find Stop-On-A-Dimers near department stores, as they are invariably window shoppers.
5) Popup Partiers
You would be forgiven for mistaking these people as simply a group of Stop-On-A-Dimers because the effect they have is essentially the same.
Popup Partiers are people who recognize someone they know as they are making their way through the skyways and decide to stop, on a dime, in the middle of the skyway, for a reunion party.
Single individuals doing this is bad enough but when it happens between two groups of people they crowd out all the space in the skyway, forcing traffic to reroute around them, while they happily and obliviously chatter away.
A well-timed glare can work to disperse them to the side of the skyway.
3 Ideas To Alleviate Skyway Congestion
During pedestrian rush hour, the skyways can get awfully congested. This can be a health problem because of the additional stress downtown workers endure as a result. It can also be a productivity problem due to the extended lunch breaks people must take to account for travel time.
In the interests of making life better for us all, here are a few suggestions for improvements to the skyway system:
1) Mandatory Skyway Etiquette Classes
New downtown employee orientation would include how to use (and not misuse) the skyway system.
2) Designated Fast Lanes
These lanes in the skyways would be marked off by green tape on the floors. You would have to buy an EZ-Pass to use this lane and it would be administered through Metro Transit. It would give the skyway cops something to do, chasing down and ticketing all the violators. Plus, the additional revenue could go toward creating some Super, 4-Lane Skyways.
3) High Occupancy Lanes
These lanes would be dedicated to unrepentant Side-By-Siders so the rest of us can get to where we’re going. These people would be tagged with an electronic ankle bracelet after three offenses, which would give them a mild shock if they ventured beyond the boundaries of their lanes.
Minneapolis Skyway Resources
Some other sites that might be helpful:
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