Skyways and Light-Rails… Minneapolis is shiny!
April 6, 2010 by Matthew C. Plourde
Cities in the northeast just kinda sprung from the ground around the people, farms, and homes. Roads weren’t planned. Public transportation was an afterthought. There’s just not much order to any northeastern city.
Minneapolis is a great example of a city that was planned like a motherfucker. (okay, that’s the last ‘motherfucker’ for a few blog posts at least. my mom wrote me an email today asking me where I learned my ‘motherfucking language’… I guess it was all those gin games where she called my brother a shithead… ah, sweet memories)
Back on track – Minneapolis is pretty mother-fu… Minneapolis is pretty awesome!
When I first heard of the “Lightrail”, my overactive sci-fi mind went right to ‘faster than the speed of light!’ To my disappointment, the Lightrail train is neither bright nor fast… I guess it’s lightweight? I almost ran into it with my rental car when I arrived – don’t ask! The sign was weird, I was tired, and the tracks are right on the road! What do they expect? Well, the Lightrail zips around the city and I plan to take it to the Mall of America tomorrow night… seems like a good place to hole-up for a while against the zombie horde.
Then, there’s the Skyway (see picture). Oh nelly, is it teh awesome! (yes, ‘teh’ was on purpose) You see, these bridges connect each block (for the most part) and you can walk between buildings and blocks! Shops and restaurants litter the entire pedestrian system mall-like. I walked from my hotel to my client (3 blocks away) without ever touching foot on a sidewalk! Each building’s 2nd floor is dominated by the skyway and I caused a traffic jam more than once as I stopped to ogle or check my map. Navigation wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but it’s such a change from the norm that my map was a necessary survival tool.
Minneapolis is a city, Matt-style. Being such a suburban turtle, I never liked big cities. I don’t enjoy the subways in NYC nor the T in Boston. We once got lost with the Miceli’s in the bowels Philly. Hanoi is a nightmare to navigate… Minneapolis, on the other hand, is like one big shopping mall of connected buildings and sub-cultures. One moment, you are walking through the mezzanine of Wells-Fargo, and the next you are in Macy’s, and then you land in an arcade/Irish pub. It’s fun, safe, and quite an escape from the cities I’ve recently visited.