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Skybridge in Covent Garden.
A multi-level shopping centre bridge in Calgary.
The skyway system in Taipei.
Skyways in Atlanta.
In Garden City, Georgia, a catwalk is used by the school kids of George A. Mercer Middle School and other pedestrians to safely cross Augusta Road (State Highway 21) at Rommel Avenue.

In an urban setting, a skyway, catwalk, sky bridge, or skywalk is a type of pedway consisting of an enclosed or covered bridge between two buildings. This protects pedestrians from the weather. These skyways are usually owned by businesses, and are therefore not public spaces (compare with sidewalk). Skyways usually connect on the first few floors above the ground-level floor, though they are sometimes much higher, as in Petronas Towers (though this skyway is often referred to as a sky bridge). The space in the buildings connected by skyways is often devoted to retail business, so areas around the skyway may operate as a shopping mall. Non-commercial areas with closely associated buildings, such as university campuses, can often have skyways and/or tunnels connecting buildings.

The world's largest skyway network – Calgary, Alberta's "+15 Walkway" system – has a total length of 16 km (10 miles). However, the system is discontinuous, and it does not connect every downtown building. The largest continuous network of skyways – the Minneapolis Skyway System – spans 8 miles (13 km) connecting 69 blocks in downtown Minneapolis.

Other cities in the Midwest, such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Rochester, and Saint Paul also have significant skyway systems. On a smaller scale, terminals of large airports are often connected by skywalk systems, as at Manchester Airport, United Kingdom.

The Mumbai Skywalks system is a discontinuous system of 50 skywalks planned in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, each 1 to 2 kms in length. When completed, the system will be the largest skyway system in the world. The first of these is a 1.3km (0.8mi) long skywalk connecting the suburban regions of Bandra and Kurla.[1][2][3]

Some cities have the equivalent of a skyway underground, and many locales have mixed subway/skyway systems; see underground city.


Early examples of skywalks

Environmental factors

Besides pedestrian safety and convenience, the chief reasons assigned by urban planners for skywalk development are decrease of traffic congestion, reduction in vehicular air pollution and separation of people from vehicular noise. A number of cities (for example, Spokane, Washington) have given intricate analysis to skywalk systems employing computer models to optimize skywalk layout (Carbon monoxide dispersion analysis in downtown Spokane, ESL Inc., Sunnyvale, (1973))

List of cities with notable systems

A skybridge connects the two towers of Petronas Towers.
An inside view of the skybridge of Petronas Towers.
City Length Blocks Connected Link
Atlanta, Georgia 14 blocks map
Bangkok, Thailand (between Skytrain Siam Station and Central World) >2 km
Calgary, Alberta (+15 or +30 Walkway) 10 miles (16 km) ~64 blocks map
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 15 blocks map
Cincinnati, Ohio (Skywalk) 1.3 miles (2.1 km) 15 blocks map
Dallas, Texas (Skywalks are a part of the larger Dallas Pedestrian Network) ~12 buildings map
Des Moines, Iowa (Skywalk) >3.5 miles (5.6 km) 30 blocks map
Detroit, Michigan 10 Buildings ~ 8 blocks map
Duluth, Minnesota (Skywalk) ~17 blocks map
Edmonton, Alberta (Edmonton Pedway) ~13 blocks map
Fargo, North Dakota
Grand Rapids, MI (Skywalk) >1 mile (1.7 km) 7 blocks - connects 12,000-seat VanAndel Arena, JW Marriott, Amway Grand Plaza and Marriott Courtyard hotels as well as 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2) DeVos Place Convention Center [1]
Hong Kong (footbridges)
Houston, Texas (skyways are a small part of the larger Houston Downtown Tunnel System) >6 miles including tunnels ~35 blocks (95 total) map
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Petronas Twin Towers) 170m above the ground and 58 m long between the two towers on 41st and 42nd floors, world's highest 2-story bridge
London, Barbican Estate and London Wall map
Melbourne, Australia 4 blocks & Airport 4 city blocks and Tullamarine Airport serviced by a series of skyways
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Empire building, Chase tower, Grand Avenue mall, Federal building, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Midwest Airlines center
Minneapolis, Minnesota (Minneapolis Skyway System) >8 miles ~80 blocks map
Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India 50+ km (planned) Mumbai Suburban Railway stations to important junctions MMRDA Skywalks
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ~30 buildings
Paradise, Nevada (skyways provided in lieu of street level pedestrian crossings)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 16 blocks map
Rochester, Minnesota (Skyway) ~17 blocks map
Rochester, New York 20 buildings over 13 blocks map
Saint Paul, Minnesota (Skyway) >5 miles 30 blocks map
Sioux City, Iowa 13 blocks map
Spokane, Washington 16 blocks map
Toronto, Ontario 0.7 km 2 blocks - Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building and Union Station (Toronto)
Vilvoorde, Flanders 1.6 miles (2.7 km) 9 blocks 50°54′50″N 4°24′57″E / 50.91389°N 4.41583°E / 50.91389; 4.41583
Winnipeg, Manitoba (Winnipeg Walkway) 18 blocks map

More cities and details: Montgomery, Michael R. and Richard Bean, "Market Failure, government failure, and the private supply of public goods: the case of climate-controlled walkway networks," in Public Choice, Vol. 99 (1999), pages 403-437, whose abstract may be seen at RePEc: Research Papers in Economics.

See also




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