How to Ruin Your City 101

Build skywalks all over it, a la Detroit. This way people can spend all day in your city without even stepping foot in it, conveniently floating a safe 25 feet above street level all day!

It pains me that I even I have to write this article, but here goes, I am holding my nose. Officials in the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are planning to build two of these babies right in the heart of downtown around major new developments–above the protests of residents and young people.

Sometimes, in Cleveland and around Ohio, it really seems like we’re trying to fail. Excuse me if I sound disgusted, but I am. I am at a total loss for how in 2013, with Baltimore and Cincinnati tearing these things down, public officials in our region could still think these are a good idea and take actual political stands in support of them. It’s like some kind of sick joke. This is the city planning version of medical malpractice. It’s willfully, inexcusably stupid. That’s the nicest way I can put it. For the love of God, do we seriously want to model our city after Detroit? (No offense, Detroit, but COME ON!)

My friend Joe Baur and his friend Doug Nagy, who made the above video, have been doing an admirable job trying to stop this whole thing, which is actually one of the most hopeful things I’ve seen in a while. They are attending a Cuyahoga County Council meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. and they need more people to come and remind these guys that’s it’s no longer 1970, and that walking around everywhere in glass tubes like the ground is radioactive or something is freaking RIDICULOUS!

If you can’t attend, but you’d still like to help, they have produced this form letter you can jot off to your representative:

Good Morning, 

My name is _____, and I am writing in opposition to the renovation of the Cuyahoga County Council skywalk. This project is a waste of tax dollars over the long-term, and continues to take pedestrians off the street.

I strongly encourage you to work with your colleagues in Council to remove this vibrancy-killing skywalk.


Find your representative here:

By the way, County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, who is running for governor, recently issued a lame excuse–through a spokesperson–for supporting the rebuilding of a skywalk to the new county headquarters, saying he was thinking about disabled people who work for the county, which, really, makes less and less sense the more you think about it. There could not be a more perfect example of public officials “patronizing young people instead of giving them what they ask for.” Ed Fitzgerald has styled himself as a reformer. When he was elected, he established a “NextGen” Council for the county to demonstrate that he cared about young people. Well, Ed, this looks like a prime opportunity to act like a reformer and respond to the desires of young people in a real way.


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