The arrival of the Green Line in downtown Minneapolis has brought a surge in foot traffic both on the street and in the skyway.
Preliminary findings of a study by Pedestrian Studies consultant Peter Bruce found that pedestrian counts from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays on Nicollet Mall near the 5th Street LRT stop were up 20 to 25 percent in the weeks following the opening of the new light rail line connecting downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Before the Green Line began running June 14, average traffic volume at 5th and Nicollet was 2,600. Two weeks after the Green Line opened, 7-9 a.m. traffic volume had increased to 3,200 pedestrian trips.
The opening of the Green Line LRT route "proved to be a factor in the volume increase," Bruce concluded.
A spring 2014 study by Pedestrian Studies, which analyzes pedestrian traffic in downtown Minneapolis and the skyway system, showed there are more people in the skyways, too.
City Center is among the busiest hubs for skyway pedestrian movement in downtown, and the most recent count found that City Center-Macy’s skyway bridge had a daily volume of 18,106 pedestrians compared to 14,300 measured in 2008 before the impacts from the recession on retail traffic were fully felt.
The skyway connecting Macy's and City Center was the busiest location among seven skyway locations studied in the two buildings.
Another busy hub is the U.S. Bank Plaza where foot traffic from three skyway corridors converge. Counts showed a daily traffic volume of 29,230. This was the first time counts had been taken there.
Bruce said the numbers could even be higher. Pedestrian Studies’ data has shown that traffic levels in the downtown skyways during the regular school year are typically 15 percent higher than during the summer vacation season.