A skyway, skybridge, or skywalk is an elevated type of pedway between two or more buildings in an urban area for connections or walking or on mountains in recreational zones as walking tourist attraction. Urban skyways very often consisting of an enclosed or covered footbridges, that protects pedestrians from the weather. In opposite, open-top modern skyways in mountains now often has the glass bottoms. Sometimes enclosed urban skywalks are made almost totally from glass including ceilings, walls and floors. Also some urban skyways as linear parks known just for walking and rest.

In North America skyways are usually owned by businesses, and are therefore not public spaces (compare with sidewalk). However, in Asia, such as Bangkok's and Hong Kong's skywalks, they are built and owned separately by the city government, connecting between privately run rail stations or other transport with their own footbridges, and run many kilometers. Skyways usually connect on the first few floors above the ground-level floor, though they are sometimes much higher, as in Petronas Towers. 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 discontinuous skyway network – Calgary, Canada's "+15 Walkway" system – has a total length of 18 km (11 mi). The Minneapolis Skyway System is the world's largest continuous system and spans 11 miles (18 km) connecting 80 blocks in downtown Minneapolis.

On a smaller scale, terminals of large airports are often connected by skywalk systems, as at Manchester Airport, United Kingdom; in many airports, retractable jet bridges provide a direct connection between airplanes and terminals.

Some cities have the equivalent of a skyway underground, and there are also mixed subway/skyway systems; see underground city.

Early examples

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.[1]

Negative impacts

There is debate about the negative impact on urban areas of skyways. Robertson (1988) noted the negative impacts to street activities, and reductions to the property value at ground level.[2] Woo (2012) found that skywalk systems could be negatively associated with promoting consumerism.[3] Cui (2015) called for more research into the impact of skyways in developing countries.[4]

Cities with notable systems

North America

There are significant skyway networks in many cities in the US Midwest, such as Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Rochester, Cincinnati, and Duluth.[5] Most networks in North America are privately owned. A notable exceptions are skyways in Saint Paul and in New York (High Line), which are publicly owned.[6]

City SystemLengthBlocks connectedLink
Atlanta, Georgia Peachtree Center 14 blocks map
Calgary, Alberta +15 or +30 Walkway18 km (11 miles)[7]~64 blocksmap
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 15 blocksmap
Chicago, Illinois Chicago Pedway 40 blocks
Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Skywalk1.3 miles (2.1 km)15 blocksmap
Dallas, Texas Part of the larger Dallas Pedestrian Network~12 buildingsmap
Des Moines, Iowa Skywalk4 miles (6.4 km)[8]30 blocksmap
Detroit, Michigan 10 buildings, ~ 8 blocksmap
Duluth, Minnesota Skywalk3 miles (4.8 km)[9]~17 blocksmap
Edmonton, Alberta Edmonton Pedway13 kilometres (8.1 mi)~13 blocksmap
Fargo, North Dakota 6 blocks
Grand Rapids, Michigan 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 Centermap
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Downtown Halifax Link
Houston, Texas Part of the larger Houston Downtown Tunnel System> 6 miles (9.7 km) including tunnels~35 blocks (95 total)map
Indianapolis, Indiana Indianapolis SkywalkConnects the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis Artsgarden, Lucas Oil Stadium, Circle Centre Mall, Indianapolis Union Station, JW Marriott Indianapolis, and 11 other hotels.[10]map
Kansas City, Missouri Crown Center
Las Vegas Strip Skyways are provided in lieu of street level pedestrian crossings
Louisville, Kentucky Louie LinkA glassed-in skywalk called the Louie Link stretches six city blocks and links together the Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC), Fourth Street Live!, three hotels (Galt House Hotel & Suites, Marriott and Hyatt Regency), and 2,300 hotel rooms. In 2010 it was extended from the Galt House to the new $16 million Skywalk Garage, an eight-level, 860-space parking facility on Third Street, and a second skywalk connects from the garage across Third Street to the new KFC Yum! Centermap
Mankato, Minnesota ~ 0.5 miles (0.80 km)8 blocks
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Empire Building, Chase Tower, Grand Avenue Mall, Federal Building, Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Wisconsin Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota Minneapolis Skyway System> 11 miles (18 km)~80 blocksmap
New York High Line> 1.45 miles (2.33 km)The pedestrian skyway and linear park on 10 m height on former elevated railwaymap
New York Hunter College3 blocks
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Oklahoma City Underground ~30 buildings
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 16 blocksmap
Rochester, Minnesota Skyway~17 blocksmap
Rochester, New York 20 buildings over 13 blocksmap
Saint Paul, Minnesota Skyway> 5 miles (8.0 km)30 blocksmap
Sioux City, Iowa 13 blocksmap
Spokane, Washington 16 blocks
Toronto, Ontario SkyWalk0.7 km2 blocks – Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building and Union Station (Toronto)
Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg Walkway18 blocks


The highest cantilevered skybridge between separate buildings in the world now placed in local Raffles City skyscrapers complex in Chongqing, China. World longest 430-meters pedestrian hanging skywalk Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge between mountain peaks also situated in China.

The highest cantilevered skybridge as construction element of building exist atop of Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

One of the most famous similar cantilevered skybridges, that looks like uppered ship from the bird's-eye and submarine from the ground, known in Singapore's Marina Bay Sands resort complex of skyscrapers.

Also wide known the world's highest 2-story skybridge, 170 m above the ground and 58 m long, between the two towers on 41st and 42nd floors in Petronas Twin Towers dual skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia also have the mountainarian tourist pedestrian glass-bottom Langkawi Sky Bridge in Kedah, Langkawi.

One of the most impessionable hanging pedestrian skybridges, supported by two giant hands, Golden Bridge now attracts the tourists in Ba Na Hills near Da Nang, Vietnam.

In Bangkok, Thailand there are more than 5.4 km of covered wide dedicated elevated skywalks[11] with lighting. These were developed due to lack of proper sidewalks as well as street hawkers and local merchants taking advantage of any sidewalk space as makeshift commercial real estate. Common reasons skywalks were built include to avoid street pollution, dust, wetness from food vendors and/or rain, potholes, long queues, crowds, and uneven pavement, supporting urbanism but probably most importantly, tourism receipts. Most skywalks connect to a BTS station and utilize space underneath the rail line and BTS pillar supports. These skywalks have connector ramps which connect stations to malls seamlessly and are paid for by the malls themselves, otherwise the city and BTS fund walkway development. A 50km long extension project was shelved in 2011 due to funding issues,[12] nevertheless the system is growing organically.

In Hong Kong, there are numerous foot bridge networks across the city. Particularly large networks exists around elevated or at grade MTR stations and connections between malls and housing estates in new town centers. The largest network spans Admiralty, Central and parts of Sheung Wan districts in the CBD and consists of the Central Elevated and Central–Mid-Levels Walkway systems which link up over 40 major office buildings. The Central–Mid-Levels walkway system is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world according to Guinness World Records.[9][10] Other large systems exist in Tsuen Wan and Mong Kok.

The Mumbai Skywalk Project is a planned discontinuous network of over 50 km of skywalks in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India. The skyways will connect Mumbai Suburban Railway stations to important junctions, each 1 to 2 km in length. The first of these is a 1.3 km (0.8 mi) long skywalk connecting the suburban regions of Bandra and Kurla.[13][14][15]

Additionally, short skyways are used to connect buildings in other Asian locations.


Brussels, Belgium has a skyway between the two Belgacom Towers.

London has skywalks on the Barbican Estate and London Wall. The City of London Pedway Scheme was devised as part of the post World War II reconstruction plans for London, it was put into effect mainly from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s and eventually abandoned by the 1980s.

Like in New York, Paris have in 12th arrondissement the Promenade Plantée including pedestrian bridges and linear park on aqueduct on former railway.


See also

  • Footbridge - a bridge for pedestrians
  • Overpass - a bridge, road or railway crossing over another road or railway
  • Pedestrian separation structure - any structure which separates pedestrians from the roadway
  • Pedway - pedestrian walkways, includes both skyways and underground walkways
  • Sidewalk - pedestrian path along the side of a road
  • Catwalk - a narrow footbridge or walkway to allow workers access to parts of a structure


  1. Carbon monoxide dispersion analysis in downtown Spokane, ESL Inc., Sunnyvale, (1973)
  2. Robertson, K. A. (1988-07-01). "PEDESTRIAN SKYWALK SYSTEMS: DOWNTOWN'S GREAT HOPE OR PATHWAYS TO RUIN?". Transportation Quarterly. 42 (3). ISSN 0278-9434.
  3. Ares (2012-07-02). "Guest Article: Skywalks in Hong Kong and their Consequences on Urban Communities". Places. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  4. Cui, Jianqiang; Allan, Andrew; Lin, Dong (2015-06-03). "Assessing grade separation pedestrian systems: Planning, design and operation". URBAN DESIGN International. 20 (3): 241–252. doi:10.1057/udi.2015.8. ISSN 1357-5317.
  5. Montgomery, Michael R.; Bean, Richard (1999-01-01). "Market Failure, Government Failure, and the Private Supply of Public Goods: The Case of Climate-Controlled Walkway Networks". Public Choice. 99 (3–4): 403–37. doi:10.1023/a:1018301628084. ISSN 0048-5829.
  6. "How a small request kicked off a big debate over skyways and public safety in St. Paul". MinnPost. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  7. "Calgary's +15 Skywalk". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21.
  8. Skywalks – Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved on 2011-09-30.
  9. Skywalk, Skywalk Fitness Program, Clean & Safe Team Contact. Retrieved on 2016-04-26.
  10. "Connected Hotels in Indianapolis". Visit Indy. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  12. "BMA's skywalk project 'over-priced'". 2011-03-03.
  13. Archived September 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. Bellman, Eric. (2010-01-19) Packed Streets Have a City of Walkers Looking Skyward for Answers. Retrieved on 2011-09-30.
  15. Archived June 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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