Elevation profile of connected interior spaces

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It’s downtown Lexington, summer, and hot. Poor air quality and oppressive heat are hazards for older walkers and those with cranky babies. An interior (mostly air conditioned) pedway exists that connects various buildings downtown and is a walking convenience for many folks. When Lexington has more shady pedestrian paths away from city streets, walking inside wouldn’t be so inviting and necessary.

Some initial measurements. We figure a straight walk over the unique segments of the main pedway is at minimum 0.6 miles long with 5 flights of stairs climbed. If you explored the side passages and parking towers, you could almost double the mileage and triple the stairs climbed. That’s in one direction. If you want to get creative, stairwells to the two highest buildings in Lexington are on this path.

I might be thinking of these spaces as opportunities for recreation and fitness, but they are beneficial to folks who work or visit downtown. These interior paths offer a viable means of avoiding our busiest streets downtown, especially during poor weather. You could, for instance, connect Short and High streets and completely avoid the Main and Vine Street corridors. Broadway is crossed twice. You could safely navigate the urban massif using these pedway-connected air-conditioned spaces.

Another advantage is access to amenities for locals. It’s not good on variety and more tuned toward tourists, but opportunities exist. There are shops for coffee, chocolate, beer, vegan salads, and fast food. The Straus Tobacconist is the closest shop to downtown that sells bourbon by the bottle and other odd and expensive stuff that a visitor might want. Yes, these shops are more expensive and not my first choice, but they are there.

There is a lot to criticize and praise about these pseudo-public spaces, but we can all appreciate they enable more pedestrian access. The more people that walk, the fewer that drive. I’m optimistic that when Town Branch Trail gets built out and connects downtown, these interior spaces will help extend the pedestrian network with unique and unusual destinations.

Link to profile on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/LoUfah
and photos of inside: https://flic.kr/s/aHskESWHmF

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