Literally everything about this article infuriates me.

Skywalks are badass. One of the very few things that Spokane (my former home) does right that every other city fucks up is its downtown skywalk network. It’s possible to get from one side of downtown to the other entirely using interconnected skywalks. This keeps you off the streets, out of the way of bikes and cars, and out of the inclement weather. Skywalks make cities more walkable and comfortable for pedestrians while also easing the flow of bike and car traffic. They are made of architectural magic and win.

Of course, it also doesn’t help Atlantic Cities that the hero of their article is this catastrophizing asshole:

“I’m not typically the activist type,” says Joe Baur, a 26-year-old writer who moved downtown two years ago and has now started a group called OurCLE to fight the skywalks. “I’m more a satirist. But this is like – well, you may not like kids, but if you see a kid about to touch a hot stove, you’re going to stop them.” Baur says Cleveland is that kid, and the skywalk is the hot stove.

First of all, being a satirist is like being powerful or good in bed; if you have to tell people you are, you ain’t. Secondly, what right does he have to ask the city to deny developers the right to improve their buildings and make life easier and more convenient for their customers?

Baur &co claim that the skywalk would: “…deaden the neighborhood, make residents more vulnerable to crime, and block sightlines of other historic buildings in the neighborhood.”

Making an urban core more “walkable” (a term I loathe for its connotations), i.e. making it easier for people to ambulate to their destination, with a good network of skywalks is as likely to enliven the neighborhood as not. This has definitely happened in Spokane. The skywalks and the businesses along them have a constant flow of foot traffic, and it allows people to easily access the parts of downtown they want to get to, in any weather. Downtown Spokane typically isn’t dead, even in rain, snow, or sweltering heat. If I had to guess, even if skywalks don’t enliven the city, they won’t deaden it either, and they will definitely make pedestrians more comfortable and increase vehicle traffic flow. Secondly, I can’t even see the argument for increasing crime rates. Do people turn into slavering criminals when they’re suspended 20 feet off the ground? Finally, skywalks have a very low profile and most are made of glass. Any views this skywalk would block would only be blocked in the most technical sense of the word.

Of course the ur-argument against anti-skywalk hysteria is the same as it is with any of the weaksauce anti-property-rights crusades in modern cities: lack of evidence. There is exactly zero evidence that the skywalk will have any negative impacts on the commons, or the neighborhood, much less evidence showing that the externalities are of such a magnitude as to warrant legally forbidding a developer to do what they want with their own property.

Skywalks are good for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, especially in dense urban cores. The only arguments against are the fashionable, evidence-free preferences of the Chattering Class segment of urbanism. So here’s hoping that Baur and his ilk lose their fight against skywalks and spend more of their time satirizing rather than trying to shit on property rights.