The skywalks once served as an indoor mall in downtown Lincoln connecting stores, parking garages and hotels. (My mom worked at Miller and Paine in the 1970s and 1980s in a building that now houses Nelnet) The skywalks and buildings served by them mainly serve office workers in downtown Lincoln. I frequent the skywalks when I have work obligations downtown. Many major downtown employers, such as Nelnet, subsidize employee parking in various downtown garages. Employees can access those garages through the skywalks.
In theory, indoor walkways like the skywalk system would reduce the chances of slip and fall accidents. But from a recent observation, maintenance is lacking some parts of the Skywalk. I observed a leaky roof that lead to wet carpet on an internal walkway in the US Bank building in August.
I recently represented a downtown office worker who feared being assaulted walking to her parking spot late at night. Skywalks can help reduce the risk of employees being assaulted on the way to their cars.
My view is that downtown business owners and the city need to work together to maintain the skywalk system in the interest of worker safety.
Bus benches and shelters are a matter of basic human dignity. The fact that someone taking the bus to work as a housekeeper or nursing aide can’t sit down or get out of the elements while waiting for transportation makes me feel sad and angry. The lack of benches and shelters is quite visible along South 13th Street with groups of people stand along the street waiting for the bus.