Houston, Texas also has an extensive underground tunnel system connecting large parts of the downtown business district and government buildings. It's a godsend during hot, swampy summers when commuting by foot at street level guarantees being soaked in sweat within a block or two, and is probably the most popular spot to head for lunch in the downtown area.
One interesting factor here is that aside from the portions serving government buildings, the tunnel system has grown organically as each piece is constructed and maintained by the owner of the building above. Direct tunnel access from a building is considered a major perk for employees and drives up commercial rent prices in each section's associated building.
While the Chicago Pedway is interesting, it is not extensive. The most interesting part of it is a relatively tiny section of mixed use commercial including hotels. It’s not useful to the bulk of downtown workers on a day to day.
This + when I lived there (2015-17), large segments of the Pedway would close at seemingly arbitrary hours, making it pretty common to have to head back to street level anyway to get between, say, Millennium Station and the State/Lake L stop outside of core business hours.
Some cities in Japan have large underground pedestrian tunnel systems, too. In Tokyo, the most extensive might be around Shinjuku Station , though there’s also a large one around Tokyo Station that is connected through a series of tunnels to a smaller one around Yurakucho and Ginza . I walked the entire length of the latter one snowy day about twenty-five years ago. Fukuoka and Sapporo also have underground passageways and malls in the city center.
My favorite is the maze of tunnels in the Umeda area of Osaka . It includes a lot of retail as well as sometimes obscure connections through the basements of buildings. The bar- and restaurant-lined corridors under the slightly rundown Osaka Eki Mae buildings are especially fun to explore [4, 5].
I used to live in the middle of the "The east side" and the pedway is really cool. If you're brave, there is way more walking complexity than just the pedway. Upper right on the map has 3 levels of streets and the bridges have 2 levels(with pedestrian sidewalks). Its kind of dark and seedy to walk on the bottom levels. At the middle level you can walked to the river walk which is nice. Going to the lake is nice. Really no retail underground, except for Billy Goat Tavern on the other side of the river. There are the ghosts of the Blues Brothers driving by on Wacker...
I live across the street from a pedway entrance, and commute to work via the Metra Electric from Millenium Station, so on rainy days, I sometimes take the extra few minutes to go through the pedway, but usually I walk the two blocks outside instead since it's substantially faster.
One time on a particularly cold day I found occasion to take the Pedway all the way to the City Clerk to pick up my daughter's birth certificate...
They are great as a way to avoid extreme weather on the surface (cold in Rochester's and New York's case, hot in Taipei's and Hong Kong's case) and car traffic.
Hong Kong takes things a step further in that it's actually hard to get around at ground level. Many streets don't have pedestrian crossings and there are barriers to prevent jaywalking. I'm not a fan honestly.
One of the interesting things about the Hong Kong system is that unlike many places with this pedway system, the terrain gets quite steep quite quickly, and so using the pedway systems may result in the same or fewer level changes than using the street network.
Most private underground pedestrian tunnels are basements of existing buildings. Do you think the government should be using tax payer money to be cease/buy basements instead? Seems like a really odd use of resources just to not be able to kick out people who aren’t using the path for the intend purpose… but more so: Seems like something most local governments in North America would be too inefficient to handle without it turning into a project that takes 50 years and millions of dollars to complete 1 mile.
Usually the primary complaint about making them private, is that coordinating wayfinding for a bunch of private rights of way is very difficult, so what may be a complete network can be hard to use as such. Some landlords may not want you to realize you can go to a different property a few blocks away to complete your needs.
> Love to visit Hong Kong some day just to wander the pedestrian network, a fraction of which (apparently) is shown here:
If you get tired of wandering the pedestrian network within the city, make sure to visit the extensive network of hiking trails that (unlike so many other cities, where you have to drive before you can get a good hike) you can get to by walking from the city. I was there for two weeks for business, and frustrated my host no end because I refused to visit the celebrated shopping districts when there were so many trails to be explored.
Climbing is disproportionately hard on a bicycle, and realistically you'd have to go in and out of whatever area had this tunnel network. Plus the great advantage of a bicycle is being able to safely mingle among shops/restaurants/etc. and stop off directly if you see somewhere you like. So no, probably not, just like bicycle overpasses at junctions seem like a good idea to non-cyclists but are usually pretty useless.
I don't think it's a separate, dedicated tunnel, as much as a network of public spaces including tunnels, but also, e.g., building lobbies and concourses, dense with pedestrians and probably not a place for biking.
This is another post that makes me so angry about what they did unleashing covid on the world!
I walk through that lobby shown in the first image maybe 3 or more times a week, multiple times a day. None of those great food kiosks shown are there anymore and so many more that are out of camera shot are gone as well.
The Pedway has become a filthy dirty mess in disrepair and reeking of powerful weed, and fresh human feces and urine.
It's definitely a Godsend in the dead of winter and a great place to get exercise walking to and fro after sitting in front of a computer screen all day. But hell, it could be so much better and could server so many more people.