After complaints of people pooping, sleeping, littering and taking drugs in St. Paul's skyways, new rules to make them safer will go into effect on Wednesday.
The city last month approved new measures to improve conditions for users and business owners, following complaints about crime, garbage and homeless people camping out in the skyways.
The most notable change is that building owners will be allowed to close their skyway connections at midnight, rather than the 2 a.m. it was previously, the City of St. Paul confirmed.
The Pioneer Press reports that several building owners had asked to be allowed to close their skyway connections even earlier, at 8 p.m., but this was rejected by the city council.
Another of the measures to enhance the atmosphere requires building owners to place security cameras in the skyway to cut down on crime, and new signage and maps to help people find their way around the system.
The city also approved a "skyway code of conduct," the replacement of the skyways' worn, stained carpet with cleanable flooring, and has said it will monitor temperatures more consistently to keep the skyways comfortable for users.
It follows months of talks
The changes were proposed after consultations with the public, downtown residents and building owners, with the new ordinance passing last month.
Among those complaining about skyway conditions was Jaunae Brooks, who owns the Railroader Printing Building at 235 E. 6th St. and took matters into her own hands by closing off her building skyway at 8 p.m. earlier this year.
She was cited for doing so and risked charges, but she told the council she was sick of homeless people flocking to her building where they would defecate, use needles and sleep.
The city is hoping the new rules have an impact, with council member Rebecca Noecker saying a safe and accessible skyway system is "a critical part of our strong and vibrant downtown."
"I believe these regulations strike a healthy balance between safety and accessibility and that they are a significant step in strengthening the downtown experience," she said in the city's press release.