If you’ve been downtown in the past 15 years or so you’ve probably had occasion to use the breezeway that runs along the east side of the F.W. Hill pedestrian mall. It’s a handy way to escape the cold and wind in winter (or rain in the spring through fall) when you’re walking between 11th and 12th Ave. on the mall.
Unfortunately, in the last couple of years the breezeway has started to show signs of its advancing age. The breezeway is operated by Harvard under an easement arrangement with the city. Not only has the breezeway become unsightly, as the above photo, and another one after the jump, attest, the worn pebble on the floor presents a pretty significant slip hazard for people who are passing through. That’s especially true in winter when people track snow into the breezeway when they enter from outside, and then have to navigate several spots where the floor is sloped.
Last winter was especially bad, with numerous reports of people slipping and falling. Fortunately, plans are in the works for an upgrade. Not only is the floor in need of replacing, there’s a number of broken tiles and wonky light fixtures that greatly detract from the breezeway’s overall appearance. For merchants in the block, the breezeway is an important access point for them to interact with shoppers so they’re naturally anxious to see what Harvard has planned. Hopefully, after 15 years with little work done beyond basic maintenance, it won’t be a half-assed job.