It’s the City’s greatest invention and the introverts greatest curse.
The +15’s covered walkways keep thousands of people out of the cold every day, bringing them to destinations all over downtown. Corner coffee stops give people mid-walk pick-me-ups, and benches along the walls give old friends and new acquaintances a chance to catch up.
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Such convenience and warmth has congregated most of the city’s walkers into a few narrow spaces – which is no good if you’re an introvert.
The last thing you want to do is battle your way through a crowded hallway or make polite chitchat with your fifth grade bestie – and sometimes the +15’s virtues hardly make up for the inconveniences.
That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help Calgary’s introverts navigate the +15. Because everyone should be able to enjoy something that keeps the wind away.
Take the route less travelled
The main routes on the +15 can get pretty busy – in January 2012, the heaviest routes got more than 20,000 pedestrians a day. Those routes are concentrated in the centre of the +15, primarily in the downtown commercial core. By using the outskirts of the +15 – the government district and the cultural district for example – you’ll be reducing the possibility of bumping into people by more than 90%.
Know before you go
Walking from one building to another is not always easy on the +15, especially when they’re a distance apart. Understanding exactly how to get from one spot to another will get you out of the crowds faster and will limit the amount of time you have to spend wandering the walkways. There are interactive pedestal maps throughout the +15 that will show you how to get from one spot to another. Check out our map of the +15 skywalk to help get around.
Take a break
If you’re going to be on the +15 for a while, you’ll want to take a moment to recoup. If you’re in a rush, you can sit down on one of the walkways benches for a minute. But if you leave a little more time, you can go to one of the +15’s many coffee shops and restaurants. Rosso Coffee Roasters has a number of spots along the +15 or just off it, and most of them have good seating. You can also try Chachi’s Sandwich Bar, Cafe Le Matin, or Charlie’s Crepes.
Skywalk in the summer
Yes, winter is the time we want to be inside and stay warm. But if you look at the stats, you’re far more likely to make it through the +15 unscathed in the summer. In January 2011, more than 13,000 people went over the bridge between The Core and Intact Centre every day. In July of that same year, it was less than half. With math like that, summer skywalks are a no brainer.
Prepare some small talk
You can’t avoid everyone forever – especially on the +15. One of the best things you can do is accept it and prepare. Putting together a couple questions you can ask an acquaintance when you bump into them can make your minute-long reunion a lot smoother. And by creating a summary of your best achievements to date, you’ll be able to come off as successful and suave to whoever asks.
Ultimately, the +15 is a transportation system – not a place you have to mingle.
By remembering that everyone is there to get from one building to another, the stress of being surrounded by people can melt away. And even if it doesn’t, you can always walk on the sidewalk.
After all, it’s just a bit of snow.