Outside heated skyways, the Downtown winter experience can be brutal. Skyscrapers create wind tunnels that surge down streets and stir up anything not tied or bolted down.
The winds are exceptionally unfriendly to plastic shopping bags, grasping them and thrusting them onto branches of leafless trees.
These shredded bags are lodged in the foliage lining the Hennepin Ave. sidewalk on any given day. Many more tumble down the avenue itself, twisting around moving feet and light poles. Along Washington Avenue, the situation is the same.
Nicollet Mall is cleaner, but near Target Plaza between 10th and 11th streets, plastic red bull's-eyes flapping in the breeze would make easy prey for any unconventional hunter. However, no one's interested. That's the problem -- these stray plastic bags have no natural predators.
Maybe torn plastic bags are like the dust on our television screen -- so commonplace and so inevitable that they're no longer seen. (And can anyone remember the days before plastic bags when the trees were pristine? After all, paper bags are far more earthbound.) Maybe this is why these plastic bags seem to defy proper disposal, even though Downtown is a clean environment.
So keep an eye out. And the next time you find a noisome plastic bag brushing against your legs, or dangling from a low-hanging branch outside your work, do Downtown a favor and put the bag to rest in a garbage can somewhere.
See something broken on Downtown's streets and skyways? Let us know -- we can get it fixed, or at least help with the public shaming. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax 825-0929 or send your nomination to 1115 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, 55403.