Thursday afternoon and evening will be a busy one in and around downtown Minneapolis, with the Vikings scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. CT for their preseason finale and with several other events and circumstances happening within a condensed time frame. As such, Vikings fans are encouraged to plan ahead with regard to their transportation to and from the Thursday night’s game.
On top of Vikings vs. Titans, the Minneapolis area will also be site of an afternoon Minnesota Twins game, a University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football game, the State Fair and the usual summer road construction projects. Whether fans plan to drive, take public transit, bike or walk, it will be important to be thoughtful and plan ahead.
Following is information pulled from a press released distributed by the City of Minneapolis to help fans plan ahead for Thursday evening…
The City, Metro Transit, and many partners are teaming up to make sure getting to and from events goes as smoothly as it can. As usual, Downtown Improvement District Ambassadors will be out on the streets in their bright green shirts, and they’re a great resource for people who have questions while they’re out and about Downtown.
New this year – The Interchange is coming!
Visitors to Target Field this summer will notice some changes on the 5th Street side of the ballpark, where Hennepin County is constructing the Interchange. Scheduled to open in 2014, the Interchange will serve as a central, multi-modal transportation hub and community gathering space in downtown Minneapolis. For the 2013 Twins season, construction means there will be some minor changes to the way riders will board light rail trains after games, and Metro Transit staff will be on hand to assist customers. The project partners would like to thank folks for their patience while this major improvement is under way.
Getting where you’re going
Downtown is an urban setting that provides transportation opportunities to meet everyone’s desired experience, whether you want to drive, ride a bus, take a train, or bike or walk.
When visiting Downtown, there are five tips people should remember to minimize delays and maximize their enjoyment of all the activities going on.
1. Plan ahead – Visit TwinsBaseball.com/transportation to learn more about all your transportation choices. Visit the Downtown Improvement District’s events calendar at www.MinneapolisDID.com to see what events are going on any day.
2. Know your parking options – There is parking availability throughout Downtown. If you prefer convenient access to Target Field the adjacent A,B,C, and Hawthorne ramps have plenty of capacity, and the ramps empty smoothly after games, without long waits. If you’re parking on the street when coming Downtown, make sure to check the signs to be sure of the time limit and hours of enforcement for your parking space.
3. Use transit – Target Field and the Metrodome are extremely transit –friendly. Both are on the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha) and many bus lines. Target Field and Target Center are located at the junction of Northstar commuter rail, the METRO Blue Line, and a number of bus lines, at the future site of The Interchange.
4. Bicycles are another great way to get to events – Bicyclists are reminded to use headlights and taillights after dark and, if possible, to wear light or reflective clothing.
5. Come early/Stay late – The Warehouse District is ready to welcome fans for another season of football, baseball, shows, and excitement. Take part in activities, shopping, dining, and other entertainment before and after games and concerts. Enjoy the extra time to experience all Downtown has to offer, and beat the traffic.
Taking transit to events
The Northstar commuter rail line offers direct service to Target Field from stations in Big Lake, Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. For added savings, the Northstar Roundtrip Family Pass offers roundtrip rides for two adults and up to three kids ages 6-17 for $20 or less. Customers can buy round-trip tickets and Northstar Roundtrip Family Passes for Twins games online at metrotransit.org/Northstar. Full train schedules for every game and fare information are available for viewing and printing at metrotransit.org/twins. Additionally, Northstar Link bus service from St. Cloud and Becker is scheduled to connect with trains at Big Lake for every game this season. An extra Northstar train will depart Target Field Station one hour after the Vikings game has concluded.
The METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha) runs from Bloomington, to the H.H.H Metrodome past Target Center, and directly to Target Field’s gates. It serves large Park & Ride facilities at Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue stations which have nearly 2,800 free parking spaces. NEW for the 2013 season – trains serving Twins games will have more cars to give fans a more comfortable ride. The addition of brand-new light-rail cars will provide more capacity and faster boarding after games. All METRO Blue Line trains are scheduled to operate with three cars. Two additional three-car light-rail trains will be available for service on August 29.
Direct bus service on Twins Express Route 679 from the County Road 73 Park & Ride in Minnetonka with hundreds of free parking spaces will be offered for every Twins home game again in 2013. Buses start taking fans to the ballpark two hours before each game. Return service begins two hours after first pitch (example: 7:10 p.m. game, buses begin returning to the Park & Ride at 9:10) and continues roughly every half hour until an hour after the game ends.
A number of popular and frequent bus routes stop near Target Field. From the east, Routes 3, 16, 50 and 94 serve Ramp B/5th Street Transit Center adjacent to Target Field and Target Center. Many other frequent routes travel along Hennepin and Nicollet avenues just blocks away. Metro Transit is adding 20 buses to service in support of the special events scheduled for August 29.
Online tools and information for instantly planning bus or train trips to Twins games is available at metrotransit.org/twins.
The City of Minneapolis takes a number of steps to manage traffic during big events Downtown. The volume of pedestrians, bikes, and cars Downtown before and after these events means increased traffic, but there are several ways the City works to improve operations and minimize congestion, including:
- Traffic control agents are at many Downtown intersections during peak times before and after the events. Traffic control agents at intersections are key to maintaining traffic flow and improving pedestrian safety when volumes are high.
- Special traffic signal timing patterns are used to move high numbers of vehicles during events.
- Dynamic messaging signs throughout Downtown provide drivers with real-time information as they move around the area. There are currently more than 70 of these signs Downtown, which are used to direct people to parking, to notify drivers when key parking ramps fill, and to help drivers find their way around.
Events calendar makes it easy to plan ahead
Whether you want to go to a game, catch a play, or see a concert, finding just the right events and activities for your family is easy when you use the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District’s online events calendar.
The calendar is on the Downtown Improvement District’s website at www.MinneapolisDID.com. The list includes events and entertainment at dozens of venues, big and small, throughout Downtown. The list can be viewed and sorted in several different ways to help you find what you’re looking for. The calendar includes sporting events, live performances, theater events, festivals and parades, exhibits, and many other entertainment options. The calendar makes it easy to find out if there are lots of events on a given day, and knowing what else is happening Downtown will help you plan ahead to minimize transportation delays.
Help prevent car break-ins
The Minneapolis Police Department and the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District encourage you to protect yourself from vehicle break-ins and “Put Your Junk In Your Trunk.” Get in the habit of keeping all of your belongings in the trunk of your car, prior to arriving at your destination, and never leave belongings in plain view. Remember to always call 911 if you see suspicious behavior.
Making event days a great experience
Many City departments, the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Ballpark Authority, Target Center, the Minnesota Vikings, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Hennepin County, Metro Transit, ABC Ramps, the Warehouse District Business Association, the Downtown Improvement District, the Hennepin Theatre District, the Minneapolis Convention Center, the Guthrie Theater, and others are all taking steps to make event days in Downtown success.