Know your transportation options as Downtown events ramp up


Although Downtown Minneapolis is a busy place year-round, springtime brings an upswing in the number of visitors and event-goers. Between March and May this year, more than 600 events are scheduled Downtown. So whether you’re going to a Minnesota Twins game, catching a show at Target Center, or taking in entertainment at venues across Downtown, spring is a good time for folks to refresh their memories on all the transportation options available for getting to and around Downtown.

The Twins Home Opener is April 9, starting at 3:10 p.m. (gates open at 1 p.m.), and the World Champion Minnesota Lynx start their new season at home May 20. The City, Metro Transit, and many partners are again teaming up to make sure getting to and from games 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.

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.

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 DestinationTargetField.com 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 and Target Center, the adjacent A,B,C, and Hawthorne ramps have plenty of capacity, and the ramps empty smoothly after games, without long waits.
  3. Consider transit – Target Field and Target Center are extremely transit -friendly facilities, located at The Interchange, the junction of Northstar commuter rail, the Hiawatha light rail, and many bus lines.
  4. Bicycles are another great way to the games – 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 summer of 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 games

The Northstar commuter rail line will provide service to all games at Target Field in the 2012 season. 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. New this season: 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.

The Hiawatha light-rail line – which runs from Bloomington directly to ballpark gates and serves Park & Ride facilities at Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue stations – is expected to again be a very popular choice for fans. Due to construction work near Target Field Station, light rail operations at the station will be slightly different this year, but little impact is expected for fans. Several highly visible Metro Transit staff will be available at the station to offer assistance for all games.

Express bus service on Route 679 from the County Road 73 Park & Ride in Minnetonka will be offered for every home game again in 2012. 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. Many other frequent routes travel along Hennepin and Nicollet avenues just blocks away.

Online tools and information for planning bus or train trips to Twins games is available at metrotransit.org/twins.

SouthWest Transit joins the team by offering rides to and from Twins games in 2012. Jump aboard the Twins Express Monday through Friday during the Twins season from Chaska, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie. For more information, visit http://www.swtransit.org/Twins_Express2.html.

Managing traffic

The City of Minneapolis takes a number of steps to manage traffic during Twins games and other big events. 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:

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. To help fans plan ahead and make the most of their experience Downtown, these partners have collaborated to create DestinationTargetField.com on the Minnesota Twins Web site. The site helps folks explore all their options for getting to Downtown events, whether it’s by car, on a bus or train, or by biking or walking.

Published Apr. 5, 2012