Any fan who has fought through rush hour traffic to see the Vikings, Twins or Gophers knows how grueling it can be, but Thursday all three are playing -- and the Minnesota State Fair is still in full swing.
The city of Minneapolis sent out a release on urging commuters to be prepared for a busy afternoon and evening in downtown on Thursday and plan ahead when it comes to transportation.
The crowds will start to come in before noon since the Twins will take on the Royals at Target Field at 12:10. With the Vikings set to face off against the Titans at the Metrodome at 7 p.m. -- one hour after the Golden Gophers kick off their game against UNLV at TCF Bank Stadium, traffic will be tight -- and so will parking.
Metro Transit and other partners are teaming up to make getting to and from the events as smooth as possible and Downtown Improvement District Ambassadors will be on the streets to answer questions. They'll be easy to spot with their bright green shirts.
The city is urging fans and other downtown visitors to keep all the events in mind when they decide whether to drive, ride a bus, take a train, bike, walk or order a cab.
- Know your parking options downtown: Ramps and meter-limited street parking.
- Consider a park-and-ride: There are nearly 2,800 free spaces along the light rail line.
- Use mass transit: Both Target Field and the Metrodome are accessible by bus and train.
- Ride the bike lanes: Headlights and taillights are required after dark.
- Come early, stay late: Avoiding peak travel times eases headaches for all.
Two of the light rail trains running to and from the games will have an extra car attached to welcome more riders, and direct bus service is also available from the County Road 73 Park & Ride in Minnetonka via Twins Express Route 679. Return service will begin two hours after first pitch and continue in half-hour intervals until an hour after the game ends.
More information on transit to Twins games can be found online at metrotransit.org/twins.
NORTHSTAR OFFERS $20 TRANSIT FOR FAMILY OF 5
The Northstar commuter rail line travels directly to Target Field from stations in the following suburbs:
- Big Lake
- Coon Rapids
- Elk River
The Roundtrip Family Pass provides two-and-from transportation for two adults and up to three children between the ages of 6-17 for $20 or less. Those tickets can be purchased online.
Bus service is also available from St Cloud and Becker that connects with the Northstar train at Big Lake before every game this season, and an extra Northstar train will leave Target Field an hour after the Vikings game on Thursday.
NEW INTERCHANGE COMING IN 2014
Visitors at Target Field will notice a few changes on the 5th Street side of the ballpark this summer as Hennepin County begins construction on a new interchange that will open next year.
Some minor changes will be made to the way riders board light rail trains after Twins games, but Metro Transit staff will be on site to answer questions and assist commuters.
The interchange is expected to serve as a centralized, multi-modal transportation hub with a community gathering space.