Now that Metro Transit's Green Line is in service, and two others in the works (Southwest and Bottineau), an ample amount of thought has been devoted to craft ways for rail users and pedestrians to safely use the Downtown East light-rail stop, particularly during Vikings games.
On Monday, the Metro Transit officials briefed the Met Council's Transportation Committee on a proposed pedestrian bridge over Chicago Av. S. that would link the new $1 billion Vikings stadium to a plaza near the intersection of Park Av. S. and Fourth St. In short, officials hope to avoid a dangerous scrum of fans on the rail tracks before and after games.
Metro Transit will issue requests-for-proposals for the project by mid-September. The transit agency will likely devote $6 millon from its coffers for the project (this figure could be offset by federal grants), with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (which oversees stadium construction) ponying up $2 million, and the rest coming from bonds issues by the Met Council.
Last year, about 6,700 Vikings fans (about 10 percent) took light-rail transit to games. The two Vikings games played at TCF Stadium at the University of Minnesota saw 20 percent of attendees taking the new Green Line, which connects the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Once all four light-rail lines are completed, that figure could jump to 40 percent of game-goers, Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr said.