Minneapolis council hears Twins ballpark traffic fixes

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2010 - 12:21 PM

Faced with potentially bedeviling traffic headaches when the Minnesota Twins start playing at their new ballpark, Minneapolis city officials were told about proposed solutions Thursday.

City council members, meeting as a committee as a whole, got a briefing from the city's public works department on how to manage traffic and parking in the narrow confines around Target Field.

Confronted with limited parking and heavy commuter traffic, department officials have come up withe several strategies.

Among them, to be implemented on game days, are traffic signal retiming, electronic message signs, traffic control agents and temporary street closures.

Specifically, about 50 electronic signs are scheduled to be operating by Opening Day on April 12, directing motorists to parking ramps and freeway exits. Another 70 signs will direct pedestrians and bicyclists.

The traffic signals at 56 intersections will be timed differently to handle the additional vehicles that will be converging on the warehouse district and about 20 traffic control officers will be working at intersections before and after games.

Parking will be banned on First Avenue N. before, during and immediately after games, as will all vehicle traffic before and right after games, depending on the size of crowds.

In an attempt to ease baseball fans' frustrations, the city, the Twins and several other public agencies have created a website with suggestions for avoiding parking and driving hassles.

It can be seen at DestinationTargetField.com.

Meanwhile, in another sign that Opening Day is fast approaching, Twins officials planned to meet Thursday with representatives of a fireworks company to discuss when -- and if -- fireworks will be set off at the ballpark.

Team spokesman Kevin Smith said the company may shoot off some fireworks to test displays "for various events such as home runs or a July Fourth celebration."

But, he said, team officials have not decided if fireworks will be set off for any event beyond Opening Day. 

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