After this brutal winter - flashback to Friday, it seem refreshing to know that the boys of summer will swing into action today with their home opener against the Oakland Athletics at Target Field. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m.
Aside from a chance of a passing shower, the weather should cooperate. Of course, that means some headaches for midday and late rush hour commuters as extra traffic will be streaming into downtown Minneapolis for the game.
Expect heavy traffic on I-394 and I-94, especially on the ride home as Twins fans will be leaving during the evening rush hour. Also expect extra vehicle and pedestrian traffic on 7th Street, 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue and Washington Avenue. Above all, obey the traffic control folks who will be out directing traffic.
No streets will be blocked off.
Transit is another option as both Metro Transit and SouthWest Transit will offer express bus service to the game. Northstar and Blue Line trains also will run.
Here is a guide to getting to the game:
Most people will arrive by car, so plan on extra time to find a place to park. Parking ramps will be full with downtown workers so have a plan B ready if your usual ramp is full. The closest ramps are A, B and C off I-394 between 7th Street and 4th Street. The Hawthorne Ramp on 9th Street is only a few minute walk to the stadium.
Should you opt for a meter, be sure to read the signs as to know when parking is and is not allowed. Also check to be sure you pay the appropriate rate as some event rates will be in effect. The meters do accept credit cards.
Metro Transit will run a special Northstar train for today's game, and for every home Twins game in 2014. Today's trip departs Big Lake at 1:23 p.m. and arrives at Target Field at 2:12 p.m. Here is a schedule for this season. For St. Cloud fans, the Northstar Commuter Link will offer bus service.
Express bus service will run from the County Road 73 Park and Ride lot off I-394 to Target Field. Route 679 buses will run every 15 minutes for two hours before each game; return service starts two hours after the game begins and runs until an hour after the game ends.
Local routes serving Target Field include 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 14, 19, 22, 50, 61 and 94. The Metro Blue Line also stops at Target Field with the platform outside Gate 6.
You can save on bus and rail fare by buying the new Twins Family Pass, which I wrote about last week.
SouthWest Transit also runs express bus service to weekday home games, including today. Buses pick up and drop off at:
- EAST CREEK STATION: Hwy 212 & Hwy 41 in Chaska
- SOUTHWEST VILLAGE: Hwy 212 & Hwy 101 in Chanhassen
- SOUTHWEST STATION: Hwy 5 & Prairie Center Dr. in Eden Prairie
If riding a bicycle is your choice - and with spring fever why not? - there are plenty of racks and posts at Target Field at which to lock up your two wheeler. Be sure to wear reflective clothing and check to see that your tires are properly inflated and your front and back lights are in working order. See and be seen.