Metro Transit, which added extra trains to its Blue and Green Line services late Thursday to serve an onslaught of late-night riders after several major sports events, reported that downtown platforms were cleared out swiftly and smoothly.
The extra trains served U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Vikings ended their final preseason game with a 27-25 victory over the Rams. That's where the crowds were the biggest.
Vikings fans seeking train rides, as well as those who poured out of Target Field after the Twins beat the White Sox 8-5, were cleared from downtown stations in good time, according to Metro Transit.
As expected, vehicle traffic out of downtown crept along even at midnight as thousands of cars pulled out of parking lots and ramps, but no major accidents were reported in the area.
The last wave of sports fans hit the streets just before 11:30 after the Minnesota Gophers beat Oregon State 30-23 at TCF Stadium. In addition to the big games, a Prince & the Revolution tribute concert at First Avenue drew many people downtown, so the area was expected to be hopping into the wee hours.
Hours before, the early-evening commute on Twin Cities roads wasn't quite the mess it was expected to be, according to MnDOT.
Commuters and drivers had plenty of warning that there would be 163,000 seats being filled at sporting and entertainment events across the metro area, spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said.
"It's a bit worse than normal, but not terrible," he said.
In one rather unexpected event, about 7 p.m., protesters moved in to block the westbound light-rail track near University and Lexington avenues in St. Paul, witnesses said. They later moved off the tracks. It was not clear what they were protesting.
Gutknecht said the evening rush hour usually starts to taper off shortly after 6 p.m. but lasted at bit longer Thursday evening.
Drivers can always use the department's 511 app to check traffic backups around the Twin Cities.
Staff writers Pat Pheifer and Tim Harlow contributed to this report.