Baseball is back as the Twins open the 2017 season with game against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m., but you'll want to leave for downtown Minneapolis long before then.
Monday is a work day, of course, meaning office workers will have nabbed their usual spots. That means parking will be tighter than on normal game days, especially since a near sell-out crowd is expected.
Things could be even worse for fans taking in the Timberwolves game, which starts about the time the Twins game should be letting out. It's a 6 p.m. tip-off so expect a crush of vehicular and pedestrian traffic around the stadium and arena all day.
Parking aside, there is lots of construction on roads leading to the sports area, so plan on extra commuting time. With that said, here are some tips that will hopefully make getting to the games a bit less of a hassle.
This might be the best way to go as Metro Transit's Green and Blue light-rail lines stop right outside Target Field. Hop on at any of the stations along the line. Or, park over by US Bank Stadium and catch a ride to the ballpark for just 50 cents.
The METRO Blue Line Park & Ride facilities at Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue stations have nearly 2,800 free parking spaces meaning you won't have to fight downtown traffic if you ride from there.
The METRO Green Line runs from Union Depot in St. Paul, along University Ave, into Minneapolis.
Remember no Twins Express (Route 679) for this season. Local bus routes 3, 14 and 94 serve Ramp B/5th Street Transit Center adjacent to Target Field. Many other frequent routes travel along Hennepin and Nicollet avenues just blocks away. Get there before 3 and the fare for local routes is just $1.75. To plan your trip, see metrotransit.org/twins
Metro Transit's Northstar commuter train offers direct service to Target Field Station from stations in Big Lake, Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. For added savings, the Northstar Family Pass offers round trip rides for two adults and up to three kids ages 6-17 for $20 or less. Additionally, Northstar Link bus service from St. Cloud and Becker is scheduled to connect with trains at Big Lake.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation shut down two lanes on eastbound (southbound) I-94 between Hwy. 252 and Dowling Avenue. Additional lane closures are in effect from there down to the 7th Street exit in downtown Minneapolis. In short, this will be a big squeeze, so plan on a traffic jam and longer commute times if this is your regular route.
Alternatives include taking Hwy. 100 to 394, then in, and if you have two or more folks with you, take advantage of the MnPass lane. Convenient access to parking garages is available off of 394. Other routes include East River Road/Marshall Street to Hennepin Avenue or University Avenue to Hennepin. Using city streets such as Lyndale Avenue to 7th Street could work, too, if you don't mind a few extra traffic lights.
Once downtown, be aware of road work affecting city streets, namely Washington Avenue and roads immediately adjacent to Target Center. With 42,000 fans going to the game, that will put extra pressure on 7th Street, so using 3rd Street or 9th Street may be better.
There is parking availability throughout downtown. The closest ramps to Target Field and Target Center are the A,B,C, and Hawthorne ramps off I-394 on the west end of downtown. Again, it will be crowded, so it may be advantageous for your exit plan to park well away from the stadium and walk. Lots of parking is available by US Bank Stadium, and as mentioned before, from there you can hop a light-rail train over to Target Field.
Street parking is also an option, but be sure to check the signs to know time limits and hours of enforcement for your parking space. Many of the metered on-street parking spaces have event rates and enforced maximum parking times. Again, read the signs and stickers on the pay stations.
It is nice enough to bike today. There are hundreds of places to lock up your two-wheeler at the stadium and on blocks nearby, particularly on 9th Street by Ramp A.
Whether on foot, bike or in a car, be alert and follow orders of police and traffic control agents that will be stationed at intersections throughout downtown. Also information about parking and travel will be broadcast on dynamic messaging signs.