Getting 64,000 Vikings fans in and out of downtown on game days is no easy task. But Vikings officials have a plan. If fans listen.
The team on Wednesday announced its traffic management plan, which will be available within the next few weeks on usbankstadium.com. Fans can enter their ZIP code and find directions to the geography-based parking zone that corresponds to the route they are most likely to take to the new $1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium.
The website also provides directions for fans looking for tailgating opportunities or taking public transportation, ride share services, bicycles, taxis and other forms of transportation.
The goal is “mitigate cars from driving around the stadium looking for parking,” said Patrick Talty, general manager of SMG, the firm contracted to operate and manage the stadium by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA).
“Fans can log onto the website to see how it works and be confident on how to come to the stadium.”
The plan divides downtown into four zones, each with about 19,000 spaces within a 20-minute walk of the stadium. Fans coming from the south metro on Interstate 35W, for example, are encouraged to park in the blue zone north of Portland Avenue and west of 5th Street.
Fans coming from the north on I-35W are encouraged to park in the gold zone on the north side of the stadium.
Fans using I-394 from the west are being directed to the red zone on the west side of U.S. Bank Stadium while those coming from the east using I-94 will be directed to the purple zone on the south and east sides in the Elliot Park neighborhood.
Fans won’t be directed to a specific spot, but on the website they will find a list of parking options in each zone, Talty said.
Season-ticket holders will have the option to buy season-long parking while those attending fewer games can buy single-game parking when single-game tickets go on sale later this month.
Snagging a metered space is an option, too, but beware. Meters in a several-block radius of the stadium are marked as “Event Parking” and go for a $15 flat fee starting four hours before kickoff until one hour after the final gun sounds.
The landscape around U.S. Bank Stadium has changed significantly over the past two years and redevelopment has claimed several surface lots where fans used to tailgate. The team has secured about 600 spots in lots primarily north of the stadium where fans can set up their spread. Tailgating in other lots around the stadium will be at the discretion of the lot owner, said team spokesman Lester Bagley.
Green and Blue Line trains stop outside the stadium’s main entrance. After games, 21 Metro Transit buses will provide nonstop service back to the Fort Snelling park and ride lots after each game to expedite return trips and reduce crowding on trains. Buses will depart on South 4th Street.
Special pickup and drop-off areas for ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, along with charter and shuttle buses, taxis and fans with special needs, have been established on the south side of the stadium along 5th and 7th Streets and on 9th Avenue S.
“You won’t have to wonder where to go to find your mode of transit,” Talty said.
The traffic management plan will be used for all 10 home Vikings games and playoffs, if there are any. It also will be in effect for 10 to 20 other large events expected to be held at the stadium.