Photo by Tracy Walsh

Photo by Tracy Walsh

Navigating the Super Bowl

Updated: January 31, 2018 - 1:28 pm

Locals will feel the Super Bowl’s impact well beyond game day.

“It’s much more than a game now. We’ve turned it into a 10-day festival,” said Kyle Chank, the Super Bowl Host Committee’s vice president of operations and logistics. “… It’s the second most high-profile event in the United States, just behind the inauguration.”

Several downtown streets have already closed, with more to come. Most detours end by Feb. 9.

Chank said more than 150,000 tourists are expected to visit Minneapolis, many of them staying four nights or more. (Although 1 million visitors is often the number cited, Chank said that’s a marketing term encompassing everyone from local residents who glance at Super Bowl signs to people who buy merchandise.)

At a recent Super Bowl Host Committee meeting for downtown residents, one man said he planned to escape to Stillwater. Wendy Cook wondered how difficult it might be to get groceries. A Marquette Place resident wanted to know if he’d have to take an eight-block detour to reach his garage.

Other residents were enthusiastic. Tara Nussmeier said she lives close to Nicollet Mall, and she plans to check out the festivities.

“We’ll have a party this year,” she said. “We’re going to see what happens — we don’t want to make people come downtown unless they want to. I think it will be interesting.”

Residents at the Bridgewater Lofts have spent two years planning for the Super Bowl. They changed bylaws to allow condo rentals, rented out the top-floor community room overlooking the stadium (for $125,000) and crafted an extensive security plan. There are cameras at all doors, wristbands required for entry and a security seminar to boost residents’ street smarts.

“There is a lot of security and a lot of education,” said Pamela McCrea. “At the same time, we’re trying to keep it festive.”

The neighborhood experienced a taste of the festive atmosphere — despite frigid weather — when the Vikings won the playoff game against the Saints on Jan. 14.

“It’s interesting how a football team, even for people who aren’t heavily engaged in football, how it brings people together,” McCrea said.

The following covers the Super Bowl Host Committee’s answers to frequently asked questions:

Which streets are closing?

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— 8th Street between Marquette and LaSalle avenues is closed now until Feb. 9. It will be the site of a concert stage.

— Nicollet Mall is closed through Feb. 9 as part of a 10-day fan festival. The street will remain open to pedestrians. Aside from 8th Street, all other cross streets will remain open with lane reductions.

— Several street closures around the stadium include Chicago Avenue, currently closed between 4th and 6th streets. Similar to regular-season football game days, 4th Street from Park Avenue to Interstate 35W will close Jan. 27–Feb. 6. During the same period, 6th Street between Chicago and 11th avenues will close. 11th Avenue behind the stadium between 3rd and 6th streets will close for the same period of time.

— In front of the Minneapolis Convention Center, Grant Street and 2nd Avenue will close Jan. 24–Feb. 7, and the roads surrounding the center will see intermittent closures through Feb. 4.

Detour signs will be posted.

Can I go to work?

“There are no entries into downtown that are closed at any time,” Chank said. “… Our motto is ‘business as usual.’”

He said commutes may take an extra 10–15 minutes.

Some employers are allowing staff to work remotely or take vacation days to lighten the traffic, said Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council.

“If you are going to work, we want you to go on a train or bus or carpooling,” said Mary Morse Marti, executive director of Move Minneapolis, which helps plan trips at 505 Nicollet Mall. At the very least, she said, spouses could temporarily adjust their schedules and carpool together.

Morse Marti said it might get loud near the mall, and a few businesses are adjusting work hours so staff can either leave early or join the fun.

“The flexible approach is probably the soundest approach,” she said.

Which events are free and open to the public?

Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall is open to all. The west side of The Commons park near the stadium will remain open to non-ticketed guests.

Where is the no-go zone?

The Super Bowl Host Committee isn’t publishing the precise security perimeter, but road closures provide a sense of the perimeter (see map).

When does light rail close to the public?

Super Bowl Sunday. Citing security concerns, Chank said the U.S. Bank light rail station is too close to the stadium for public use.

The entire Blue Line and part of the Green Line is closed to the public on Feb. 4, and it will exclusively move up to 20,000 ticketed guests to and from the stadium. On the Green Line, normal public operations will be available only between the Stadium Village and Union Depot stations, with buses covering the rest of the route.

The public can access free buses stopping at every station along rail lines, just as when lines are closed for maintenance. Buses will arrive every 10 minutes. Buses will not be allowed near the stadium and instead will stop on Washington Avenue.

What about other changes to transit?

Nicollet Mall buses have shifted to Hennepin Avenue, similar to the shift during Nicollet Mall construction. Many downtown bus routes have detours or closed stops, and details for local riders are available at metrotransit.org/super-bowl-riders.

Buses on standby will help handle major delays or higher-than-expected ridership.

Metro Transit will run more trains and expanded hours, arriving every 10 minutes until 11:30 p.m. through Feb. 4. Light rail will not stop at the U.S. Bank Stadium station beginning the evening of Feb. 2.

Uber will take over part of a University of St. Thomas parking lot, providing heated tents and staff to help people call for rides. The arrangement will help customers avoid surge pricing at that location, Chank said.

What about parking?

Ramps are largely honoring contract parking for employees throughout the work week, primarily overriding contract parkers on game day, Cramer said.

The situation varies by ramp. In some city-owned ramps, half of stalls will remain open to contract parkers and half will be dedicated to Super Bowl guests, and contract parkers will be provided with alternative locations, according to Council Member Lisa Goodman’s office.

Some of the metered parking around Nicollet Mall, the stadium and convention center will be hooded. Super Bowl ticket holders are reserving parking permits online at prices ranging from $25–$150.

Metro Transit will operate five suburban Park & Ride lots running every 30 minutes on Jan. 27, Jan. 28 and Feb. 3.

For more information about parking, visit minneapolismn.gov/superbowl.

Will there be space for tailgating?

No. Tailgate lots will be devoted to Super Bowl operations.

Where are public restrooms?

More than 250 bathrooms will be set up near the mall, including 197 bathrooms behind the Young-Quinlan building at the Marq 9 lot.

What are skyway hours?

Skyway hours are extended from 6 a.m. to midnight. The timeframe was a compromise — the NFL wanted the skyways to remain open 24 hours.

For more information, visit the Super Bowl’s “Know Before You Go” transportation guide at mnsuperbowl.com/transportation.