The latest Target Field-induced transit adjustment may involve the closing of three nearby city blocks to traffic.
Under a plan being considered by the city, cars would be denied access to a two-block portion of 1st Avenue North between 4th and 6th streets for one hour before and one after every Minnesota Twins home game. In addition, the 6th Street exit from Interstate 394 would be blockaded for one hour after every home game, and 6th Street itself would shut down between 1st and 2nd avenues, also for one hour after each game.
Both thoroughfares would be open during games.
The plan is only tentative at this point, city spokesman Matt Laible said. The city is considering testing it on March 27 for Target Field's first public event, a University of Minnesota baseball game.
“These are both being looked at as ways to improve safety for pedestrians and to avoid sending cars into what’s already going to be a very congested area prior to and after games, especially with so many pedestrians crossing those streets,” Laible said. “But it shouldn’t be considered a done deal by any means.”
Representatives from the city's Public Works Department met with about 50 Warehouse District business owners Wednesday to present the plan and to solicit feedback. It was a deliberate step to encourage communication between the two sides, who have sometimes experienced tension since last year's reconfiguration of 1st and Hennepin avenues to two-way streets.
“It was a good meeting,” said Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association. “Everyone was calm and listened to what [the city representatives] had to say.”
Kaufman said the changes would have the biggest effect on hospitality businesses, as most games will be at night.
“But there are still 10 day games that impact other businesses that still need their clients to be able to park and access them,” she said.
Another concern business owners have, Kaufman said, is whether the increased foot traffic on game days would make up for the lack of access vehicles would normally have to area restaurants and bars.
“I think everyone’s still digesting it,” she said. “At this point it’s all flexible, temporary. And they will meet after each game to see what worked and what didn’t. We left the meeting with the understanding that any questions, concerns, comments or put-ins that we have would be welcome.”