City braces for extra-heavy traffic congestion tomorrow

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May 24, 2010 // UPDATED 4:18 pm - May 25, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
With two large-capacity, sold-out events happening within blocks of one another, city officials are urging commuters to be prepared for longer delays, less parking and heavy congestion on Wednesday, May 26.

A sellout crowd of 19,000 is anticipated for the “Get Motivated!” seminar at Target Center, which runs all day from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The doors open at 6:45 a.m.

Later in the evening, the Twins will host the New York Yankees at Target Field in a high profile match expected to draw 40,000 fans. Game time is 6:10 p.m., but since the doors open at 4:30 p.m., the city is anticipating a heavy rush-hour crunch in both directions, with seminar-goers leaving Downtown as baseball fans start flooding in.

Peak times for traffic congestion are expected to be 7 to 8 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

The Department of Public Works will have traffic control agents at many intersections Downtown, and special traffic signal timing patterns will be in use to move a higher number of vehicles through busy corridors. In addition, real-time messaging signs will update traffic and parking information throughout the day.

Officials are urging commuters to carpool if they must drive, reminding motorists that HOV and MnPass lanes on the highway are free for cars carrying more than one passenger. Adjusting travel times is also highly recommended.

Public transit may prove the best option, the city says, especially for Twins fans who can take the Hiawatha light rail line directly to the stadium. For fans coming to and from the west metro, the Twins Express Route 679 offers service from the park-and-ride lot at I-394 and County Road 73.  Service begins two hours before the game, and buses take fans back to the park-ride for an hour after the game.