More frequent bus, light rail service in the works
Street closures, increased public transit options and longer skyway hours are in the works for the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, officials said Monday.
Metro Transit plans on expanding the frequency and hours of its trains and buses, according to General Manager Brian Lamb. Meanwhile, the City of Minneapolis plans on closing several streets downtown starting mid-January.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee plans on working with skyway operators to extend hours of operation.
“Our goal is to minimize the impact and maximize the fun,” said Kyle Chank, vice president of operations and logistics for the Host Committee. “We’re here to create the best plan, so our Super Bowl visitors can get to and from all the of events (and) most importantly for the locals to get to and from downtown as well.”
Officials laid out these plans, dubbed the “Know Before You Go” initiative, at a press conference Monday at U.S. Bank Stadium. They touted the website mnsuperbowl.com/transportation as the place for event-goers to get information on recommended routes, road closures and transit options.
Super Bowl planners expect more than 1 million people to visit Minnesota during the 10-day festival leading up to the Feb. 4 game, according to the Host Committee. That includes an estimated 125,000 arriving from out of state as game-goers and fans, according to a committee spokesman.
Officials are touting Metro Transit as the best way to reach downtown. The transit agency will be adding all-day service from between four and nine different park & ride sites during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, according to Lamb. It will also be extending its high-frequency service to accommodate later hours, he said.
Lamb touted the agency’s smartphone app, which commuters can use to purchase fares. The agency plans on building out and continuing to promote the app, Lamb said.
Metro Transit will be offering an “Ultimate Fan Pass” for unlimited rides on all buses, light rail and Northstar trains from Jan. 26-Feb. 5 (it does not include the train date to the game). The fan pass will only be available from the Metro Transit app.
People who have an official Super Bowl ticket will also be able to purchase a ticket to ride the light rail on game day for $30. The pass will be valid on all Metro Transit options from Feb. 4-5.
Nicollet Mall will be closed to all traffic, including buses, between Washington Avenue and 12th Street from Jan. 15-Feb. 7. Eighth Street will be closed between LaSallle and Marquette avenues from Jan. 19-Feb. 7.
Second Avenue/Grant Street will be closed, in front of the Convention Center, between First Avenue and 12th Street from Jan. 24-Feb. 7. Streets around U.S. Bank Stadium will also be closed around the Super Bowl.
Officials on Monday laid out recommended routes for people to take to get to the stadium and other event locations. They also encouraged drivers not to cut through neighborhoods on their way downtown.
Downtown has over 65,000 parking spots, according to the Host Committee. The committee recommends that drivers plan ahead in choosing where to park.
The committee also says that fans may pre-purchase a parking spot at any event downtown at a guaranteed rate. Information on that will be available starting in mid-December.
Visit mnsuperbowl.com/transportation to learn more about the “Know Before You Go” initiative.
Lamb addresses strike
Lamb on Tuesday also addressed a potential strike by Metro Transit workers. Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 voted this week to reject the Metropolitan Council’s contract offer and authorize a strike.
Over the noon hour Monday, Lamb said the Metropolitan Council is confident it will reach a negotiated settlement over the next 1 1/2 months.
“We believe we’re going to get there, so this talk of a strike is way premature from our perspective,” he said.