Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Minneapolis' New Town Center

Thousands of fans pouring off of trains from Big Lake and Bloomington, families riding bikes in from Southwest Minneapolis, pedestrians making their way from bars and restaurants in the Warehouse district ...that will be the scene (at least) 81 times a year at Target Field starting in April, 2010.

Click here for an update on the exterior of Target Field

It's becoming more apparent that there actually was quite a bit of thought that went into building this ballpark on the north side of downtown Minneapolis. Yes, the small lot makes for a tight fit and yes, there is a garbage incinerator right next door, but when it's complete, Target Field will be the meeting place for tens of thousands of Minnesotans. A hub of activity that will be especially easy to get to, with or without a car.

In a recent Star Tribune article (see above link) the writer describes "the escalators and elevators used to connect commuters to the two levels of trains at the ballpark's transit station." Imagine if every major gathering point in the Twin Cities was designed with this transit strategy in mind. Imagine how much less congestion we'd have at the Xcel if (or when) rail lines brought in 1/3 of the spectators. Or how much easier the commute from the southwest suburbs would (will) be when the southwest light rail line pulls thousands of vehicles off the roads every day.

The multiple means of getting to Target Field will make the game-day experience more enjoyable and less congested for everyone involved. And that ease of use will help draw people to the stadium long after, God forbid, the Twins current string of success runs out. Which means the new Target Field will continue to be a center of economic activity for decades to come.