Do you have safety concerns while crossing the light-rail tracks when attending a Minnesota Vikings game at the new stadium come 2016? An $8.7 million proposal from Metro Transit and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority to build a pedestrian bridge would make it safer for Vikings fans.
The pedestrian bridge would go from the stadium to the Downtown East plaza, crossing over the light-rail tracks on Chicago Avenue S.
“Even with the Metrodome, people crossing the tracks has been a concern,” Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Sports Facilities Authority said in an article on the Star Tribune’s
website. “Now with the additional transit line, it could be a somewhat dangerous situation, certainly for Vikings games and for the many other big events we’re planning.”
It is certainly a concern especially with the addition of the Green line. And when the Southwest Corridor is completed which is expected to be in 2019 and the Blue Line extended to Brooklyn Park a couple of years later, there would be a lot more passengers on the trains, especially on Vikings game days.
Last year, an average of 6,700 or about 10% of the fans attending the games at the Metrodome used light-rail. Metro Transit spokesman Drew Ker believes that once the four lines are in service, the number of fans riding the trains to games could jump to 40%, or potentially 26,000 of the 65,000 fans attending a given game. That’s a lot of fans trying to cross the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 4th Street. Plus, add trains crossing the light-rail tracks every two minutes and the game day traffic, you can imagine the congestion.
Metro Transit is expected to issue requests for the bridge in mid-September. They could pay $6 million of the cost which could be offset by Federal grants. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will pay $2 million to level the Northwest portion of the Downtown East plaza to make way for a public area. The remainder of the cost will be covered by bonds from the Met Council. Construction on the bridge could begin as early as next summer.
With all the potential congestion from traffic and fans attending games at the future stadium, this pedestrian bridge will help keep fans safe when they are crossing over Chicago Avenue to see the purple and gold play.
Images via: Sports Facilities Authority