MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- By 11 o'clock in the morning, Downtown Minneapolis was starting to get crowded. So was the University of Minnesota campus. That just happened to be the calm before the proverbial storm.
"Well it's Thursday. Traffic's usually heavier on Thursdays," Paula Rangel, a traffic control agent for the city, said as she cruised the bike lanes Downtown. She was getting ready for a noon Twins baseball game that would let out about the same time thousands would be coming into downtown for a 7 p.m. Vikings game. This perfect storm would happen as thousands more would be leaving their downtown offices.
"I wouldn't call it a storm, just a busy night," she said, noting it could be worse, had the Twins been in a pennant race or the Vikings been in the regular season. "Parking? Now that's a different story. There's only so many parking spots," she warned.
Parking would be at a premium. The city has 17 ramps, 7 lots, and 7,000 metered spots.
At the U of M, where parking is tough on a normal day, we found the same scenario. A triple threat. It was "welcome week" for freshman, the football team was opening its season at TCF Bank Stadium, and the state fair was cooking along not too far away.
"I just wanted to make sure I got here and found a place to park," Angela Dixon said, sitting at the gate to the U's football stadium, 6 hours prior to kick-off. The proud Florida mother was not about to miss her son Ray's first ever college football game, and she had been warned about the 4 simultaneous events. "It's going to be a madhouse. I won't be in it! I'll be watching everybody trying to find a place to park," she said with delight.
The game had its effect on State Fair parking. More than 3,000 park and ride spots were taken out of commission Thursday to accommodate football fans.
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