Way back in July I toured Target Field as part of a Sensible Land Use Coalition event. Overall I was very impressed with the future home of the Twins (how can you not play baseball outdoors?), especially the entrance from First Avenue and the open concourse design.
One thing I heard made me do a spit-take though. Our tour guide said that when surveyed, 40% of fans said they would like (or plan to, I can’t remember his exact phrasing) take the train to the game. Four-Oh percent. Our tour guide was kinda the project manager for the County, so I assume he knows what he is talking about.
Target Field holds 40,000. If there is a sell out, that means 16,000 people say they would ride the train. Knowing there is a difference between what people say they will do, and what they actually do, let’s assume only 30% actually ride the train (maybe a few stay late after the game to enjoy downtown). That means 12,000 people will stream out of target field onto 5th Street after the ninth inning. Each three-car train can hold 360 people. That means 34 3-car trains would be needed to move all those transit-hungry baseball fans out of downtown. If there is a 5 minute headway between trains that is 2 hours and 50 minutes. If they somehow increase that to 2 minutes between trains it is an hour and 8 minutes.
The consultant that did the transportation demand management plan had a nifty simulation showing people streaming out of the stadium, and she said it could be done, but I still don’t understand how you can overcome the math. Either people will soon realize that the train is too crowded (or, more accurately, the wait is too long) and move to other modes, or Met Transit has some tricks up its sleeve to quickly move all those people.