Minnesota State Fair: The Great Minn. Traffic Jam?

FALCON HEIGHTS (WCCO) — In less than a week, drivers may experience some frustrations just trying to get to the Great Minnesota Get Together.

For the first year, light rail construction complicates the annual commute to the fairgrounds.

“Light rail construction is the only problem,” said State Fair Transportation Director Steve Grans.

Grans says the fair lost its biggest park and ride lot near Interstate 94 and Snelling Avenue. Light rail construction storage now replaces 1,000 parking spaces.

So, Grans is now redirecting people to one of five lots near the University of Minnesota’s TCF Stadium.

There is also a new lot with 600 spaces, at the Wilder Foundation on Lexington, which is just a few of the 34 free park and rides he says should be the first ride of any fairgoers’ day.

“We have only 9,000 parking spots on the fairgrounds, we attract 200,000 people on a weekend day,” said Grans.

Karen Rutana understands the hassle. She trucked her hot apple dumpling stand all the way in from Ohio, but once near the Minnesota State fairgrounds, she found her journey wasn’t yet over.

“Right in the thick of it, right in front of our hotel, on University Avenue is pure construction — a little hectic,” said Rutana.

Just like Rutana’s customers, she’ll circle and compete for a prime parking spot, too.

“We get here at 6 o’clock in the morning, but we still have to come and find parking spaces like everybody else,” said Rutana. “Definitely take the park and rides. It’s the easiest and most convenient.”

Grans says three-fourths of the customers, over a million last year, came by mass transit at some point. They’re hoping for the same trend this year.

He says there are also 17 metro transit express sites around the suburbs that cost $5.

He reassures customers that Highway 280 off of I-94 eastbound and Snelling will be back open before the Fair, but warns everyone to still plan ahead.

“From the south our customers are going to have a little bit of difficulty possibly crossing University Avenue because of the Corridor,” he said.

More Links:
Getting To The Fair
Biking To The Fair

  • Freddie

    Drivee around the neighborhoods. , end up parking east of lexington,, north of county B, or somewheere and minneapolis and walk. Park and rides are for the weak of heart (literally) and those who do not want to burn off some of the calories

    • Sharon S.

      Or perhaps the park and rides are for more practical people who don’t want to pollute the earth driving around and around in circles looking for a place to park in crowded residential areas. Mass transit is not for the weak of heart but rather for those who think about environmental consequences of their actions and the practicality of walking miles and miles just to get to the fair. Freddie, perhaps you should be a little more openminded and not so quick to criticize others.

      • Freddie

        Did I say to drive around in circles? Miles andd miles? Try one measley mile. In practicality it should take you less than twenty minutes to walk a mile. That would be possible without a lifetime of gluttoney. Inability Calling it impractical to walk a mile is the pathetic. Health Partners tried to get people to walk 10000 steps a day. Three years later they gave up and asked for only once a week. Perhaps you need to be openminded about exercise and fitness. You need to also learn sarcsm

  • jan

    They forgot to mention that Fairview Ave. is closed between Randolph and Summit and all that traffic is detoured onto Snelling Ave. Whatever made them decide to close Fairview during the State Fair? It seems that somebody goofed as usual.

    • feddie

      Fairview between Randolph and Summit is south of 94, the fairgrounds is north of 94. Faiirview does not connect between 94 and the fairgrounds? How could that piece of road construction be of significance

  • tina

    What I do is just park at one of the pay lots on the U of M’s St. Paul campus and walk to the fair.

  • Richard in Minneapolis

    I got my route planned: Put my bike on the #6 bus (France/Xerxes – Hennepin – U of M) ride it to TCF Bank Stadium, and ride the bike along the intercampus bike trail to the fairgrounds. – SWEET!

  • Jake

    Yeah, thank the stupid “lite rail” for this, and all other future boondogles. I can’t ever see going back to the state fair ever again, especially after what just happened in Wisconsin.

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