MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When the Minnesota Vikings had a dome over their heads, it was a commotion on ten Sundays a year.
And when the new Vikings Stadium opens its doors, it will likely be a repeat.
Metro Transit officials asked for a bridge to connect the crowd to the far side of the light rail track.
The head of Metropolitan Council says he’s trying to make that happen.
“I think from a safety perspective it’s really needed,” Met Council Chair Adam Duininick said. “The biggest reason is safety in general, and if we continue to grow our service, there’s going to be between 50,000 and 100,000 boardings a day regardless of if there’s an event there or not.”
He says after a year of going back and forth, he supports the $6-million plan.
“We need to just cue our passengers up and make sure that they’re both in a safe place, and then also have a good customer experience when they’re using transit,” Duininick said.
It’s an issue that caught the eye of a young transportation blogger named Nick Magrino.
“There wasn’t a lot of public comments about it, it just seemed like a good topic to draw attention to,” Magrino said.
And so he did, saying the only time it would make sense would be for Viking games.
“We just have signs that just say ‘Bus Stop’ on them, and $6 million could have gone towards things that would help out the transit experience for tens of thousands of people every day rather than, you know, a couple people who are going to take the train a couple of times a year,” Magrino said.
Duininick says they will still be giving $7 million to other transit needs.
“It doesn’t feel to me like it’s an either-or, like it’s not we’re just investing in this one site at the expense of the rest of our region, we’re doing both,” Duininick said.
He says the new place will field much more than games, and this bridge will have feet year round.
It’s something blogger Magrino will have to see to believe.
“They’re spending that much money on something that just seems a little bit unnecessary in the grand scheme of things,” Magrino said. “It’s going to largely benefit suburban folks coming into downtown Minneapolis for a game.”
The Vikings are not helping to pay the $6 million bill, but they will be giving Metro Transit $250,000 in ad space in the stadium. The team will then have naming rights to the LRT station.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority will give $50,000 for outside costs, thought they insist this was not their idea. They do point out that the bridge would also be important for all non-Vikings events at the stadium.
The Met Council will make the final call on May 27.