Is traffic congestion a real problem at TCF Bank Stadium?

2nd Degree Gopher

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Part of the media conversation about attendance issues at TCF Bank Stadium has focused on traffic related complaints, e.g.“It’s gridlock,” “Traffic is a nightmare,” “It takes forever to get there,” etc. I have heard this or seen it from multiple media outlets, but I have never had a conversation with anyone who has made those complaints. Is this a real issue for people? I have attended every game at the Bank and parked exclusively in either the Ski-U-Mah Lot or the Washington Avenue Ramp. I generally arrive from and depart to the west Metro. While I usually arrive well before game time and stay at least an hour afterwards, I have also arrived 30 minutes before game time on occasion and parked in those same lots. I have been amazed at just how easy coming and going has been for me. Often I have no traffic delays at all. Sure, the line to get out of the Ski-U-Mah Lot can be daunting immediately after the game, but it generally dissipates in less than 30 minutes.

I fully understand that some people’s schedules don’t allow them to make the game a day long event and need to be able to come just before the game or leave right afterwards. Maybe my experience is unique or I just don’t pay enough attention, but this seems more like an excuse from people who don’t want to attend the games (or lazy reporting/commentary) than it does a legitimate issue for a lot of people. I know a lot of posters here tailgate before and after the games and coming early and leaving late is the best way to avoid the traffic, but is traffic a big problem for any of you?
 

Grant

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I have been to games in Athens, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Knoxville, Oxford, Madison, Ames, IA City, Lincoln, and many others. Traffic was worse than TCF at pretty much all of them. Not a valid excuse for our horrible attendance.
 

highwayman

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I've rarely if ever had any traffic related problems.

It's a Minnesota cultural problem. We talk about traffic and the weather as if they are meaningful, important subjects 100% of the time. We're hicks, and complaining is worn here like a badge of courage.

Honor and sacrifice:
1) My grandfather fought in WWI
2) My uncles fought in WWII
3) My dad fought in Korea
4) My cousin fought in Vietnam
5) My brother in law fought in Iraq and Afghanistan
6) I had to wait in traffic at a football game. And it rained.
 

Schnauzer

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Not a problem, especially if you get out of "Metrodome mode" by going early and staying late to enjoy tailgating or the bar scene.
 

DLguy

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I will use Nebraska as an example. I once drove thru that boring state on my way out to Utah. Was driving from Omaha to Lincoln on a gameday morning. Bumber to bumber traffic all the way from Omaha to Lincoln. I dont think we have ever experienced that bad of traffic here.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Remember, a certain percentage of the fans are coming from outstate MN - some of them from smaller towns where they're used to parking right in front of wherever they're going. When those people come into the Twin Cities, the traffic seems a lot worse by comparison. Shoot, I used to live in the Cities, but I've spent the last 25 years living in smaller cities (pop 5-10,000), and now, when I go up to the Cities, the traffic does seem a lot worse by comparison - because I'm not used to dealing with it on a daily basis. The next time I go to a game at TCF, I think I'm going to try one of the park and ride lots. Once the light rail line opens, I think it will get a lot of use on game days.
 

RodentRampage

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I don't think it is any worse than anywhere else. Arrive early, stay late, and you'll have no problem. I get there early anyway, I want to make sure I see the band. And if you stay to listen to the band afterwards, you don't have to fight the crowds getting out of the stadium. And there's plenty to do on the campus, get some lunch and when you're done, you'll have a leisurely drive. The people who have problems are those didn't budget enough time to get there, or who are adamant about getting home as soon as the game ends.
 

Gopher07

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Remember, a certain percentage of the fans are coming from outstate MN - some of them from smaller towns where they're used to parking right in front of wherever they're going. When those people come into the Twin Cities, the traffic seems a lot worse by comparison. Shoot, I used to live in the Cities, but I've spent the last 25 years living in smaller cities (pop 5-10,000), and now, when I go up to the Cities, the traffic does seem a lot worse by comparison - because I'm not used to dealing with it on a daily basis. The next time I go to a game at TCF, I think I'm going to try one of the park and ride lots. Once the light rail line opens, I think it will get a lot of use on game days.
^^ That's a fair point. Having lived in Boston and Chicago, Twin Cities traffic basically seems like nothing to me when I visit now. Perspective is important.
 

tikited

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I have a feeling the people crying about traffic are people not going to the game-they just want to get to Burger King faster. I bike to at least five or six of the games, so I don't have any issues at all with traffic during those games, and I never have noticed major problems when I do drive.
 

dpodoll68

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The traffic/parking situation around the U in general sucks a lot, especially with light rail construction. Does it suck worse than other places? I have no idea.
 

RodentRampage

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I can relate to people from smaller towns being overwhelmed by the traffic. I'm used to the traffic, but I grew up in a town of about 500 people, so it was a learning curve dealing with traffic. I used to drive up Cedar and then take Washington Ave, with the light rail contruction, I've had to learn a new route. When the light rail line is completed, it should ease congestion, there will be a lot of people taking the train instead of driving.

Traffic always feels worse when you're in a hurry. People just have to accept that it is going to take more time than they might expect. People had difficulty with traffic at the Metrodome, I remember people leaving at the end of the third quarter when the Gophers were winning so they could beat the traffic. I then moved over and watched the games in the good seats that they evacuated.
 

tato2001

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Yep. Traffic's the problem. To paraphrase Mr. Berra, nobody goes to Gophers games anymore because the roads are too crowded. Makes perfect sense.
 

RodentRampage

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Yep. Traffic's the problem. To paraphrase Mr. Berra, nobody goes to Gophers games anymore because the roads are too crowded. Makes perfect sense.
Anyone avoiding attending Gopher games because of the traffic would surely also avoid games if the attendance was higher, because traffic would be even worse. If attendance really plummeted, they wouldn't be likely to then become more interested in attending Gopher games, just because traffic was lessened.
 

tato2001

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Anyone avoiding attending Gopher games because of the traffic would surely also avoid games if the attendance was higher, because traffic would be even worse. If attendance really plummeted, they wouldn't be likely to then become more interested in attending Gopher games, just because traffic was lessened.
Well, I guess if people don't want to come to the ballpark, how you gonna stop them? ;)
 

Lakeville Goldy

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I park in St. Paul and I can honestly say it isn't much of an issue over there. Come next year when the first game is during the Fair I expect to have a whole different experience, but as of now it's a non-factor.
 

Ski U Master

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I look forward to the light rail being done in a couple years, that will lessen some of the traffic problems around the area. That being said, going to any college game around the country involves bad traffic. Stay around at a bar or tailgate for an hour or two and skip the nightmare.
 

Triple D

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Is Washington Avenue open to traffic now? I know it's blocked off due to light rail construction, but if I'm coming from the West Metro can I get on Washington as far as to exit onto East River Parkway or is that closed?

Thanks, looking at parking options for the game tomorrow.
 

GoAUpher

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Is Washington Avenue open to traffic now? I know it's blocked off due to light rail construction, but if I'm coming from the West Metro can I get on Washington as far as to exit onto East River Parkway or is that closed?

Thanks, looking at parking options for the game tomorrow.
Based on the PDF maps found at the CCLRT website (http://www.metrocouncil.org/transportation/ccorridor/centralcorridor.asp) I'd say that yes, you can get to the ERP by taking Washington over the bridge. I think that website is always up to date so I'd check it before any future games to see if there are any changes to the road closures.
 

Dr.Don

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Wahh, waahhh, waaaaahhhh... I wanna go where all the people are but I wanna be the only car on the road. Wahh, waahhh, waaaaahhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

GophersInIowa

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I've got to believe most of the people really complaining about traffic are those that like to show up 30 minutes before kickoff.
 

Ole

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I've got to believe most of the people really complaining about traffic are those that like to show up 30 minutes before kickoff.
This.

Anyone in lot 37 last year knows how clustfcked it got at the wisky game, mainly due to late comers expecting to find a spot the last 30 min before the game started.

We were there at 7AM, tailgated all day, had a blast.
The ahole that showed up 15 minutes before kickoff and was furious he couldn't find a spot for his huge escalade in the front row was a perfect example of the crowd complaining about traffic.
 

gophmeister

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I've never had a problem with traffic, but I park on the periphery and walk the last half mile. People who have problems with traffic are those who try to park a block from the stadium 5 minutes before the game starts and then leave immediately afterwards. Also there's an echo chamber of gopher haters in this town who just drum up hatred for the team.
 

Gophers09

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Traffic is an issue at the vast majority of college stadiums because they don't have 9 figures to spend on infrastructure improvements. Just how it is. People with a "pro sports only mentality", like many in this town, don't seem to be aware of this.
 

Hates Monikers

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I've been really surprised at how little traffic there is most of the time -- especially considering the construction -- but of course I'm going early for a few drinks and staying after to wait out the traffic. As a basketball season ticket holder, it can be worse for me even with just 12,000 people (or less) because I'm not going early to party most of the time.

I do think it could be a problem for the one game per year person or first timer. If you're a season ticket holder, you have your parking figured out and have learned when to leave and how to get there to be most efficient. But if you're going to one game, don't really know where you're going to park and don't go early enough, it might be a different story.
 

ski-u-mah

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I have no problem with traffic, we get there way early an leave late. But what I think is a huge issue is parking. Luckily our group has a few spots in lot 37 so for us it's slick as can be. However, if Joe Blow wants to head down to check out the game, good luck. Only option is to park miles away and take some type of public transportation.

Doable, but not convienent.
 

Fuzzy Rumpton

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Random though and still a ways away, but do you think there will be some cheap tailgaiting lots by the Dome/new stadium once the light rail is finished that people can whoop it up then ride the train on in to the stadium?
 

RodentRampage

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Random though and still a ways away, but do you think there will be some cheap tailgaiting lots by the Dome/new stadium once the light rail is finished that people can whoop it up then ride the train on in to the stadium?

That's a possibility. The only thing is the light rail would be pretty packed going to the game, you might have to oleave your tailgating party pretty early to get to the game on time. It would work for an evening game. I suppose if there is a lot of tailgating downtown, they could add more train cars to accomodate the passengers.
 

klmoon

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That's a possibility. The only thing is the light rail would be pretty packed going to the game, you might have to oleave your tailgating party pretty early to get to the game on time. It would work for an evening game. I suppose if there is a lot of tailgating downtown, they could add more train cars to accomodate the passengers.
I'm not sure how many lots would allow tailgating for the Gophers considering there weren't many when the Gophers played in the Dome
 

Bob_Loblaw

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It's a non-issue.

In my opinion, anyone complaining about the traffic either: (a) doesn't attend any sporting events; and/or (b) have never attended a college sporting event elsewhere.

It's more congested than a simple drive through rural MN but it's nothing compared to just about every place that I've been to for a Big 10 football game. There are places comparable and a lot of places that are worse. In fact, because our stadium is on the small end and we are in a larger city (more highways for infrastructure), I think it's actually quite a bit less of a pain than most places.

A certain percentage of people are going to complain about everything. However, someone driving from rural Iowa to go to a game at Iowa City is going to have that same kind of culture shock when it comes to traffic. Iowa City isn't a cake walk when it comes to driving.

Lastly, a big part of the problem is the STUDENT attendance. Parking is a non-factor for them.

It's just another example of how the mainstream in MN is pretty clueless when it comes to college athletics.
 

RodentRampage

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I'm not sure how many lots would allow tailgating for the Gophers considering there weren't many when the Gophers played in the Dome
When the Gophers were at the dome, these lots were highly in demand for parking. With the Gophers at TCF, these lots might be sitting empty. An owner of a lot might open it up for tailgating in order to bring in some business. It sounds like a business opportunity.
 
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