Twins Game Shows a Difference Between Blue and Green Lines

When the Green Line was under construction I pondered, “The Blue Line is very popular, it not only has a high daily ridership, but people WANT to ride the train! A family of four is not uncommon to see on the train to a Twins game. Buying four tickets at a park and ride and riding the rails in, for that many people they’d pay LESS to drive in and park in the $5 lot 2 blocks away. I wonder what will happen when the Green Line opens. Without park and rides, will it be as popular?”

A recent Sunday, my parents had extra tickets to a game, and I decided to check it out. From my pictures, experience on the Blue Line, and my ride on the Green Line the answer seemed to be very clear, no. The Green Line didn’t have many extra seats, but it was easy for riders down the line to board, unlike some of the crush loads seen on the Blue Line.


Green Line’s queue to board


Blue Line’s queue to board (this is just the people with ticket, but off the platform

I think this highlights an overlooked argument for limited park and ride facilities; a few park and rides can be a very good investment for a transit system because they allow people to try the service, and let people who wouldn’t normally use the service work it into their lives for a trial period, or for special events. These people may not normally support transit, but because they can ride it occasionally, they are more likely to support investments in the system, they can see the benefit and experience the service, even if it usually would not be a possibility for them.

Joseph Totten

About Joseph Totten

Joe is a graduate of Civil Engineering-Transportation and Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, and has a masters degree from Portland State University. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Joe has worked with nonprofits and public agencies in MSP and Portland.

15 thoughts on “Twins Game Shows a Difference Between Blue and Green Lines

  1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

    I realize this might not meet the “ease of use” of a park & ride, but I’m pretty sure I could find free parking for an evening or weekend Twins game within a couple blocks of every station in the Green Line.

    1. David W

      I’ve found that the type of person who wants to drive to the light rail typically isn’t a huge fan of on-street parking. I think the route probably could benefit from a park and ride facility near the middle of the line. The problem is that any property that might work for a park and ride (e.g. the Met Council’s land at Snelling and St Anthony) is far more valuable for other development.

      1. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten Post author

        Maybe we can just make some of the parking lots that never have cars in them, such as those by the Hamline Target, lease them for the cost of snowplowing, have a nice little park and ride.

    2. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten Post author

      I actually did just that, but I think safety (perception), style of parking, and comfort getting to the spaces all play a major role. People might not want to park in some of the working class communities around the Green Line, may view them as less safe than a lit, isolated parking lot out at Fort Snelling. Parellel parking is a developed skill, a lot of suburban areas would qualify for having only the rare opportunity to practice such a skill. Finally, the park and rides we have are directly off the freeway grid (excluding Lake St, which hardly counts), I know some people who will get lost if they can’t see a freeway. Finding the street parking and finding the car after might be easier for many people in these designated Park and Rides.

      tl;dr yes indeed, people will park along the line and jump on, but I’d doubt it ever reach near the amount that rides from 28th Ave and Fort Snelling on the Blue Line.

      1. Rosa

        there is also the issue, for occasional city street parkers, of getting your car towed if you miss a sign or there’s a snow emergency. The last time I had my car towed (which was an epic snowstorm, about ten years ago now) I was in line for HOURS at the impound lot next to a nice couple who’d come into Minneapolis for an event at the Convention Center, parked somewhere far away for free, and then came out to find their car was missing – they thought it was stolen at first. Last winter someone flagged me down on my way to the bus stop to ask where was he allowed to park, he was visiting from out of town and didn’t know what snow emergency day we were on, just that there was some rule he was supposed to follow.

  2. Sean Hayford Oleary

    The park-and-ride point is a good one. My parents, who live in Northfield, have maybe ridden an MTC bus once in the last twenty years, but have ridden the light rail a number of times, and have a very positive impression toward (expensive, new) transit investments.

    1. Monte

      That’s pretty much my attitude too, I ride the Blue line now and then because I can park for free, and for me it’s been 25 years since I’ve ridden an MTC bus. Objecting to park and rides on a philosophical basis because they promote whatever “sprawl” is or because parking should never be “free” is counterproductive to getting ridership and support for transit

      1. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten Post author

        Indeed, we don’t have to do a lot of them, but just a few on some routes can really help build support for the entire system.

        1. Matt SteeleMatt Steele

          They’re fine as long as they are revenue neutral at worst. Parking *is* never free, thus it should never be free for the person storing their car.

  3. Justin Heideman

    The green line has been open for less than two weeks. No doubt it will take some time for people to build it into their mental model of available transit options. I would bet a large sum that in several years, the lines will be more equal.

    1. Joseph TottenJoseph Totten Post author

      Indeed, this wasn’t as much of a concern as a note for why a few Park and Rides are important in a system, especially one in it’s infancy.

  4. Michael

    The Green Line is exceeding ridership projections right out of the gate, and we’re concerned about suburbanites not riding it to the Twins game? Eyes on the prize. There’s no parcel on the route that isn’t more useful as a transit oriented development than Twins oriented parking.

  5. Dave P

    It’ll be interesting to see the crowds for Gopher (and Viking for the next two years) football games. Parking is generally a much larger premium for football games.

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