Biking to Allianz Field on Game Day – Part 1

April 13th, 2018 was the first real test of the transportation plan set forth for fans getting to Allianz Field. I didn’t attend the game, but I was curious how well the plan would actually work. I admit, I had my skepticism.

Allianz Field - Bicycle Routing Plan

Allianz Field – Bicycle Routing Plan

 

The Bicycle Routing Plan encouraged cyclists to use connect with Pascal St. N (north/south). via Charles and Marshall Aves (east/west). From the west, the recommendation was to take St. Anthony Blvd. to Pierce St. and then Shields across Snelling (controlled intersection).

I arrived in the University and Snelling Aves area about 3:20pm (game start time was 4:00pm). I live in the Como Park area, so I took the Griggs bike boulevard south. The transportation plan suggested I take W. Minnehaha Ave. to Pascal, but I chose to take Griggs all the way to Marshall Ave.

I encountered four other cyclists from Griggs, west to Pascal. Three were wearing Loon colors. Traffic on Marshall was typical for any given weekend. Very light, maybe 1-3 cars per block.

Allianz Field – Marshall Ave

Allianz Field – Marshall Ave Westbound

 

One of the most frustrating parts of my ride was the complete lack of signage for the new stadium. The turn onto Pascal is a very nondescript intersection, which one could easily pass, if you are not familiar with the area. When I visited the same area, back in March, I passed the street. I had hoped on game day, temporary signs would be posted.

All we need is a few sidewalk signs on the westbound corner and one a bit farther back on the eastbound side so bikes can prepare to turn left—using the left-turn lane, if desired. Ideally, this signage should appear before the hill blocks a riders view of traffic behind them. The back side of the westbound sign could also show the same information so left-turn cyclists have visual confirmation they are taking the correct route.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (South of University)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (South of University)

 

Pascal St., up to Concorida Ave, had very light traffic. There are no bike lanes on this stretch of Pascal. There are four “Share the Road” signs, spaced about one block apart. I would prefer these signs were replaced with “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs. I feel these signs give bikes more authority, in drivers’ minds, to ride farther out from parked cars, to avoid the door zone.

A traffic officer was stationed at Concordia and Pascal. There were only 11 cars waiting to cross Pascal, as I approached. Three of the cars were not turning toward the stadium. Only three cars were waiting to head southbound on Pascal. Crossing the bridge, painted shoulders exist, but they were blocked with snow. I’m not sure why they aren’t marked as bike lanes. I would also appreciate delineators on this stretch.

St. Anthony Ave had quite a bit of traffic. But nothing out of the ordinary for an exit street from I-94. There were two traffic officers directing traffic and pedestrians through the intersection.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At St. Anthony)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At St. Anthony)

 

Pascal, from St. Anthony to University, had been repaved and only small dots marked the lanes, this day. There will be in-street bike lanes on both north and south sides. I had suggested to St. Paul Public Works that buffers could easily be added to this section due to the lack of on-street parking. We’ll see how the final layout looks. Another major improvement would be delineators. As I noted, this section has plenty of room for buffered bike lanes. Delineators would discourage right-turning traffic from entering the bike lane too early and provide northbound cyclists a safe area to wait and cross to the bike parking.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At Allianz Field)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At Allianz Field)

 

Again, I didn’t see any signage indicating where cyclists should enter the field to park. According the the transportation plan, there are two routes bikes are encouraged to use to find parking spots. One at St. Anthony and the other on the opposite side from the Cub Foods parking lot.

The bike racks at St. Anthony are right next to the street at both of these locations, but with heavier traffic heading to the field, University Ave, and the mall; you probably aren’t looking that way. Permanent bike parking signage next to the racks and signs would go a long way towards helping cyclists prepare for when to turn.

Pascal and University is probably about as busy as Snelling and University in terms of pedestrian, bike and car interactions. There were a lot of cars queued north and south on Pascal—mostly due to mall traffic. Three traffic officers were assisting with flow at this intersection. Of course, this intersection is always a bit crazy.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At University Ave)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At University Ave)

 

On the north-side of Pascal (the route you would enter arriving from the north), the traffic queue heading southbound, across University, was about a block long. This was the worst part of my experience and a reason I chose to take Griggs to Marshall instead of Pascal south.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (North of University Ave)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (North of University Ave)

 

There are brand new, large, bike boulevard chevrons on this stretch. Including “Share the Road” signs every block. Unfortunately street parking makes this street very dangerous. The sidewalks are much too skinny to accommodate both bike and pedestrians, which makes them unusable for bikes, with all the people walking to the game.

If the City of St. Paul and Allianz Field want cyclists to arrive from the north; the street parking on Pascal, north of University has to go. As Pioneer Press writer Fred Melo noted, the fears of soccer fans clogging up the neighborhood side streets was unfounded. Parallel streets, only one block from University, had plenty of on-street parking. I even passed Fred as he was loading his kids into his car. He had two car-lengths ahead and three behind his car. The streets were so calm, kids were skateboarding down them.

If bike lanes can’t be added, then the same recommendation of “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs also applies. But this won’t make the street less dangerous.

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At Sherburne Ave)

Allianz Field – Pascal St (At Sherburne Ave)

 

My overall summary, southwest routes, Snelling and University experiences will follow in Part 2.

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8 Responses to Biking to Allianz Field on Game Day – Part 1

  1. Mike Sonn
    Mike Sonn April 24, 2019 at 1:22 pm #

    Thank you, James. I came up Pascal from the south and that forces me onto Snelling for a block next to #carbucks. It sucks but the lane closure to the south of Selby kept Snelling pretty light on that stretch. I’ll probably just ride the sidewalk when Snelling goes back to two NB lanes and drivers continue their dominance.

    Pascal from Marshall to 94 needs a repaving and I’m so sick of St Paul using “Share the road” signs instead of “bikes may use full lane” for obvious reasons. We also need massive sharrow markings instead of the small ones located in the door zones.

    I agree with your signage remarks as well. I know where I’m going but there’s a bunch of new folks riding to the area and a couple signs would be really helpful. However, if you’re coming up Marshall from Mpls, I’d recommend Prior to St Anthony.

  2. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke April 24, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

    good report and good advice for STP PW.

  3. Moen April 24, 2019 at 2:43 pm #

    I’ll be biking tonight from Mpls. Taking Marshall up to Prior to St Anthony. Rush hour traffic, so not really looking forward to it, but shouldn’t be too bad.

    • Mike Sonn
      Mike Sonn April 25, 2019 at 11:01 am #

      How did this go for you? I’m going to assume Marshall was the worst part of this. Hopefully it went smoothly tho.

      • Moen April 25, 2019 at 11:08 am #

        Yeah, it actually was quite pleasant. We left around 6 and most of the Marshall rush hour traffic was gone, so even that wasn’t bad. The road conditions on Prior were a mess, but very few cars so we just took the lane for most of Prior. That hard right onto St Anthony came up quick, wasn’t quite prepared for that.

        • Mike Sonn
          Mike Sonn April 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm #

          That turn on St Anthony is really hidden (and you’re going against a one-way) and right after the huge mess of potholes under the RR bridge.

          Glad it went well!

  4. Paul Nelson April 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

    The “Bicycle Routing Plan” above, looks to me like a grasshopper with just two legs; inadequate. Could Snelling, I-94, and University Ave be built with protected bike lane space? I think so.

  5. Jenny Werness
    Jenny Werness April 26, 2019 at 9:52 am #

    What a comprehensive and informative article! Thanks, James.

    I’ve test-ridden a couple routes to Allianz from my house, and none of them are great. I’d love to see better infrastructure in this area.

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