Researchers Look at Future of Downtown Minneapolis Parking Ramps

August 06, 2018 09:29 PM

A University of Minnesota study is taking a closer look at the impact of the ABC Ramps in downtown Minneapolis and how Minnesotans may use them in the decades to come.

The ramps were meant to reduce downtown congestion when they were constructed in 1992, but since that time a lot has changed.


"We did not have Target Field there when it was built, we didn't have the Northstar light rail, we didn't have the Green Line and the Blue Line coming there," researcher Frank Douma said.

What they did have were a lot of people like Barb Say, leaving the west metro and taking newly built I-394 into downtown.

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"For me driving downtown, I don't like it," Say said. "But this was easy getting down here."

Years later, Douma said nearly half of the trips coming into downtown start outside of the I-394 corridor. He also said demand for single occupant vehicle parking has increased, while demand for carpool parking has decreased.

"As you bring a lot of cars from a large area like the suburbs of the Twin Cities into a very concentrated area like downtown Minneapolis, that is a recipe for just very, very heavy congestion," Douma explained.

Douma said it may be time to tweak how the ramps are laid out, making more room for shared vehicles, electric vehicles or bikes. 

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"The more you can get people out of their own cars and into shared vehicles, HOV vehicles, even bicycles or walking, it is a much more efficient use of the space allowing people to get through more easily," Douma said. 

The University of Minnesota study, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, is expected to run for another six months. Douma said the study will be publicly released once it is complete.


Josh Rosenthal

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