Army of foot traffic expected downtown around new Target Field

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When the Minnesota Twins begin their new era at Target Field in April, retailers around the new ballpark are likely to experience a massive spike in pedestrian traffic and the downtown area's vitality will get a much-needed shot in the arm, according to a new study.

The prediction by Pedestrian Studies, a national consulting group, is part of a larger study that shows skyway traffic in downtown Minneapolis enjoyed an uptick of about 4 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year.

From the study:

When the Twins open their season at Target Field in April, 75 percent of the 42,000 fans are expected to access the ballpark from 6th and 7th Streets along the Target Center on First Avenue North, just west of Hennepin Avenue. On game days, Bruce estimates retail businesses in the district will see 5-10 times the current volumes of foot traffic. The proximity of the entertainment district and retail core to the ballpark will create a new vitality for downtown retail.

Nicolett Mall will especially feel the love:

Nicollet Mall volumes grow in 2010 as a result of the New North star Commuter Rail / Hiawatha Light Rail connection at the Target Field Transit Hub, which began operating in December. Commuter rail passengers are now walking or using light rail to get to work downtown, at the airport and at the Mall of America. The Nicollet Mall vicinity will be a major destination for these passengers. Pedestrian Studies estimates Nicollet Mall traffic volume near 5th Street will increase of at least 10 percent in 2010.

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