Downtown Minneapolis becomes gridlock central tonight

If you're heading downtown, here's a glimpse of your future.

If you're heading downtown, here's a glimpse of your future.

Word to the wise: if you can, stay the hell out of downtown Minneapolis tonight.

Three mega-sized events, all within a half-mile radius of one another, are kicking off essentially at the same time. Public works officials are gently suggesting that people try public transit or biking.

But we all know what's really going to happen. Nightmare traffic.


Here's how it's all going to go down. The Aquatennial Block Party at Nicollet Mall kicks off at 6 p.m. Then, at 7:10, the Twins take the field against the Kansas City Royals. A mere ten minutes later, the opening act for the Backstreet Boys/New Kids on the Block concert takes the stage at Target Center. That's going to draw an estimated 60,000 people to the city's epicenter for an orgy of honking, bad pedestrian behavior and endless block circling.

But Steve Mosing, a traffic operations engineer with the city, says they've got a plan. He's got 17 traffic control agents ready to police the intersections and a special traffic signal timing pattern that should hopefully get everyone in and out in one piece.

Plus, he says, they handled a Justin Bieber/Twins double header last year.

"There were a number of young fans. It was a challenge to manage that fan base," he says. "Hopefully we'll have a little easier time managing the fans of the Backstreet Boys and the New Kids on the Block."

Maybe. But a lot of the BBNKOB fans will be of legal drinking age, and they'll be hangin' tough.