The second in a series of model photos. These feature the interaction of the ballpark with train tracks, and include some cool model trains! (Click on any image for a much larger version.)
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.
A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
And, again, here are a couple of construction photos for context...
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
This is the LRT path looking from the ballpark site (behind me) toward downtown. The line currently ends about two blocks up this street. This bridge over I-394 is also being partially rebuilt as part of the ballpark project.
In case you can't tell, I think trains like Northstar are a huge part of the future of transportation in this region and in this country. The goal is not to force people out of their cars, but simply make it possible. Why anyone would not want to do that is beyond me -- regardless of cost.
Let me take this moment to offer a few words about the Dan Patch corridor which would run from Northfield to downtown Minneapolis (ending at the ballpark site). A few years ago some looney legislators got a bill through the Legislature to ban all future work on this particular route. In fact, the wording is such that no one is even supposed to ever mention this corridor again. Why, you ask? Because they were convinced that if anyone even so much as whispered the name of this corridor again there would never be another dollar spent on a single road between here and there.
I said they were looney.
I mention it here to make sure that as many people as possible know that not only does this corridor exist in the early plans, but it would be a fantastic way to take some pressure off of I-35, I-494, Highway 169, Highway 100, I-394, Highway 7 -- I could go on.
And I'll even go so far as to predict here and now that this route will be built one day -- probably long after those particular legislators (who represented the very districts which would benefit most from this project), and maybe all of us, are long dead. And it will be built last of all the routes. And the people will be screaming for it as they see the success of the other routes which were not blackballed. And they won't care how much it costs, but it will cost 100 times the first estimates because of the delay. And they will rue the day that bill was passed into law.
OK, I'm a little bitter about legislators who stand boldly in the way of guaranteed progress.
My wife thinks I'm a little crazy, but I also believe that personal aircraft will be a big part of the future (some people agree), as well as those nifty Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) systems you may have seen demonstrated at the State Fair a couple of years ago.
I'm a little more skeptical of Minneapolis' streetcar dreams. I like the idea, but after reading Twin Cities By Trolley -- a wonderful book by the way -- I think people may romanticize trolleys a little too much. It sounds like they were sort of in the way once horses gave way to autos. That's something the city will have to solve before building these.
As you can tell, I love to dream about transportation in the future. And I can't tell you how pleased I am that our new ballpark will sit at such an important crossroads.
Tomorrow we'll look at another aspect to the ballpark that many people feel passionate about: the configuration of the main grandstand and the outfield stands.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Scoreboard installation in progress
This will be a great sight on game nights.
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
Pile driving in progress
One half of those windows are well-used.
(Click to enlarge.)
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
Where you are, and where you can go.
Detail of the Puckett wall hanging
The green is a composite of the topmost seating areas in the new ballpark. The gray is a scale diagram of the Metrodome.
The electronic sign has been corrected (and never forget that ballpark is one word, not two)
All that's left is to add wood! (Seventh Street circulation ramp.)
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
The shade of the canopy gives way to a brief shaft of light. It would do the same again a short while later when the sun passed through that tiny open sliver between the View and Terrace levels.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
The Hrbek gate is directly below. It's a lively place after a game.
Glove from above
Here are some less intrusive things things you can actually get at the ballpark.
(Click to enlarge.)
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
At Comerica Park, some aisles have railings and some do not.
These outfield stands will likely remain visible to passersby.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)