An interesting pair of articles has popped up in the last couple days that could have a significant impact on Downtown Minneapolis.
Today, the Strib reports on discussions that the Vikings have been having with Ramsey, Anoka and Washington counties to build a new stadium at the Arden Hills Army Ammunition Plant site. This gigantic site (with nice topography) has room for almost one hundred stadia (based on dividing the 2400 acres of the site by the 25 acres of the Metrodome site); the article mentions discussions about maybe putting a hotel or two around the stadium. Although limited by the likely failure of imagination of the elected officials in Shoreview, there is room for significant development here, and a stadium could be a catalyst.
Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias, a man who seems to have an opinion about everything, makes a convincing argument that football stadia belong on the periphery. He compares the facilities, which he claims are “empty 95 percent of the time,” to farms and airports for their low intensity of land use. The desolate streets around the Metrodome seem to corroborate this comparison.
Even if we accept the argument that football stadiums make bad neighborhoods, and therefore they should not take up any space that has urban potential, we face the question of fair access. In the United States, we have decided to require citizens to use a car to access the majority of our urban areas. At the same time, stadiums can improve the general perception of transit, even if they don’t do much for ridership numbers. Would a shuttle to Lakeville Stadium be enough?