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Convention Beat: August 18, 2008 Archive

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The Don't Walk Zone

Posted at 11:11 AM on August 18, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

It hasn't been officially announced yet, but St. Paul police have in place a tentative security zone banning pedestrians surrounding the Xcel Energy Center. Here's a rough sketch of the area, as police were describing it over the phone. The inner black line is the perimeter of the no-walk zone.

walkzone.jpg

This is essentially the "hard perimeter," although police have taken us media types to task for using that term -- because it evokes images of a lockdown area guarded by sharpshooters. We'll just call it the no-go pedestrian zone. Only folks who have tickets or credentials will be allowed inside. Expect to see some kind of fence put up, and a magnetometer if you want to get in.

At first blush, the perimeter does seem to get awfully close to the "skin" of the RiverCentre complex, which is how police have described it in the past. Police spokesman Tom Walsh said the off-limits areas also include the Smith Avenue Transit Center and the adjacent media tent at Cleveland Circle, as well as the Travelers property north of the RiverCentre complex. Portions of nearby streets will be off-limits, including Fifth and Sixth streets and most likely a stretch of Kellogg Boulevard. Walsh said they'll find a way for people who have business at the Science Museum to have access to Kellogg so they can walk up to the building. (The museum will be closed to the public during the RNC except for private events.)

But for the most part, the security zone doesn't include businesses or attractions that the general public would want to visit that week. It leaves plenty of downtown for walking around, including Rice Park.

Walsh did say, though, that the plan could change between now and the convention.

-- Laura Yuen

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Bus detours announced

Posted at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

The closure of the area around the Xcel Energy Center will make for scores of bus detours in the first week of September.

Metro Transit released an initial list of the reroutes today.

Let's just say that if you take the bus into downtown St. Paul, particularly an east-west route, you had better allow extra time for your travels. The stop on Cedar Street pictured below, for instance, is about as close as you're going to get to the Republican National Convention on public transit.

phantombus-1.JPGTo put it more bluntly, that there won't be ANY regularly scheduled Metro Transit buses running between 35E and Shepard Road, Cedar Street and Grand Avenue. Metro Transit expects delays to run about 10 minutes.

The effected routes will be: 3, 16, 21, 50, 53, 54, 61, 62, 63, 64,65, 67, 70, 74, 75, 94, 255, 262, 265, 275, 294, 350, 351, 353, 361, 364, 417, 480, 484, 489, and 860.

Metro Transit's Bob Gibbons says that some places where riders get on and off the bus will also be altered, particularly around the Xcel Energy Center. He said riders shouldn't have to walk any further than six blocks extra, and typically less, to catch their usual bus.

You can see the list here and the map here. (Beware. That map download's a doozy.)

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