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Old 04-16-2011, 01:53 AM
2 posts, read 2,492 times
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I'm another transplant moving to Minnesota this summer from Oregon. It really only rains here, not much snow.

Anyways, I was accepted to graduate school at U of MN with an offer I couldn't turn down. I also have a good friend with an empty house there, south of the university (about a 25 min drive according to google). She's letting me live there for free, so I figure the transportation is worth it. I'm also a 10 minute walk from the metro tram thingy that I could use, plus some bus stops, to get to campus in 48 minutes.

How feasible is it to drive in the hardcore winters there? How realistic is parking at campus there? Should I just count on public transport?

Otherwise, are there any good suggestions for places to live very close to campus?

I really don't want to wind up a popsicle. : )

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:05 AM
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Parking on campus is expensive and a hassle. I'd just go with public transportation if I were you. You'll get a very cheap U card, so unless you have classes with odd hours you're almost certainly better off just taking the bus in. You could always drive to a park-and-ride lot and hop on an express bus there. Many of the larger University parking lots on campus are a bit out-of-the-way, anyway, so you'd have to either walk a long way or jump on a shuttle bus. Not a big deal, but you'll probably find it more convenient, and cheaper, to just take public transportation the whole way. Especially since there are so many express U buses going to all parts of the metro area, and they drop off so conveniently on campus.
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:05 AM
Location: Twin Cities
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I agree with uptown urbanist. The bus is going to be the way to go because parking on campus is a major league pain. You'll want to drive for any trips other than your commute to and from school. Standing on the bus stop with shopping bags when it's freezing cold out is a very bad deal and you'll want to avoid that at all costs.
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:46 PM
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I personally would be willing to consider doing the express buses from a park-n-ride directly to the U if I were you, but I would be less inclined if I had to transfer buses at all. The Light Rail Train will get you from the Mall of America area to the downtown area, but you'll either have a 10-20 minute walk from Cedar-Riverside stop or you'll go into downtown and transfer to a bus. In the dead of winter, that will not be pleasant - even without shopping bags, IMHO.

Parking is relatively expensive on campus, but many of the ramps are connected by tunnel or skyway. You should check out the U's website for more information: Parking and Transportation Services - University of Minnesota. Also note, with the Light Rail construction on campus, traffic and access will be more difficult for the next 1-2 years. It will really end up being a question of how much you want to avoid wind and cold. Relative to the coast, it will be brutal (I say as a lifelong Minnesotan).
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:56 PM
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I'd still go with the public transportation route, but it's a very good point about the light rail station; while light rail is great for downtown, bus is still (I think) the easiest option for campus itself. Some of that depends where exactly on campus you'll be spending your time, but the express buses drop off in a far more central campus location. That will change in a few years once the next LRT leg is completed, but for now the buses are the best option for being dropped off right in the middle of campus. There are big heated bus shelters, too, so if you time it right you should be able to avoid spending too much time outside waiting.
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Old 04-16-2011, 03:04 PM
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If you're able to take the light rail to the DTE/Metrodome station, you could easily catch a bus to campus. And assuming you're going to campus during just about any point of the day, the wait for buses won't be long. You could take the 16, 50, or 3. With so many routes, you'd probably have barely any wait, plus the shelter there is heated, so winter wouldn't be too bad.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:22 PM
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Wow, thanks for the responses everyone. Yeah I'm pretty sure all my classes are in or around the childrens rehab center on the east bank of the river. The house is by the VA medical center.

So this is a reasonable commute then time-wise? I'm guessing around 45ish minutes. The heated stations sound nice. lol. I've already invested in an extreme cold jacket, at least my vital organs will survive then...

So how expensive are the park n ride things? Hopefully I'll be able to ride my bike during the warmer parts of the year there.

Thanks again for all your comments and suggestions, I appreciate it!
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:10 AM
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I believe all park and rides are free, so you shouldn't have a cost with that. And if you bike, you can either bring the bike with you, or many of the stations have secure bike storage units, so you could just leave it at the station and ride it back in the evening. Though I'm guessing you'd want it for campus to get around.

45 minutes sounds about right. I plugged in directions on Metro Transit's website and they gave me an alternative route that can take as little as half an hour total. Apparently you can go from VA Medical Center Station to Franklin Ave Station, get off, and then get on the 2 bus and take it to campus.

I don't know how well that works in reality, though. I don't use the Hiawatha for commuting, but I'm guessing if the 2 bus is off at all, you could have a bit of a wait, whereas if you go all the way to downtown before getting on a bus, there's so many and its towards the beginning of their route eastbound that you'd likely get there at a good time.
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Old 04-17-2011, 05:44 AM
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The drive from the VA to the East Bank is not going to take you 25 minutes-more like 15 minutes, especially if you learn the "back" roads and if you are going at off hours (not right during rush hour). It would be significantly easier to drive most of the time if you did not have to deal with parking at the U-which is horrid. In your case it might be better drive over to a bus transit station or a park and ride vs going on the light rail. That just adds another stop to your ride that probably isn't necessary as there are more direct route just taking the bus.
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