The rumors are true: A Red Bull Crashed Ice extreme sports event is going to be staged on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul come January.
The event, which is referred to as a “downhill ice cross,” pits international competitors skating down a specially designed ice ramp. To see a video of the competition, visit http://www.redbullcrashedice.com. Then imagine the picturesque view of the Cathedral of St. Paul behind the racers (see illustration below of the proposed ice ramp course).
Months of planning meetings with the City of St. Paul, the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have been held to minimize the impact on those attending Mass at the Cathedral, local businesses and area residents, who are likely to suffer the greatest inconvenience prior to and during the Jan. 12, 13 and 14 competition.
City and Red Bull representatives met with members of the local community Dec. 1; a second meeting was set for Dec. 2. Although the event is more than a month away, everyone involved is seeking input about upcoming temporary street closures, parking, noise issues and more. Beginning Dec. 19, some street parking is to be closed for one block along Dayton Avenue, between John Ireland Boulevard and Louis Street.
All parking will be open from Dec. 23 through Dec. 25 to accommodate the Christmas crowds expected for Masses at the Cathedral.
When track construction begins Dec. 26 and through the weekend of the event, Red Bull will be providing off-site parking and shuttle services for all Mass times, according to Carolyn Will, Cathedral director of media and public relations. As the construction date gets closer, updated information about where parishioners can park to catch a shuttle will be on the Cathedral website at http://www.cathedralsaintpaul.org under “Latest News.”
A portion of the Cathedral’s Selby Avenue parking lot (one-third of the main lot and all of the small employee lot) will be used by Red Bull for the two weeks prior to and for the full week of the event. However, street parking along Selby Avenue and Summit Avenue and one side of Dayton Avenue will remain open.
A St. Paul Police representative assured about 20 people attending the Dec. 1 meeting that the city’s police officers would be able to handle the crowds, which are estimated to be about 25,000 each day. He noted that it dealt with a crowd of about 60,000 downtown when a Hmong New Year event and a Minnesota Wild Hockey game were held on the same day.
Derrick Taylor, field marketing manager for Red Bull, which makes energy drinks, said the traffic closure information is not on the website yet. In an email, he said, “We’re exploring ways to display that information and in past events have provided a link to MNDOT’s website as they are the experts in traffic closure notifications.”
The greatest concern about traffic and parking came from a representative of HealthEast St. Joseph’s Hospital who also noted concerns for Children’s Hospital and United Hospital. A few residents also expressed concern about the traffic issues that they have endured for other events in the City of St. Paul.
Jake Spano, City of St. Paul marketing director, said he had worked with the St. Paul Police on previous events to secure public safety and traffic safety. In addition, Red Bull will have an additional 75 members of a private security force working with local officers.
Taylor added that Red Bull is busy securing partnerships with bars, restaurants and hotels to encourage people to use the shuttles being provided by those outlying venues.