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Downtown St. Paul streets close at noon Wednesday for Obama visit


President Obama's visit to downtown St. Paul Wednesday will cause some traffic headaches a few hours ahead of his expected 2 p.m. appearance, according to the St. Paul Police Department. The president is scheduled to appear at the renovated Union Depot off Fourth street, to talk about transportation issues.

Police say downtown streets will remain open as usual for the Wednesday morning commute, and traffic detours will be set up at midday.

"Beginning at around noon, please be patient with traffic as you go from place to place, especially in the downtown St. Paul area," said a statement posted on the police department's Facebook page. For security reasons, the department won't disclose in advance which streets will be closed, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Some Metro Transit bus routes going through downtown St. Paul will be detoured beginning Wednesday at 4 a.m.; others will be detoured later in the morning.

Tickets to the event were distributed at the depot Monday morning on a first-come, first-served basis.

The police department said people can keep updated by following its Twitter feed Wednesday at @sppdpio.

Meantime, one local business is making a play for President Obama to stop by while he's in St. Paul. The Black Dog Cafe and Wine Bar, which is a few blocks away from the Union Depot, is offering free beer "to anyone named Barack," according to the St. Paul restaurant's Facebook page, "ID, but not birth certificate, required."

"We know he likes beer, and we've got all local beers," Sara Remke, co-owner of the Black Dog, told the Pioneer Press.

Obama's last visit to Minnesota was a year ago, when he spoke about gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Union Depot, which reopened in late 2012 after a $274 million refurbishing, will serve as a hub for Amtrak passenger-rail service; buses from Megabus, Jefferson Lines and Metro Transit; and the Green Line light rail.

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