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Morning Fizz: Some outstanding questions about the report

Daily caffeinated news & Gossip featuring: Hansen's arena study; the 36th District Democrats' non-endorsements; NARAL and Planned Parenthood's endorsements; Sound Transit's reaction; and a Republican comes out.
Site of the proposed new arena in SoDo. First Avenue South is the western boundary; the Safeco Field garage is to the north.

Site of the proposed new arena in SoDo. First Avenue South is the western boundary; the Safeco Field garage is to the north. Sportspress Northwest/City of Seattle

1. A study funded by potential SoDo arena funder Chris Hansen concluded, not surprisingly, that the arena will have a negligible impact on traffic in the neighborhood. Seattle Department of Transportation officials and a consultant selected and hired by Hansen made that announcement Wednesday. 

During the 52 days a year when the arena is the only venue in the area hosting an event, the consultant, John Perlic of Parametrix, said, it would bring about 6,000 vehicles into the neighborhood — a number that "could be accommodated within the existing roadway, parking, and transit capacity in the area." (That number assumes about three people per car.) When both the arena and one of the two existing stadiums are hosting an event, the number of patrons would increase, but the existing parking would still be enough to accommodate them, the report concluded. 

The report, which was budgeted at $50,000, ultimately cost around $70,000, or 40 percent more than expected.

Some outstanding questions about the report: 

  • Given that the city says it will do everything in its power to encourage people to get to games on transit, why did the report assume that a greater percentage of people will drive to events in SoDo after the arena is built — between 78 and 84 percent, compared to 57 percent for a Seahawks game and 82 percent for a Mariners game now. 

Asked why the city is assuming an increase in driving, rather than an increase in transit use, Perlic responded that because games will be at night, when transit is less frequent, the consultants decided to make the conservative assumption that the vast majority of patrons will drive. Bob Chandler, from the Seattle Department of Transportation, said SDOT expects the percentage of people using transit will increase once Sound Transit opens light rail stations north and east of Seattle, allowing people to drive their cars to rail stations and park at one of Sound Transit's park and ride lots, which are expected to grow by 5,600 spaces once the entire east and north lines are completed.   

  • Will people really walk up to three-quarters of a mile, through a heavily industrial area, from their cars to get to the new arena?

Parametrix's analysis assumes drivers will be willing to walk up to three-quarters of a mile through industrial SoDo to get to the arena on days when there are events both at the arena and at one of the other stadiums. When it comes to transit, however, conventional wisdom is that the maximum distance most people will walk is half a mile. Why does Parametrix believe game-day drivers are different? Perlic said people are already willing to walk farther than that to get to Seahawks games. And he said the city plans to make pedestrian and wayfinding improvements to make it easier for people to walk to the arena and stadiums. 

  • Why did the study exclude the scenario in which an arena event happens at the same time as a Seahawks game?

Perlic said that simultaneous Seahawks/Sonics games would lead to a scenario "that could bring 87,000 people" to the SoDo neighborhood — more, in other words, than the area has parking capacity to accommodate. Given that such a situation is unlikely (the Seahawks typically have just eight regular and two preseason games a year), he said, the firm didn't feel the need to consider such a doomsday parking situation. Additionally, Chandler said, SDOT expects that any new NBA team will sign an agreement with the Seahawks not to hold games at the same time; the Mariners and Seahawks already have such an agreement.

2. Looking for guidance from the 36th District Democrats on who the best candidate in the crowded field to replace retiring longtime state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard) is? Oh, well.


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Comments:

Posted Thu, May 24, 9:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Remind me again why we should build another basketball/hockey arena when we already have one? I'm sorry to keep asking, but I keep forgetting.

coolpapa

Posted Thu, May 24, 9:41 a.m. Inappropriate

Because you should just shuttup and build it, cause you like basketball. And if you don't yer a sports hater. Hansen is really cool and grew up here and really loves the sport. Buy now or be priced out forever. Oh, wait, that was from the subprime housing bubble. Ooops.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:30 a.m. Inappropriate

Because we don't have a hockey arena. The Key Arena ice is so small, and so few seats can actually see the entire floor that the junior hockey team left for Kent.

Key Arena is such a great venue that the Storm with given a 5000 sf retail space rent free, a massive discount on the game day rent, and do not have to actually rent the upper bowl, in order to be competitive with the Everett Comcast arena where the Storm considered moving to.

Seattle U has the money for their own right sized arena, if they don't make the move with the Storm to the new arena then they, too, will vacate Key Arena.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 3:13 p.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Baker: a hockey team is no longer part of the deal. Read the MOU.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:12 p.m. Inappropriate

The timing of the hockey team is different in the MOU. To say that it isn't part of the MOU is a lie. Stop telling lies, soon.

The nay sayer talk regarding hockey is a pov plenty of folks had about the MLS when Seahawks stadium was being built.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:39 p.m. Inappropriate

Oh! I see. Key Arena sucks. And it sucks so bad that nothing can fix it. So are you saying that the remodel done for the Sonics when the Ackerleys owned them was a bad job? Why did we do such a bad job?

coolpapa

Posted Thu, May 24, 10:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Because this is Seattle, where everything is done half-assed and on the cheap.

orino

Posted Thu, May 24, 9:33 a.m. Inappropriate

3/4 mile walk after a night game in the winter when it is cold and rainy is very different than a walk during daylight on an autumn Sunday after a Seahawks game. The study used a conservative assumption about vehicles, they should also use a conservative estimate about walking distances.

sjenner

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:36 a.m. Inappropriate

What also makes a difference is 50,000 fewer people parking and making that walk.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 4:09 p.m. Inappropriate

The study also counts Friday as a weekend day instead of a weekday. That's pretty creative.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 9:38 a.m. Inappropriate

Other considerations: The Port doesn't close at 4:30. They operate 24/7

Game traffic begins at 12:30, not 5pm. SDOT's own numbers.

The study only looked at game traffic, and not freight or commuter (Boeing?) traffic.

The report assumes everything is okay now, so therefore everything will be okay later. Everything is not okay now.

If transit is so adequate, why is there discussion of parking at all?

How fats will Metro buses move in all of this, and adding the traffic from the diminished capacity of SR99?

The guy on KUOW said that it was not surprising that a study funded by Hansen and conducted by a private firm with token involvement by SDOT would produce the results he wanted. I second that.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:17 a.m. Inappropriate

The "guy" on KUOW was the Port Union rep. There was no scenario where the Port, that resolves traffic issues every day, is capable of imagining a resolution to arena traffic, but can imagine on to their future proposal to increase Port activity to a 24/7 operation.
That future 24/7 Port proposal should also tell you that they are not currently a 24/7 operation.
The "guy" is either not telling the truth about operations now, or their proposed operations in the future. I suggest he pick one, and you cheerlead that one.

Part of the Port does shut down at 4:30.

Game day traffic for the NBA does not start at the same time as baseball or football. Typically, an NBA arena opens about 45 minutes before the 7 or 7:30 (Fridays) tipoff. So, the influx of traffic at 12:30 is simply not the same.

The Port does not believe that any of the planned and funded mass transit projects provide any use. In order to side with the Port on the traffic argument you have to argue against light rail, rapid ride bus service coming on line, and any other project that connects to the zoned Stadium District.

A reason many of these projects are designed and funded the way they are is to serve the downtown and stadiums. Either follow through on the commercial DENSITY or stop putting transportation infrastructure there.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 3:16 p.m. Inappropriate

OMG! Someone who works there has an say and you tell us it is wrong. A PR flack like yourself knows better. Thanks for setting us all straight.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 7:20 p.m. Inappropriate

The Port's Century Agenda calls for major expansion of the Port's capacity over the next 25 years, increasing by a third the number of containers that pass through. Since there's no room for the Port to expand geographically, that means more trucks, more rail cars, more operating hours on nights and weekends.
Seattle Times parrots Port hyperbole, here http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2018240446_portarena19m.html

Unless they also intend to add more hours to the clock, and more days to the week, they must mean they will operate when they currently are not in the 24/7 they currently do not occupy.

OMG I'm telling you they are making contradictory claims, and that one of the two must be a lie.

Riddle me this: how can they claim their future plans for expansion into later hours not also indicate that they are presently NOT working during those hours.

It is not possible to be both.

Pick one.

The other would then not be true.

Im sorry if my pointing out their conflicts in claims is so disturbing for you.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 10:37 a.m. Inappropriate

Fizz, re #4 - You say Sound Transit hastily announced an open house on the topic of the parking spaces, but don't give any details when or where it is, or even a link to where it can be found. What gives?

TJ

Posted Thu, May 24, 10:42 a.m. Inappropriate

Read #4, then read #1, then think about #4.

Downtown parking capacity and the utilization of light rail depanes on, in part, that park and ride option on the outer edges of the city.

Re 1, it would be useful to know how much transportation revenue the arena activity will generate, and if that could contribute to bringing back the metro downtown ride free zone and include the Stadium District.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:22 a.m. Inappropriate

No public funding for the arena without a public vote.

Libraries, seawall, schools -- all these and more are submitted for voter approval, so the public should also have a say in whether to invest public bonds (i.e. taxpayer money) in a facility that is part of a grand plan to gentrify a major industrial & manufacturing center.

Insist on a public vote, and don't buy the propaganda that the vote on I-91 was the vote. That was to require public profit from a public investment in a sports facility. This arena proposal and the long-term goal of deindustrialization, if approved, would have much broader impacts than the simple concept of I-91.

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:41 a.m. Inappropriate

We had a public vote, congratulations, you won, policy was written, criteria was set, and now somebody has a proposal that meets the intent of that public vote.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 11:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Meats = meets

The new comments window at Crosscut shrinks the text down on my phone to an unbelievably small size.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, May 24, 3:19 p.m. Inappropriate

Baloney.

Godwin

Posted Thu, May 24, 2:52 p.m. Inappropriate

2. the last sentence of the report is in error. The 36th executive board recommendation would have been confirmed by a simple majority vote; two-thirds was not required. the motion did not achieve a majority.

eddiew

Posted Mon, May 28, 7:40 p.m. Inappropriate

If the dual endorsement recommended by the Executive Board failed to get a majority (which is what happened), anyone could have moved for a sole or other combination of dual, requiring two thirds vote. Clearly most of the Ds in the room knew two thirds was not present for anything; the EBd recommendation was the closest. So, with that nuance added, you're basically correct.

louploup

Posted Fri, May 25, 9:59 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Baker: We did NOT have a vote on this proposal. The vote was on I-91 which said that a public investment in a sports arena must return a profit to the public. It's not clear that this proposal even meets that. This is a specific proposal that involves far more than the simple proposition in I-91.

For example, it is clear is that the arena will make traffic problems in the area worse, despite the "creative" study funded by Hansen that counts Friday as a weekend and pretends all industrial/manufacturing activity in the area shuts down at 4:30. It's also clear that the arena is the catalyst for Hansen's stated long-term plan to create an "entertainment district" which would drive out family wage manufacturing and industrial jobs in favor of lower paying service jobs.

And it's also clear that supporters are unafraid to lie to try to push this though; hence their new flyer that says there is "no public funding" when in fact, in addition to the $200 million in bonds, the plan calls for Hansen to sell his property to the city for $100 million -- where does that money come from? McGinn's pockets?

So no, Mr. Baker, we have NOT voted on this proposal, and it's clear the public needs to.

Posted Fri, May 25, 8:09 p.m. Inappropriate

We voted on public policy that provided the council with clear guidelines for the council to follow, and recouse for the public should the council fail to comply with the law.
We did not vote on having a public vote on every proposal, or a public vote on specific criteria, we voted on something else (see above).

If the proponents of I-91 intended to randomly have votes even after a proposal met the clear guidelines then that should have been communicated to the initiative, voter's guide, any of the councilmembers could have mentioned it (if that was the legislative intent), but they didn't.
And we have a precedent, the Storm lease was passed without any type of consideration that the council would have to consult the public by vote.

Picking, choosing, and plane making it up the intent of an ordinance for public/private partnerships, and ordinances for property that has already been zone by council approval specifically for this use would be a significant change in policy and law.

We have broad policy the public understood when it was passed to have an intent. If you would like to change the policy then the voters would have to vote on a as broad a question as you are attempting to interpret into the law after the fact. You would have to vote on changing voter intent to be as you wish it was, that the council guidelines change to one of three things:
The council must send all sports related proposals to the voters.
The council must send some sports related proposals to the voters based on guidelines you describe to them.
the council may send to voters any sports related proposal to the voters.
None of those options was written into I-91 as guidelines.

Having to randomly vote isn't as appealing as it sounds, that why we have the voter approved guidelines we have.

Mr Baker

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