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Oakland A’s Update

By Matt Artz
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 at 12:55 pm in A's.

I’ve been calling around about the A’s to write an update on the project that is devoid of politics or comments by politicians.

Here are a couple of things I’ve been told:

1) Release of the draft environmental impact report has been pushed back to February or March

2) The team has scrapped plans for 2,600 space parking lot that would have been north of Auto Mall and west of I-880. Apparently  the traffic consultants said it wouldn’t work out. It’s not set in stone where those parking spaces will be placed, but the odds are that they would go east of the freeway and the team will build a pedestrian overpass linking the lot with the ballpark.

3) About 30 percent of the environmental analysis is complete. The traffic model has been created, but the consultants need data from the A’s to plug into the model.

4) The final project description was supposed to be in this past spring, but now is expected sometime next month. When that is submitted, the public and outside agencies will have a chance to comment on it. Usually this happens before one-third of the environmental analysis has been completed.

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  • Gus Morrison

    If I were the kind of guy who says “I told you so” this is one of those instances where I would say “I told you so.” A year and a half ago, I wrote to council that that parking was inappropriate, too far away, and in violation of the city’s parking standards. Of course, no one on council reacted to that.

    Then people said they would have to build a structure to allow the people to cross Auto Mall to get to the stadium and the costs were estimated at $8 to 10 million. OK, that parking is gone.

    Now, think for a minute if it costs $10 to cross 8 lanes of local traffic, how much does it cost to cross a major freeway? Look at the pedestrian overpass at University Avenue in Berkeley. I don’t know the cost for sure, but I recall numbers between $30 and 50 million. Then, go to trusty Google Earth and try to figure out where a pedestrian overpass could land on the stadium side of the freeway. It doesn’t work.

    Once again, we have theoretically smart people, spending huge amounts of money, without answering the easy questions first.

    Why is it that, probably almost four years into this project, that we hear the first peep of anything out of a traffic engineer? If a reasonable person was proposing to spend this much money on an approval process, wouldn’t they have some idea if the whole thing was feasible?

    A year and a half or more ago, I met with Lew Wolff, at his request, and identified problems I saw with his plan. None of them have yet been addressed. I suggested he perform a “fatal flaws analysis,” a common practice which looks at the various elements of a project and tries to identify things which could kill the project, regardless of any mitigation you perform. His response was that he would rather wait for the EIR process and the accummulation of all the data and then have an up or down vote.

    I don’t own a team and I don’t run a large business, but I know from my Scottish mother that you don’t waste money on foolish pursuits.

    As I told Keith Wolff, son of the owner, at a later meeting, someday this will be a case study at the Harvard Business School where students will critique both the plan and its processing.

    Last year, I spent a lot of energy on this project and documented most of it on my blog, http://www.fremontangus.blogspot.com. I quit spending time on it when they started the EIR process, so it hasn’t been updated this year, but the information is still valid.

    Gus Morrison

  • Doug

    Sounds like the perfect time to start thinking about a heliport at Pacific Commons.

  • Fremont A’s

    Let’s work towards a positive solution where we can have the A’s that benefit the city. The reason we don’t have the nice stories and restaurants we would like in Fremont is because certain folks don’t like to dream big enough OR take the time to drive forward those dreams in a systematic way…

  • worble

    No TO THE BALLPARK IN FREMONT!!!!

  • http://www.bacon2008.com Vinnie Bacon

    I’ve been noting in the candidate forums that there is no viable transit solution that has been proposed to date for the ballpark. And now we find that they don’t have the parking situation worked out either. Incredible!

    Gus, thanks for your informed comments. I do have professional experience as a transportation engineer and I don’t need to see the EIR to know that the traffic issue is likely a ‘fatal flaw’ in this project. The A’s estimate that the project would generate 11,000 car trips for each game. That’s the equivalent of FIVE lanes of freeway traffic running at capacity for a full hour. The 880 freeway at that location is already at stop-and-go traffic in the afternoon in both directions. And remember that there are also 3,150 homes that will generate a lot of traffic on their own.

    Matt is right that the project should be fully defined before a third of the EIR is completed. I brought this up with the City staff who noted that ‘the EIR considers various alternatives’. That’s true, but one of these alternatives should be the final proposed project, which appears to be undefined right now.

    Fremont A’s, it’s not our job to work towards a solution on this. It’s up to the A’s to present a solution that will be good for Fremont. As of yet, they haven’t done that. If you want more stores and restaurants in Fremont, that’s one thing. I’m more concerned about the ballpark and the 3,150 homes that come along with this deal.

    Unlike most other candidates for City Council, I have a position paper on my web site on this issue:

    http://www.bacon2008.com/ballpark.html

  • Doug

    I have read Vinnie Bacon’s stance on the issues and find his reasoning sound, comprehensive and straight forward. I respect his willingness to share his viewpoint with voters in advance of the election. His judgment on the critical issues facing our city is precisely what we need at this time.

  • Kyle N.

    Gus & Vinnie – finally we have someone who are willing to ask the tough questions. Thank you for your informed comments. The A’s does not make sense in Fremont.

  • worble

    NO TO THE BALLPARK IN FREMONT!!!!!

  • Smalls

    Hey Gus AKA Captin Kangaroo

    Nice voter turn out keep your wind bagged opion to your self. Thanks to you and Ball we are in the mess.

  • bbox231

    Fremont A’s says – “The reason we don’t have the nice stories and restaurants we would like in Fremont is because certain folks don’t like to dream big enough ”

    What a load of steaming hot . . . . . . well, I dont agreee. … this is a total rationalization of pro-A’s stance.

    The reason we dont have nice stores and restaurants in Fremont is due to a lack of business acumen – on the part of our city leaders and on the part of the business entities they attract.

  • Californiaguy

    Smalls, the name sort of fits, you have no cl_ass. Do you think you maintain any credibility on here by insulting people, do you think you have any integrity.
    Are you a teenager