11 August 2005

Ratto: The A's can do better

The Chron's Ray Ratto weighs in with his opinion of the latest ballpark site:
Anyway, when you get right down to it, the A's aren't being held down by their ballpark much at all. Fact is (and who doesn't enjoy a good fact now and then?), they're probably better off staying where they are than sinking nine figures into a site that makes sense only to the editors of Redeveloped Flea Market Quarterly.
Thus, the idea behind putting the ballpark further away from a BART stop, between two freeway off-ramps, and with a lovely view of San Leandro Boulevard seems odd, and bordering on the downright misguided.
Once Friday's presentation is made and the subsequent press conference is held, it should get the public debate going. Some questions to consider:
  • Are the existing owners of the targeted properties willing to play ball (read: sell and relocate)?
  • If not, what measures will the JPA/City of Oakland explore to make this get done (read: eminent domain)?
  • What options are available to bridge the 1.2 mile gap between the Drive-In/Swap Meet and the Coliseum BART station? Shuttles? Trolleys? Another BART station?
  • Why would the JPA be involved if the site under consideration is not under JPA control?
  • There are large trucking/warehousing companies along Coliseum Way. How would they react to a mixed-use development next door, especially one that could significantly alter the existing street grid?
  • How are the existing train tracks going to be negotiated? Pedestrian or vehicle bridges? Gates at crossings?
  • Is this the best site? The easiest to acquire? The best compromise among all factors? Are other sites under consideration?