06 December 2005

SJ City Council meeting tonight

Numerous San Jose Earthquakes fans are expected to attend tonight's San Jose City Council session. Towards the end of the proceedings will be an open hearing, when Quakes proponents will make their desire to keep the team in town loud and clear. Today, reports emerged that the fire training was too small to hold a stadium, and I'm sad to say there's a lot of truth to this.

I visited the fire training site over the weekend, and yes, it is small. I was able to get a couple of mockups going that got stadium capacity to the 16-17,500 range, but that's too small for a SSS (soccer-specific stadium) these days. The preferred capacity for a SSS is 20-25,000, with some 20-30 suites, a stage at one end for concerts, and amenities one would typically find at a new ballpark or football stadium such as club seats and wide concourses.

It wouldn't be so bad if the site were square, but since it's more or less an isosceles triangle, shoehorning a field and stands into the space is quite an effort. Instead of 5 acres of available space, it's really less than 4. There's a possibility that a portion of a grandstand could be built over Los Gatos Greek, but that would trigger a potentially lengthy environmental review process because of the removal of some portion of the riparian corridor.

Unfortunately, we may be getting into a situation where soccer fans and baseball proponents end up fighting over the Diridon South site. Worse, the city may put together a proposal where the two teams share a stadium, an idea that goes against both MLS and MLB guidelines.

Interestingly enough, there is a piece (or pieces) of land nearby which, if the city invested in them the same way the are with the ballpark site, would make an excellent site for a 20-25,000 seat SSS. It would leave the fire training site open for the public park originally planned for the area. Where is this site, you ask? I will probably reveal it at the city council session tonight.


tony d. said...

I don't like this at all R.M. It's bad enough that we San Joseans have to deal with the Giants territorial rights...this idea of trying to force feed a soccer stadium at Diridon South just doesn't sit well with me (an earlier post reflected this sentiment as well). The unfortunate reality is is that soccer, like our professional lacrosse team, isn't "major league" like Baseball or Football. I would hope that our city council finds a new spot for the Quakes while leaving Diridon South to our proposed ballpark.

tony d. said...

Also, what's up with that northeast orientation of the proposed ballpark in the Merc? Such an orientation would make SJC flights a major eyesore for batters and fans alike. Aligning a ballpark to the southeast mitigates this eyesore and also provides beautiful vistas of the eastern foothills and Santa Cruz Mtns.

Marine Layer said...

The orientation thing might have something to do with me. A while back I had sent Barry Witt a mockup with the northeast orientation. A person in the Merc's graphics department probably took it and ran with it. That's the only way I can explain the bizarre soccer stadium over the street graphic.

Believe it or not, there are Mets fans who actually like the sight of planes taking off and landing nearby. Even with the southeast orientation at Diridon South, you're going to see planes coming from the south.

tony d. said...

I just read over a that Dave Cortese, FOUNDER OF BASEBALL SAN JOSE, is now jumping ship and supporting a soccer stadium at Diridon South over a ballpark. Talk about maddening!! Here's hoping all this soccer nonsense will boil over and we can get back to the matter at hand...acquiring the Diridon parcels for a ballpark! I'm just sick of San Jose catering to second-tier sports like soccer, lacrosse, and ABA basketball.

Marine Layer said...

Barry Witt corrected me on one thing - the ballpark orientation graphic from the Merc comes from a preliminary environmental review document. I'll cover that more in another post.