01 April 2006

Not an April Fools joke

A recap of the Oakland mayoral debate has the following bit about candidate Ron Dellums:
Dellums said that after meeting with Oakland Athletics owner Lewis Wolff, he concluded that the time had passed to keep the baseball team from leaving the city.
For those that held out that the frontrunner Dellums would provide hope for keeping the team in Oakland, this is troubling. Others who have observed Dellums' political career can't be terribly surprised as Dellums hasn't previously shown any significant interest in sports business during his three decade tenure.

I attended the second San Jose ballpark EIR public outreach meeting. This time the questions got more pointed as community members repeatedly poked holes in the draft EIR. I arrived halfway through the meeting because I felt I didn't need to sit through the Powerpoint presentation again, so I might have missed a few comments or questions. Here's what I picked up:
  • Flaws in the traffic and parking study were pointed out repeatedly. Marc Morris, who submitted an analysis of the parking study prior to the first meeting, said that he was working on a similar analysis to traffic study. He pointed out some assumptions that may not be valid based on the idea that the EIR is not team-specifc: statistical data is based on extrapolation of usage patterns during Sharks games, and 20% (or 9,000) of those fans come from somewhere in the East Bay. Depending on how many mass-transit options are available, it may be higher. The traffic study will be expanded to include impact on intersections outside the Downtown Core and Didiron/Arena areas. The reason for this is that it is expected that as gridlock ensues, some fans will decide to take different routes to get to the ballpark, and that means increased use of other roads and intersections as well as parking in areas that don't currently see high demand.
  • SSV member Don Gagliardi pushed the working group to have a soccer stadium as a studied alternative. No commitment was made, but it will be put under consideration. Gagliardi also distributed a letter to project principal Michael Rhoades touting the reduced environmental impact of a SSS (soccer-specific stadium). I think it would be help if soccer supporters provided something more specific as a counterpoint. If designed correctly, a SSS could provide significantly less impact, but if it's designed without noise mitigation built in the difference could be much smaller. This isn't easy since it costs money to design and study such impact, but that's where it will take the soccer community to provide something substantive that can be taken seriously as an alternative.
  • Delmas Park and Shasta-Hanchett neighborhood residents were present, expressing grave concerns over the impact of the ballpark. I met Joe Bentley, a S/HNPA member and the guy who pointed out the problems with noise propagation in the concert configuration on Tuesday. There was a request of the working group to simulate different levels of noise in order to better inform the neighborhood what those impacts mean. Again the group was non-committal. Early last year some of you know that I bought a basic soundmeter. I plan to have a little surprise rigged up just in case nothing is prepared by the City. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have effective, realistic TPMP in place, since the prospect of regularly bringing in 60,000 people into the area looms should this project move forward.
I'm off to take pictures of the Fremont site.