26 February 2007

Hetch Hetchy Hitch

The Niners keep running into obstacles with the Santa Clara site. First it was the power substation, which can be avoided without much difficulty in the design phase. Now comes the old Hetch Hetchy aqueduct, upon which nothing can be built. According to Matier & Ross, the aqueduct, officially called the Bay Division Pipelines 3 & 4, could be a bone of contention from both land use and political standpoints. But how big a deal is it?

First, let's take a look at the land use aspect. The pipelines run south through Fremont and Milpitas before turning west through North San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale. Where they run through residential neighborhoods, you'll find narrow landscaped greenbelts. In industrial and office parks, the aqueduct usually runs underneath surface parking lots.

The red area represents the lot the 49ers are targeting. The blue line is the aqueduct. I placed the Coliseum there because it represents a possible footprint (sizewise) for the stadium. As you can see in the photo, the Coliseum fits quite snugly between the substation and the pipelines' right-of-way. There's another graphic put together by the Support Our Niners advocacy website but it's a bad perspective for understanding how the right-of-way relates to the rest of the land.

The stadium is doable without moving or reconfiguring the substation, as was discussed for the Diridon South ballpark site. The pipeline right-of-way can stay intact, and when the time comes for the pipeline itself to be replaced, a partnership of the SFPUC, the City of Santa Clara, and the 49ers can jointly build a walkable plaza that would beautify the buffer between Great America and the stadium.

As for the political side of things, you can't count out the possibility of the City of San Francisco making things difficult through the PUC. It wouldn't be the first time I used the word cockblock with this situation.


anon-a-mouse said...

It's pretty clear that the Chronicle is as interested in seeing the Niners in Santa Clara as they are in seeing the A's in Fremont. Man, what biased reporting.

First of all, the graphic you linked to was indeed originally put together by the Niners. However, the Chronicle added the pipeline to it. They specifically used that graphic to edit as the angle makes it look like the pipeline runs right under the proposed footprint of the stadium. They go further by stating in the article that it runs right about where the south end zone would be. Your much more insightful graphic shows this to be a serious exageration, if not an outright lie. The pipeline actually runs entirely outside the proposed stadium footprint. Of course an accurate portrayal of this would nullify the Chronicle's hysteria over the impending doom of this site.

This is just like their other fabrication that the Pac Commons site will be inundated with global warming. They've repeated this several times even though the illustrations they are basing this claim upon (from the actual experts on the matter) show it is clearly outside that zone.

I never realized that the Chronicle had such a vested interest in the city limits within which our local stadia are located. It must be a sizable interest to totally abandon any semblance of ethics and integrity like this.

Anonymous said...

Anon-a-mouse got it right...THE CHRONICLE SUCKS! (except for Ray Ratto :o) As Marinelayer stated, the area's where the pipeline runs south of the stadium (not through M&R!) could act as a nice green buffer between Great America. This pipeline thing is a non-story if you ask me. I tell ya...from the Giants territory rights, Chronicle's reporting to D. Feinstein's Niner legislation, aren't we all getting a little tired of San Francisco's crap!

Oakland Si said...

Just curious: do you know where the acueduct is in Fremont relative to the proposed ballpark village? As a student I remember going to Fremont, seeing the acueduct, and getting a very interesting lecture about it...but that was quite a while back, and I don't remember its exact location.

Marine Layer said...

The aqueduct is actually four pipelines running side-by-side that split into two sets of two in/near Fremont. They're called the Bay Division Pipelines. BDP #1 and #2 run through Newark and south of the original Dumbarton Bridge. #3 & #4 turn south and curl around the bay through Santa Clara, etc. Neither set runs anywhere near Pacific Commons.