09 November 2007

Tidbits from the Community Specific Plan

Before I begin, it's necessary to point out that the CSP is the first of what will be many lengthy documents supporting the ballpark village. And be forewarned: the CSP is the prettiest. Everything else will likely be very dry, fact-based, and for some, boring. So the CSP is not the end-all, be-all in the process. All other supporting documentation (EIR, traffic study, additional reports) will spring from the CSP. Case in point: the very brief transportation/parking section is only 10 pages long excluding appendices.

I'll start off with some general points. The question about who pays for infrastructure frequently comes up, so I'll let this paragraph explain the situation (from 2.10 - Plan Area History):
ProLogis (and formerly Catellus) have made major infrastructure improvements over the past ten years for roads and utilities surrounding and serving the vicinity, and, in large part, the Plan Area. The existing entitlements and improvement plans that have been constructed provide an “envelope” in which the new proposed land uses can be accommodated.
That, coupled with the already completed and ongoing freeway improvements, have created an excellent base for further development regardless of type. Obviously, it's up to the developer to fill in the space, but that is a cost that will be borne by the developer per standard practice, not by taxpayers. The items that will have to be negotiated are the transit hub, whatever/wherever that is, and the school.

Not mentioned in the CSP, but in the
yesterday's Mychael Urban article, is this tidbit:
Simultaneous to the environmental review process, ProLogis, owner of the Pacific Commons Shopping Center, will conduct a targeted outreach program with its tenants at Pacific Commons and the adjacent Auto Mall regarding the transportation and parking impacts of the proposed ballpark village. ProLogis will work collaboratively with both the A's and the City of Fremont as this project progresses.
ProLogis is definitely going to be looking out for its tenants in the process, but it's highly encouraging to know they'll be helping to shape the policy instead of simply taking a hardline position. Maybe they're getting a slightly inflated price for the land they're selling to the A's, maybe not. Even with the sale, ProLogis will remain the largest landowner in the area.

The number of required spaces for the ballpark alone has been debated and discussed at length (10,000+). The CSP takes it a step further by giving the parking estimate for the full village, including residential and commercial uses. Here are the total parking projections:
  • Interim/opening day buildout: 21,450 spaces (11,304 ballpark/10,146 non-ballpark)
  • Final builout: 20,646 spaces (10,500 ballpark/10,146 non-ballpark)
The non-ballpark figure includes a static 4,600 spaces for residential use. Unless I'm misinterpreting this figure, it appears to be a worst-case scenario that isn't reflective of what will occur during the interim period because housing will be built gradually over a 10-year span. Still, the max demand can be as high as 20,000+ cars, and that will be the challenge to address. Compare that to the original entitlement of the land, which was for 4.7 million square feet of office space. Using the commonly held ratio of 300 square feet per employee, that translates to 15,666 employees. Bay Area transit usage is around 10%, probably less in Fremont. Remove 10% off the top for transit users, another 15% for carpoolers. That means 11,750 cars from the offices, generally during peak-use periods. At the ballpark village, rush hour usage should be far more when the A's are in town, far less when they're out of town. Break those numbers down into night/day and weekend games and the picture becomes muddled. The A's argument is going to be that total parking/traffic demand will be the same or less than what is currently entitled for the land. We'll have to wait for the traffic/transportation study and a further analysis of it to ascertain the true local and regional impact.

The circulation plan will restrict the lot you can use based on which route you took to get to the ballpark. That is, unless you're a patron at one of the nearby stores or restaurants:

It is also anticipated that a portion of Cisco Field attendees would shop/dine at the Mixed Use District prior to the game and would qualify for a discounted validation to park within the Mixed Use District as they are also patrons of that district.

That's one way to entice people to come early and stay late, while getting a better parking location in the process.

Municipal Parcel
The 40-acre municipal parcel at the far west end of Auto Mall Parkway will be a serious negotiating point. The A's want it for 4,000+ parking spaces. The city would prefer to repurpose it as parkland. Either way, it will probably contain a train station. There is a strip of designated greenbelt area that connects the parcel to the ballpark village. It is this strip that has been designated for the parking tram route.

Other notes
Throughout the Fremont Industrial area, street parking is banned just about everywhere. This ban has been in place for years, and the streets sufficiently narrow enough to make street parking impossible (unless you want to get towed). The exception to this is one block between Pacific Commons and the planned mixed-use portion of the village. If you're looking for a free place to park on the street, you won't find it. They're planning for an extensive network of bike lanes instead.

The "Specific Plan Contributors" list contains 17 different firms, from the A's themselves to geotechnical engineer Engeo to residential planning architect Papageorge/Haymes.

Read the Implementation section (11) to get a feel for the process.


Transic said...

Understandable. Unless one is vested in the world of real estate, law or politics, stuff like this would be hard to follow. Still, it would make for a fascinating window into how big projects like stadia are taken in a state like California, which for an out-of-stater like myself can be education.

Oh, btw, some OT, but you might have to do some editing to your ballpark meter chart:

Marine Layer said...

A ha! And so a trend begins.

Thanks transic. The Rays would be best off joined at the hip with the developer if that's possible.

transic said...

This one surprised me a bit. We knew that the Rays would not be able to get out of St. Pete without that city's permission. So the new ownership is doing the next thing possible. I can't help but notice the similarities to the Marlins, who wanted a waterfront location originally but now may have to settle for the Orange Bowl, which has about the same effect as the Trop in terms of location within a given city.

Anyway, new article giving more details on the plan.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the Tampa Bay park is planned to be built by PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION unlike this disaster.

Marine Layer said...

Not that you're really interested, anon, but Tampa-St. Pete is an extremely car-oriented area and the only public transit currently the is the local bus system. That's the case in many cities that have experienced most of the growth after WWII since building rail of any sort is extremely expensive.

Transic - thanks again. That site is extremely tight and parking there is scarce. They'd have to run shuttles from the Trop or elsewhere to get fans to the ballpark, but the Trop's land would end up being developed, so where would the parking come from?

Anonymous said...

I downloaded the specific plan the other day.
As I've said before,this dog has too many fleas. Leaving the housing situation out of it,the buggaboos remain public transportation,enviromental impact on the wetlands,and changing the zoning. none of these issues have easy answers,at least at this site.
I frankly think that they would have had an easier time focusing on the ballpark,with maybe some specialty retail/hotel connected directly with the ballpark,instead of this fremont fantasyland.
it's interesting that it's been a whole year,and they finally come up with the development application,and with a specific plan that has not been more fully developed within that year,never mind a more firm cost estimate for the ballpark.

Anonymous said...

"it's interesting that it's been a whole year,and they finally come up with the development application,and with a specific plan that has not been more fully developed within that year,never mind a more firm cost estimate for the ballpark"

You do realize that the ballpark developer team has been working closely with city staff to incorporate items the City wants into the plan, dont you?

BTW, if you have followed developments, which I HIGHLY DOUBT, you'd realize these complex development projects proceed at what for most would be considered to be a snail's pace...
A year really is no big deal.

Keep trying though,3:30...its amusing.

If this so called "dog" had so many "fleas", I dont youd be here so often trying to point them out, as theyd be apparent to most everyone, instead of those drinking the OAFC koolaide...


Marine Layer said...

Specific plan that hasn't been more developed? Let's see:

1. Projected numbers for housing units, commercial square footage, ballpark footprint, open space, all of which changed based on market conditions and requests from city council. Check.
2. School inclusion, an item that wasn't within the village 3 months ago. Check.
3. Parking areas and traffic routes to lots defined. Check.

The issues to hammer out:
1. School size/footprint.
2. Greenbelt/environmental buffer and mitigation.
3. Transit hub site and size.

The next 18 months are meant for finding those solutions.

As for a firm cost estimate for the ballpark, it shouldn't matter whether it's $420 million or $480 million if the business agreement calls for the A's to pay for cost overruns, a principle which has already been agreed upon.

It's very easy to focus only on a ballpark when you don't have to figure out how to pay for it. The A's do.

Transic said...

From a business perspective, the A's may not have much options in terms of siting a ballpark. Yes, the Fremont site may not be optimal. Yes, I would liked to see it built near the Coliseum. However, the A's felt that it wouldn't be self-financing, which in California is a must these days. That's the real reason why they want out of Oakland. They have to live with the rules of the marketplace there. What does suck is the "...of Fremont" thing. The "...of Anaheim" stuff is bad enough. I wish it could've been (and might still be) avoided. We'll see.

Oh, and the Rays thing is still adding momentum. Of course, the money issue is the biggest sticking point. More articles here and here.

Marine Layer said...

One other thing. Fremont City Council has expressed their desire for a plan that is not prepackaged. They want to be able to help shape it so that it can work. So far the A's have obliged.