01 March 2007

Brief news items

The Bay Area will receive 70% of the Prop 1B money earmarked for Northern California. In total, the MTC will receive nearly $1.3 billion in funds, more than Los Angeles County's almost $1.2 billion. Two projects that didn't make the cut two weeks ago now just got over $160 million in new financing, and they're quite relevant to the Cisco Field even though they aren't within 5 miles of the ballpark. They are:
  • Carpool/HOV lane on Southbound I-880 from Hegenberger Rd. in Oakland to Marina Blvd. (San Leandro). This section frequently gets jammed up on weeknights as it loses a lane while going south. Adding a HOV lane should help siphon carpoolers earlier in the commute, giving ballpark goers from Oakland HOV access all the way down the Nimitz.
  • Carpool/HOV lanes I-880 between US-101 and CA-237. Only a few years ago, this section was strictly two lanes in each direction. While the addition of a lane in each direction helped reverse commuters (like yours truly), those stuck in the regular commute continued to face much congestion. A HOV lane would help fans coming from San Jose while also acting as a regular fourth lane during non-carpool hours (think weekend games).
According to the California Transportation Commission's documentation, neither project would have a bid awarded until late 2011. Add 2-4 years to to build these enhancements and they'd probably miss the opening of the ballpark. When thinking of them in the long term, it can't be viewed as anything but a positive. Neither project will be fully funded by state money alone, but needing to get only a few million as opposed to a few hundred million is a major victory.
San Jose's Ballpark EIR was certified Wednesday night, setting the stage for SJ to be Wolff's shoulder to cry on if the Pacific Commons site falls apart. Yes it's moot and futile, but you never know what could happen. *cue the conspiracy theorists*
A Quakes-SJSU-San Jose partnership could result in an announcement within the next two months about a new Spartan Stadium. In the KLIV interview Wolff said he felt good about the response from the university and city. Financing would occur through a plan similar to the ballpark village, except that it would be smaller and not necessarily integrated with the venue.