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.