Oakland Howard Terminal Ballpark

Howard Terminal Ballpark For Oakland A’s Unreasonable From A Transportation View – Chris Peeples

Zennie62Media note: the legendary AC Transit Board Member H. E. Christian (Chris) Peeples sent over the letter you’re about to read to Zennie62Media so his objections to the Howard Terminal Ballpark Site for the Oakland A’s could be seen by the general public. To make sure his words were 100 percent represented, this separate Oakland News Now account was established on his behalf. Chris is now on OaklandNewsNow.com with the title of Editor, joining other notable Oaklanders like Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb, Oakland Developer Phil Tagami, Oakland Architect Steve Lowe, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, and many more. If you have a point of view on some issue in Oakland or America or The World, join us – email Zennie@Zennie62Media.net

Oakland – The proposed A’s stadium at the Howard Terminal site is completely unreasonable from a transportation point of view and the EIR does not properly address the transportation issues. Also, the EIR does not properly address the sea level rise issues that will put the stadium and the streets that access it under water before the end of the stadium’s useful life.

I do not have expertise in sports economics or in the economics of real estate development. I do have expertise in transportation. I have been involved in transportation issues for over 40 years. I have served on the board of AC Transit (the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District), the agency that provides bus service to Oakland and surrounding cities, for 23 years (although these comments are my own and may not represent the position of AC Transit). I regularly attend (and sometimes speak at) transportation conferences such as TRB (the Transportation Research Board), APTA (the American Public Transportation Association), UITP (Union International de Transport Public), CTA (California Transit Association), Rail~Volution, and various university sponsored transportation conferences.

There is no reasonable way to get the 30,000 people that the As hope will come to their baseball games at the Howard Terminal site to the site with either public or private transportation.

Our regional heavy rail system – BART – is not within a reasonable distance of the Howard Terminal site. The “rule of thumb” in transportation is that people will walk 1/4 of a mile to a bus stop and 1/2 mile to a rail stop. The West Oakland BART station is 1.4 miles from the Howard Terminal site, and it is not an inviting route to traverse. The Lake Merritt BART station is 1 mile away, again not the best walk. The 12th Street BART station is 0.8 miles away. If the station and the associated development is built at the Howard Terminal site, I assume that will be a pleasant walk, but it is still more than 1/2 a mile.

AC Transit has some service close to the Howard Terminal site. The 72s (72, 72M and 72R) provide 7 and a 1/2 minute service on San Pablo Avenue up through Richmond. That service is already heavily used and would only carry a fraction of the 30,000 people the As anticipate hosting at this stadium. The 12 and the Broadway Shuttle could provide some capacity, but, again, a small fraction of the anticipated attendance. AC Transit does not maintain substantial extra buses and personnel to serve 81 home baseball games a year at the Howard Terminal site.

The C. L. Dellums Oakland Amtrak station is also 0.8 miles away and has limited service. There is limited ferry service.

There is limited freeway access and quite limited parking at the Howard Terminal site, so getting a substantial portion of 30,000 people there by car is not a reasonable option.

To get to Howard Terminal it is necessary to cross an active train line (unless you come on a ferry). The passenger trains are not a huge problem – they are only 5 or 6 cars long – the freight trains can be 100 cars long. The California PUC is not going to allow 30,000 people to cross an active train line at grade. It will insist on substantial infrastructure so that pedestrians can get to the stadium without crossing an active train line.

The gondola proposal is unrealistic. Talk to anyone who owns a ski resort, or even has worked at one. Cable gondolas have very limited capacity and are a maintenance nightmare. I doubt that the As are going to commit to operating and maintaining a gondola system for the life of the stadium. Even if they do, it will only accommodate a small fraction of the 30,000 spectators the As expect. There would also be problems with the geometry of getting the gondolas high enough to get over the downtown buildings and back down close to the stadium.

The transportation situation at the Coliseum, in sharp contrast to Howard Terminal, is far superior. The Coliseum has a BART station with crossover tracks so that extra trains can be stationed to handle the crowds at the end of games. (A full BART train can carry 2,000 people.) There is also an Amtrak station and robust AC Transit bus service. There is already a bridge over San Leandro street to get from BART, AC Transit or Amtrak to the Coliseum. For those who insist on driving a personal vehicle there are three freeway off ramps and 10,000 parking spaces.

I follow sea level rise issues because it has a substantial impact on transportation give the location of some of our freeways and railroad rights of way. If you look at page 15 of the report titled “SEA-LEVEL RISE AND THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY SHORELINE”1 you can see that Howard Terminal and its surrounding streets up to the 880 freeway are in the risk zone – in other words, they will be under water. That conclusion is confirmed by the LAO2 and the California Ocean Protection Council.3 Sea level rise makes Howard Terminal an inadvisable location for a baseball stadium with a capacity of 30,000 spectators.

Thank you for your consideration of my comments.

Very truly yours,

H. E. Christian Peeples

Zennie62Media note: in fairness to the Oakland Athletics, A’s President Dave Kaval has remarked that mitigating the problem of sea level rise is addressed in their DEIR plan. Also, Chris Peeples agreed that the SEA-LEVEL RISE AND THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY SHORELINE report shows that problem also exists in East Oakland, including not just the Oakland Coliseum, but I-880 and the Oakland Airport. To date, there’s no mitigation plan for that giant area.  The best source on this problem is the Oakland Sea Level Rise Road Map Report.

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