Study: SoDo can handle traffic from another sports arena

Study: SoDo can handle traffic from another sports arena
SEATTLE -- The city's SoDo neighborhood can handle any traffic issues that may arise from building another sports arena in the area, a traffic study has found.

Concerns from the Port of Seattle and the Seattle Mariners about potential traffic and transportation impacts of a third arena prompted the study, which was authored by local company Parametrix with the help of the city's Department of Transportation.

The $70,000 study, paid for by private investor Chris Hansen, concluded a third arena will have little impact on the port's shipping schedule

"We don't see a fatal flaw here," said Bob Chandler of SDOT.

The findings state the two entities will have little traffic overlap as most of the arena's activities will occur in the evening hours while the port conducts its business during the day. The study added event-related traffic is likely to utilize First Avenue and streets to the east while the majority of port-related traffic stays west of First.

In addressing concerns about insufficient parking spaces in the area, the study said plans in the works for Sound Transit's Link Light Rail and the First Hill Streetcar will "substantially increase transit capacity in the next 10 years."

It also stated parking spaces available within a 15-minute walk of the proposed site of the arena will be enough to accommodate more than 60,000 people who attend same-day events if 3,500 spaces are added as planned. Fifteen hundred of those spaces would be developed with the new arena, and the remaining 2,000 will come from other deSEATTLE -- The city's SoDo neighborhood can handle any traffic issues that may arise from building another sports arena in the area, a traffic study has found.

Concerns from the Port of Seattle and the Seattle Mariners about potential traffic and transportation impacts of a third arena prompted the study, which was authored by local company Parametrix with the help of the city's Department of Transportation.

The $70,000 study, paid for by private investor Chris Hansen, concluded a third arena will have little impact on the port's shipping schedule

"We don't see a fatal flaw here," said Bob Chandler of SDOT.

The findings state the two entities will have little traffic overlap as most of the arena's activities will occur in the evening hours while the port conducts its business during the day. The study added event-related traffic is likely to utilize First Avenue and streets to the east while the majority of port-related traffic stays west of First.

In addressing concerns about insufficient parking spaces in the area, the study said plans in the works for Sound Transit's Link Light Rail and the First Hill Streetcar will "substantially increase transit capacity in the next 10 years."

It also stated parking spaces available within a 15-minute walk of the proposed site of the arena will be enough to accommodate more than 60,000 people who attend same-day events if 3,500 spaces are added as planned. Fifteen hundred of those spaces would be developed with the new arena, and the remaining 2,000 will come from other developments.

The proposed arena will seat 18,000 people. A review of the 2002 Mariners season found more than 40,000 people attended weekday Mariners games, whereas a weekday Seahawks game drew approximately 67,000 people.

The study's findings are major step toward building a $500 million arena that could bring the NBA back to Seattle.

Last week the city, King County and Hansen announced a memorandum of understanding laying out the financial responsibilities for the proposed venue.

The plan calls for nearly $300 million in private investment from Hansen's group. The amount of public support would be capped at $120 million if it's only the NBA making a return to the Puget Sound region. It would be $200 million if NBA and NHL franchises are involved.

The agreement now goes before the Seattle City Council and King County Council for review. Both entities would need to approve the agreement for the project to move forward. No construction would begin until after a franchise has been acquired.

Despite the traffic study findings made public on Wednesday, the head of the Manufacturing and Industrial Council remains unconvinced, however.

"We think it's way too early in the process to draw those type of conclusions as this type of study doesn't come close to analyzing the types of issues that need to be considered," said Dave Gering.

The authors of the study are quick to point out the survey was a mere first step, and more detailed research will have to be conducted if plans for the proposed arena move forward.

velopments.

The proposed arena will seat 18,000 people. A review of the 2002 Mariners season found more than 40,000 people attended weekday Mariners games, whereas a weekday Seahawks game drew approximately 67,000 people.

The study's findings are major step toward building a $500 million arena that could bring the NBA back to Seattle.

Last week the city, King County and Hansen announced a memorandum of understanding laying out the financial responsibilities for the proposed venue.

The plan calls for nearly $300 million in private investment from Hansen's group. The amount of public support would be capped at $120 million if it's only the NBA making a return to the Puget Sound region. It would be $200 million if NBA and NHL franchises are involved.

The agreement now goes before the Seattle City Council and King County Council for review. Both entities would need to approve the agreement for the project to move forward. No construction would begin until after a franchise has been acquired.

Despite the traffic study findings made public on Wednesday, the head of the Manufacturing and Industrial Council remains unconvinced, however.

"We think it's way too early in the process to draw those type of conclusions as this type of study doesn't come close to analyzing the types of issues that need to be considered," said Dave Gering.

The authors of the study are quick to point out the survey was a mere first step, and more detailed research will have to be conducted if plans for the proposed arena move forward.