October 24, 2014

Warriors’ proposal–speeding ahead too fast?


350x146_project-map2The Warriors’ proposed arena and mixed-use development, on the San Francisco waterfront at Piers 30 – 32, raises many concerns.

Under California’s Public Trust Doctrine, waterfront development is restricted to water-related and acceptable maritime uses. The Warriors’ proposal, however, though not yet clearly defined for the public, consists of a bulky building with a parking structure and retail on the piers, along with high-rise construction on the adjacent Seawall Lot 330, which would be higher than currently permitted building heights.

This proposal purports to be a sports arena, yet Warriors games are only 25% of the projected events. If the goal is a professional basketball venue, why are more-appropriate, transit-rich sites not being discussed.

The proposed parking would cause severe traffic impacts on the Embarcadero roadway. Cars entering and leaving the parking garage would interfere with pedestrians, runners, and cyclists. When events at the arena coincide with Giants games, the traffic could effectively shut down the whole southeastern quadrant of the city. Which is the higher authority, National Basketball Association parking “requirements” or the city’s 40-year-old Transit First policy?

Substantial upgrades to the transit infrastructure are being examined, but at what capital and operating costs to existing routes?

Sea-level rise must be considered in any waterfront development. Simple common sense would move an arena away from the water, yet here it is planned at the edge of the Bay.

We are concerned that the city and the Port may incur substantial financial liabilities in this rush for approval. (Think America’s Cup.) We look forward to the budget analyst’s report for clarity.

The potential economic opportunities, including local jobs, could be realized at an alternative location.

The Warriors say that they will release design refinements by April 30, and the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report is months away.

A Citizens’ Advisory Committee, appointed by the Port, and subcommittees are meeting regularly without a lot of public attention.

San Francisco is also moving on the legislative front. Assemblymember Phil Ting will be introducing the Piers 30 – 32 Revitalization Act. We will study this bill with great interest.

Becky Evans, chair, Sierra Club San Francisco Group

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