December 2, 2012 Seattle Sonics, Not Sodo Squeeze Last June thousands of fans dug deep into their closet to find old Sonics jerseys, hats, sweatshirts and anything else that was green and gold. As they piled into Pioneer Square to hear Chris Hansen speak about his new arena proposal, each shared their personal memories of the Sonics with excitement and joy in their hearts as shown in Figure 1. Very few can admit that the Sonics coming back to Seattle is not good news. Chris Hansen’s proposal is unbeatable; he aims to build a new stadium with over half of the costs privately funded. There is one significant problem with this business venture Figure 1: Sonic Fans Rejoice the Return of the Sonics
though. The proposed location sits on a small plot of land in the middle of Sodo’s Port of Seattle area. Sodo is the wrong location for this arena because of the devastating losses the Port of Seattle would suffer, the increase in traffic, and the inability to facilitate the movement of pedestrians. On June 14, 2012, Sonic fans gathered in Pioneer Square to support the fight to bring the Sonics back to Seattle. (komonews.com, ‘Bring Back the Seattle Sonic’)
Chris Hansen bought this land back in 2007 without notifying anybody until 2012 what he intended to do with the land. (Dave Gering, MIC, Personal Interview) Since the beginning, Chris has presented this offer as an ultimatum. In other words “It has to be here or nowhere at all”. He did not factor in the affect this may have on the Port of Seattle’s business nor did he make a deeper analysis of the negative consequences. This private business endeavor has turned into an all or nothing mentality with little acknowledgement to its consequences. In fact, this proposal almost passed before the Seattle Council decided that they had little to no information on the negatives of this project. (seattle.gov, Arena Proposal) It was only then that the Port of Seattle, traffic, transportation, environment, and
economic impact research was considered. The Port of Seattle consists of 60 different businesses that would be directly affected by this arena. The arena suffers little to no restraints to business in this location but hinders over 60 businesses without any control of theirs. (Gering, Personal Interview) Should these pre-existing businesses have to take on the burden of a stadium because of Hansen’s refusal to look for other locations?
LACK OF TRANSIT:
The Seattle Arena report claims that there are 48 buses that pass through Sodo after ten p.m. That is around 3800 people that would not contribute to the traffic problem before and after games. However, this statement is false, according to Metro and Sound Transit there are only 34 buses in which seven do not make any stops in Sodo. Only twelve buses stop within half a mile of the stadium location. That is 673 seats at max. (Gering, Personal Interview) What about using the newly extended light rail? Well, the light rail is located over two-thirds of a mile away from the stadium. When considering the use of public transit, it is unacceptable to assume pedestrians should walk these distances after ten at night especially in the winter. Not only will people refuse to do so, but it could be extremely dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists. Sodo offers little accommodations for pedestrians with nearly no sidewalks, poor drainage, excessive mud puddles, truckers, infrequent bus service and inattentive motorists. (seattle.gov, Arena Proposal) The current environment in Sodo is a constant bustle with truckers trying to meet shipment deadlines and countless events already taking place at the other two stadiums. The inadequate bus service, the walking distance of the light rail, and overall dangers of the Sodo area are reason enough to reconsider the location.
The traffic in Sodo already causes truckers inconvenience when they have to plan around the events and account for traffic delays. With the addition...
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