If a proposed Howard Terminal ballpark moves forward, the Oakland A’s and city officials will have to implement creative measures to address access issues.
The A’s are proposing a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s waterfront Howard Terminal that would replace RingCentral Coliseum as the team’s home. Aside from resolving long-standing facility issues for the A’s, the new privately financed ballpark would serve as an anchor of a larger redevelopment at Howard Terminal that would include housing, retail, and more.
While the idea of a new ballpark and surrounding development along the waterfront is intriguing for the A’s and city officials, Howard Terminal poses some access challenges. The site is bordered by railroad tracks on one side, the closest BART stations are a mile away, and the present plans would leave limited on-site parking. Additionally, any ballpark and surrounding development would come with the implications of having to get people to and from the site on a year-round basis.
Addressing these challenges could take some creative solutions. An aerial gondola is one idea that has been heavily publicized thus far, but other measures might have to be implemented, including protective bike lanes, shuttles, and rapid bus lanes. Ultimately, the A’s and officials from the Oakland’s Department of Transportation (OakDot) may use some of these measures to encourage fans and other visitors to Howard Terminal to seek alternate means of transportation instead of driving. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:
“We definitely want to steer people toward the behavior we want to see,” said Nicole Ferrara, the department’s policy and intergovernmental affairs adviser.
Plans to shuttle thousands of fans to the new stadium on game days include rapid bus lanes that would cut travel times from BART by 25%, along with protected bicycle paths and new crossings to separate pedestrians, bikes and scooters from car traffic. At the same time, OakDot staff are looking at ways to fence off the railroad tracks along Jack London Square, which has already roused concerns because people and motorists sometimes wander onto the tracks and get struck by trains.
Research has shown, time and again, that demand for parking usually correlates with supply, Ferrara said. Cheap, abundant parking will encourage more people to drive, while scarce, expensive parking will nudge them onto public transit and bicycles, or prod them to walk.
To that end, the A’s plan to make their parking lot significantly smaller than the asphalt moat at the Coliseum — with 3,500 spaces on opening day, eventually reduced to 2,000 spaces at most. The Coliseum has 9,000 parking spaces, which is proportionally about twice as much as the Howard Terminal proposal, given that it also has 47,000 seats, compared with the terminal site’s 35,000.
The A’s have pitched the Howard Terminal ballpark for a 2023 opening, but plenty of steps remain in order to bring the plans to fruition. Along with a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, the A’s are proposing a redevelopment of the Coliseum complex that would include an amphitheater to replace the Coliseum, new construction in the existing parking lots, and the operation of Oracle Arena–the now former home of the Golden State Warriors–for a variety of events.
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