Seattle Mariners and Amtrak representatives informed a Seattle design-review board this week that proposed plans for Chris Hansen’s $490 million basketball/hockey facility in the city’s Sodo District pose a threat to pedestrian access and safety. The Mariners opposed the arena’s Sodo location from the outset, arguing that it could worsen traffic congestion, already snarled, on game days.
The Mariners seek an agreement with Hansen to limit simultaneous events at Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field and the new proposed arena. Without such an agreement, says Mariners attorney Melody McCutcheon, “We have significant concerns whether this is workable.”
The Mariners say that the main entryway in the preferred arena design relies on public access along Occidental Avenue South and South Massachusetts. McCutcheon says those streets currently provide access to the Mariners’ parking garage and for emergency vehicles.
Amtrak’s director of government affairs, Rob Eaton, says he’s concerned about a secondary entrance to the proposed arena on South Holgate Street because the street crosses nine railway lines.
Without getting into further specifics of why the Mariners/Amtrak believe the current design of the new arena poses a threat to “pedestrian access and safety,” the issue here is the crusade Mariners majordomos Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong have conducted about congestion, traffic issues and pedestrians getting run over by trains in Sodo ever since Hansen proposed his new arena.
Is it genuine? Or is it a sham?
Certainly Lincoln and Armstrong walk the walk. Thanks largely to that duo, no business in Sodo has done more to limit traffic in the area than the Mariners, whose miserable play for nearly a decade has served as a constant deterrent to people who might consider venturing out for a game (see How Do You Grade The Mariners’ Offseason So Far?, a Sportspress Northwest post about pro franchises running out of fans).
The Mariners’ latest in a long litany of complaints about Hansen’s arena may, or may not, stem from a genuine concern over the public’s welfare. That’s where you come in. Which statement best represents your thoughts?