The warriors arena: How are you going to get there?

The aliens have finally landed

The Warriors and the all-star lineup of nearly every political consultant in town launched a new public relations offensive this week with the release of a new, spiffy set of drawings and a rewritten plan for a waterfront arena. And opponents of the project pretty much shrugged and said: So, what?

Sure, it looks nicer than it did before. Sure, there's a pedestrian walkway around the arena. Yeah, there's glass on the inside that will give spectators a nice view of the Bay. Oh, and there's room for a cruise ship terminal, to give the whole thing a veneer of maritime use.

But the problems with this project have never been the architecture of the 12-story structure or the inevitably dubious links to the water. "The design was never the point," Randy Shandobil, a spokesman for the Waterfront Alliance, told us. "Is this the best place to put a big arena?"

The new plan calls for a slightly smaller arena — 125 feet high instead of 135 — with slightly less retail space and seating inside. The glass sides will not only allow fans to look out, but allow people walking around the outside to view in and see something going on inside. The scoreboard will probably be visible; the actually play on the floor less so.

The visuals presented by the architects, Snøhetta and AECOM, indicate that the arena will perch on a large pad raised significantly above the level of the current Piers 30-32. From the ground level, the arena looks like a giant flying saucer, taller than AT&T Park, that's plopped down below the Bay Bridge.

Craig Dykers, a representative of the architects, told a Board of Supervisors committee May 6 that the arena will fill a need for some sort of project along the open stretch of waterfront from the Ferry Building to AT&T Park. His presentation made it sound as if that undeveloped area was by nature a blight; thousands of joggers, walkers, bicyclists and people enjoying the unimpeded views of the Bay might disagree.

In fact, the project will change more than the two piers; it will create a busy residential and commercial shopping district that will increase foot and vehicle traffic even when there are no games or concerts scheduled.

This is, by any standard, a very different project from what the Warriors first proposed back in November, 2012. That's why the Waterfront Alliance is asking that the scoping sessions for the environmental impact report on the project ought to go back to square one.

No matter what you think about the design, or the views, or the impact on the city's priceless waterfront, there's a problem that's glaringly obvious, and Sup. Scott Wiener made the point very clearly:

This absolutely has to be a transit-first arena. There's no way that part of the city can handle even half of the 5,000 cars that have been counted at the Warrior's current home, Oracle Arena in Oakland. And much of that impact is going to fall on the subway, or light-rail vehicle system.

"It absolutely has to have good LRV service," Wiener said.

The problem: "Our current system is not even meeting our current needs. I have a lot of constituents who say, when there's a Giants game you just don't take the subway because there's not going to be any capacity. We're close to a breaking point now, even past it. and our ten-year capital plan puts to the side most of Muni's unmet capital needs."

Jennifer Matz, the Mayor's Office point person on waterfront development, said she agreed with Wiener. "I recognize this challenge," she said. "There needs to be more of a holistic approach."

But Wiener wasn't backing down. Adding the capacity that will be needed to serve the new arena, and the new Giants development, and the new residents moving into the waterfront neighborhood, is not going to be cheap. "Where," he asked, "is the money going to come from?"

Peter Albert, who works for the Municipal Transportation Agency, is looking into the number of passengers that will be riding Muni — and BART, and Caltrain — and the capacity those systems plan to add. But he had no answer to Wiener's question.

That's because there is only one answer: The taxpayers will have to come up with something in the range of a billion dollars to solve Muni's capacity problems in the next few years — or else the developers will. And right now, there's not a lot of political will at City Hall to ask for either.


Doesn't Muni already stop right there at the Embarcadero/Folsom station and the Embarcadero/Brannan station? The same light rail line serves AT&T as would serve this arena. AT&T has much more capacity than this proposed arena, the Giants always sell out, and we make due during baseball games. What am I missing?

Posted by The Commish on May. 06, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

the myriad facets even on this particular topic, but for starters, you do seem to be missing: the huge number of baseball fans who arrive on Caltrain station an easy walk from AT&T Park.

You seem to be missing the several games each year that the Warriors and the Giants will end up playing home games at the exact same time.

You seem to be missing the fact that there will be no analogous car parking areas for the Warriors as the Giants have... many of which are now being built upon in any case.

You seem to be missing the explicit mention in the above story that demands on Muni during Giants games *already* screws up the transit system for a large percentage of riders in other parts of town.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 06, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

We are transit first city with one of the best public transit systems in the country.

And yes, when there are Giants games, or Pride, or Bay to Breakers, or just about any big public event Muni is congested. Congestion, as we all know, is the sign of both a lively urban area and a successful public transit system. Lack of congestion means either no one is using public transit or nothing is going on. I hear Red Cloud, Nebraska has very little congestion on its public transit system.

Also, the arena plans have even been adjusted to reduce the already limited amount of parking to be consistent with the city's transit first policy. Also, the proposed arena site is well served by Muni and about as far removed from residential areas as is possible in a densely built up city.

Why you would almost think you were suggesting that the site should be located somewhere that is more convenient to drive to?

Posted by Chris on May. 06, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

Disproving Lilli's "points" is a silly thing to do (and perhaps somewhat cruel), I know...but I have a few seconds before the Warrior's game heats up.

>"the huge number of baseball fans who arrive on Caltrain station an easy walk from AT&T Park."

Another great reason to to build the arena at 30-32. As Lilli so helpfully points out, the LRVs that drop fans off at the arena don't have to come back empty from the Caltrain station. Same train, same personnel, more revenue. There is also a strong possibility that many will just walk the .8 mile, just like many already walk 1.2 miles to AT&T. Good for the environment, good for their health, good for the city.

>"You seem to be missing the several games each year that the Warriors and the Giants will end up playing home games at the exact same time."

The Giants play about 55 night games a year. Perhaps 30 will overlap with arena events; very few will overlap with Warrior's games. Sorry, Justin Bieber, the Giants are starting at 7:30, your concert doesn't start until 8:30. Saying that we can't figure out a way to handle the rush is an extremely weak argument against the arena site.

>"You seem to be missing the fact that there will be no analogous car parking areas for the Warriors as the Giants have... many of which are now being built upon in any case."

Asked and answered...those parking spots are so non-essential that the Giants are getting rid of them. Downtown arenas just don't have large parking lots. Fenway Park has zero.

>"Muni during Giants games *already* screws up the transit system for a large percentage of riders in other parts of town."

Um....*no*, it doesn't.

And an arena built anywhere will, by definition, draw people to it. So, will put something of a burden on Muni. Every other major city has an arena, but we can't handle one some how? We're not as good as San Jose?

Posted by Troll on May. 06, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

arena in Oakland - it will be located in downtown San Francisco. That's kind of the point Tim.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 06, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

Fans get to sports arena according to the nature of the Arena. If the Knicks moved out to Long Island their fans would not take the subway, they'd drive. Many more people drove to Candlestick than at AT&T.

Giant fans never took ferries to games at Candlestick but they do to AT&T. Which means that people come from the East and North Bay without creating any traffic at all.

Wow. This Arena idea rocks!

Posted by Troll on May. 06, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

The proposed arena is closer to the Embarcadero Station than the Oracle Arena is to the Coliseum station.

The light rail system has proven that it can handle sellouts at the 45,000 seat baseball stadium; it is a bit tough to swallow the logic that it couldn't handle an arena half the size. There will be overlapping nights where they might want to stagger the start times, but the Giants only play about 55 night games a year.

The very common sight of people walking all the way from the stadium to the Ferry Building is pretty cool. Nobody looks too unhappy and, last I heard, exercise is a good thing.

>"His presentation made it sound as if that undeveloped area was by nature a blight; thousands of joggers, walkers, bicyclists and people enjoying the unimpeded views of the Bay might disagree."

...or you might ask those same people if they would like the option of circling the arena OR just taking the current route. On second thought, don't ask them. Not good for the SFBG story.

This Arena will be great for the city.

Posted by Troll on May. 06, 2013 @ 5:43 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 06, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

What is wrong with the arena in Oakland? Why do San Francisco residents have to pay for this stadium when there's a perfectly good one in Oakland? Why should the taxpayers have to pay anything for Muni metro's capacity problem for a very wealthy corporate sports team's advantage? Why does the public always have to pay the bill and not these parasite corporations? Why do people who have zero interest in sports have to pay for any of this nonsense?

How long before the new waterfront arena will be decided to be "outdated" and need replacement (way before it's even paid for)? Then we have oceans rising quickly which means flooding but that doesn't seem to dawn on anyone connected with this project. Is there a brain working on this project anywhere?

Also, our subway system is called the Muni metro. This "LRV" stuff is irrelevant. The type of rail used (light rail vehicle) has nothing to do with anything. You don't talk about BART's HRV (heavy rail vehicles). It's called BART. It's called Muni metro. So Wiener should have said:

"It absolutely has to have good metro service."

And if you say this project is to make money: For whom? The wealthy. Certainly not for the people who will be paying for it. I also see that that obnoxious new gay sports bar in the Castro is gushing for this new stadium that the public gets to pay for.

Posted by Guest on May. 06, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

What? There is a gay sports bar in the Castro? And, you, say it is "obnoxious" no less? Say, did it cut you off as you were trying to cross lanes on your bike? Or did it pinch your behind as you walked down the street? Why I would have turned around and given that bar a good smack across the face and said, "Now listen Mister, I am not that kind of gal!"

My goodness, we certainly wouldn't want to take any advice from a bar with bad manners!

And I agree, anyone who builds anything should have to pay extra for the public services their building will get, and those extra payments should be called something like "taxes" or "developer fees" or "in lieu of payments" or "public amenities"....oh...

Posted by Chris on May. 06, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

1) Walk from CalTrain
2) Walk from Embarcadero BART
3) Streetcars
4) Buses
5) Ferries

Same way people get to the ballpark which isn't so far away.

And fixture scheduels are typically drawn up to minimize clashes.

Non issue.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 6:09 am


"The light rail system?"

Why do so many people not know what to call our subway system? Maybe it's because they don't ride the metro or they don't live here. It's been in existence since the 1980s and they still call it the "light rail system" as that lobotomized Troll has done. This "Guest" I'm responding to refers to "streetcars." For example, the F line is a streetcar. That's not part of the metro system. The metro system is not a streetcar even though when it surfaces it's on part of the street. Get it? Doh.

Educate yourself, if that's possible:

The Muni metro system (map):

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

city to city and person to person. But nobody I know in SF refers to LRV - they say: "I'm going to catch a streetcar". And since you knew what I meant, so do you.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

Transit First is a joke. It serves the so called progressives very well to have this in place. It allows them to make sure that there is an end to thier means. The proposed waterfront arena will be hailed worldwide, if built, as visionary. If rejected it will be talked of worldwide as provincial. Remember this, the dollars from the Warriors arena will not go away, they will support the golden parachutes of city workers for decades to come. Put that in your spreadsheet and smoke it.

Posted by GuestNeil Kingston on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:43 am

are just about the only form of transport that is 100% private.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 11:39 am

Guess you've never done Critical Mass, or the butter run, or the Nite Owl ride, or the Firecracker Run or MidCity in LA.

Highly social events, I'm telling you.

Posted by pete moss on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

I'm simply defining the word "transit" for you.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

You're defining skills leave allot to be desired.

Posted by pete moss on May. 08, 2013 @ 4:47 am

It stands for "Banning the Private Automobile."

Posted by Hortencia on May. 15, 2013 @ 7:42 am

It includes bikes, which are 100% private transportation.

While it typically excludes planes and boats, which are very much public transit.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2013 @ 8:29 am

You love to hate those who value world opinion except when it suits you.

As for the dollars for "golden parachutes," the only workers who get them seem to be top brass of the various city departments who are allowed to keep them after they screw up big time and leave in disgrace. And since big money behind such projects doesn't have much altruistic impulse behind it, the projects themselves invariably end up *costing* the city money.

"Spreadsheet" blah blah blah.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 07, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

Hyperbole, 5 yards loss of down.

I doubt if anyone in Mombasa or Pnom Penh gives a hoot about the Warriors arena.

Honestly, after the way they played last nite, neither do I.

Posted by pete moss on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

That arena is surrounded by good public transit options, what is the big building down the street with the Ferry Plaza Market. That thing that runs underground, both bay and the city, those giant things that run on rails, starts with the letter M.

Most major cities have a sporting/concert arena within their cities, or some sort of large event center.

Posted by Garrett on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:56 am

to bypass the waterfront attractions. No stopping from Embarcadero to Mission Bay.
Use the Muni shuttles for ATT and the Arena - maybe the new switching system will help this. This gets the resident commuters out and frees room for the immediate neighbors and event attendees on the shuttles.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

built purely for racial pandering.

What we really need are some spurs from the main BART line underMarket.
Muni cannot be trusted to do anything right and should be broken up and privatized.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

Of course it is calculated to cause anguish, but knowing that it can be seen as funny. No the T line was not to pander to racial whatever. The T line was the typical government boondoggle where public expenditures are made to provide *less* services than before while promiting gentrification in any number of other ways.

Oh. And Bold Lying/Bold Effrontery Guest/anon? Fuck you very much.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

it was quite obvious that the service would be slow and unpopular - it serves no economic needs. The Central Subway makes far more sense but progressives hate it because they hate Asians and CS will be a boon to ChinaTown.

Anyway, there are masses of transit options to these sports venues and this is a big bother about nothing.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

bloviating and pontificating your usual hostile crap, I see

Posted by GuestD on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

Who are you to say Dogpatch and the Bayview and Vis Valley are 'nowhere'?

Posted by pete moss on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

This is a stunningly beautiful project at exactly the right location! It's important not to listen to the nay-sayers and NIMBYs. Without development, it's a dead certainty that Piers 30-32 will crumble into the Bay and be usable by no one, much less create any benefit to the City. Isn't vehicle access already being restricted to these piers because of their lack of structural integrity? Soon it'll be people, too.

On the other hand, I'm told the gorgeous new Brooklyn Nets arena was built with a total of 60 parking spaces - not much. I'd challenge the Warriors to build their design without ANY parking. Live up to the promise of the design.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

The Oracle Arena has 19,596 seats for basketball.

This waterfront scheme is proposed to include a 17,500-seat arena (Bay Guardian, 04.16.13). So doesn't that mean they will have 2,000 fewer seats for basketball on the SF waterfront than they now do in Oakland? And they like the idea of 2,000 fewer tickets sold? (Why don't they stay where they are: in Oakland?)

Also, construction costs for the Oracle Arena:

Construction cost $25 million (original)
($177 million in 2013 dollars[1])[2]
$121 million (1996-1997 renovation)

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Candlestick Park has 58,000 seats for baseball.

AT&T park has about 45,000. So by the same logic the Giants should have stayed in Candlestick. And then that ugly ballpark wouldn't be ruining the view of the Lefty O'Doul Bridge, and the neighborhood would be much, much quieter.

In fact...the Polo Grounds held 56,000 seats. What was wrong with New York?

Who needs the Giants? Have they ever made any children happy or excited?


Posted by Troll on May. 07, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

"Who needs the Giants?"

Yeah who does? They're just a corporate $port$ team with outrageous salaries. Grown men slowly playing with balls and spitting. There's nothing even aerobic about it.

"Have they ever made any children happy or excited?"

I suppose. But most children are happy and excited by watching television which is where they could see the Giants playing... in any stadium.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

No, I'm sure it doesn't matter. What do you play? Croquet? Polo? Lacrosse? Badminton?

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

Who needs the Warriors either. They're a 3rd rate team, basically just filler in the schedules of the NBA elite.

The Warriors don't deserve a world class arena on the waterfront in the City. They belong right where they are, in a crumbling dump down on the Oakland flat.

Maybe, with divine intervention, they get by the Spurs this year, we might let them play a few games at the Cow Palace, next year.

Posted by pete moss on May. 08, 2013 @ 4:56 am

Who needs the Warriors? The same thing used to be said about the Giants 20 years ago. Thank God people didn't think the way pete moss did back then or we would have lost the Giants. Now we have a world class baseball team in a world class ballpark. We can do the same thing with the Warriors if we can just get past the small minded people and NIMBYs.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 10:55 am

Every city wants more pro-sports teams. Some cities have two for some sports.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:12 am

Who needs the Warriors? That was the same thing that was said about the Giants 20 years ago. Thank God people didn’t think like pete moss back then or the Giants would have gone to Florida. Instead we have a championship team playing in a world class ballpark bringing a lot economic benefits and revitalization to San Francisco. A new Warriors arena can do the same if we can just overcome the naysayers and NIMBYs who probably would have objected to rebuilding San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake on the grounds that it would cause “traffic.”

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 11:02 am

So, bandwagoneers, been watching the Spurs series? The Warriors are losers.

I know, let's knock a level off the 'stick and put a roof up, throw down boards and paint and the Warriors can play there!

Posted by pete moss on May. 11, 2013 @ 11:28 am

All of the cities studies commissions.

At least baseball is mostly private sector.

Posted by Matlock on May. 11, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

Except for the part where these teams always want some public money to get their venues built.

But IF guess you did say 'mostly' private sector.

Posted by pete moss on May. 11, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

There is no way you want to dump thousands of people from a cruise ship onto the deck of a sports arena. Talk about a nightmare. The Embarcadero sidewalk on the north side can barely can handle all the crowds now. At least they get a long stroll to wherever they are going cause there is nothing nearby.

What is the attraction for folks on the cruise? The base of the Bay Bridge? Expensive restaurants when they have paid dinners on board the ship? There will be no view of the Bay once they get off the ship? Is anyone thinking of preserving some the views of the bay? Are there any street level views worth preserving in the future San Francisco envisioned by our city planners?

Take that one back to the drawing board.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

during basketball season?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 07, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

Basketball is played in the winter.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2013 @ 5:22 am

Granted it's the playoffs, but basketball is being played right now.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 15, 2013 @ 7:44 am

Anyway, I think it's a non-issue either way. Just build the damn thing and people will love it.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2013 @ 8:30 am

Which people? How many of these people do you know?

Posted by pete moss on May. 15, 2013 @ 9:19 am

Are you suggesting that they would stop going is we built an arena on the Bay?

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2013 @ 9:49 am

I was going to walk there, from my cushy apartment at 8 Washington! Ha ha ha.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

Some of you sound like small town folk, the people, the traffic, can't build. Napa just had bottle rock, it worked and was great. I also to remind you that the arena will not just be for basketball but for concerts. People love coming to San Francisco for concerts.

There is other sporting event also, not to mention other events.

Tell you the truth I would been more happier of the Warriors took off for Santa Clara and build arena next to Levi's Studium.

Posted by Garrett on May. 15, 2013 @ 10:42 am