Another great moment in mass transit?

Now that A’s owner Lew Wolff has, at least for now, shelved the idea of building his new ballpark village and just wants a park, he’s getting flexible about the location:

Here’s a possible game changer – the Oakland A’s will sit down this week with BART officials to discuss moving the team’s proposed Fremont ballpark to within walking distance of the planned Warm Springs BART station . . .

. . . Shifting the 32,000-seat ballpark from its present planned location west of Interstate 880 to a 40-acre parcel across the street from the soon-to-be-built Warm Springs BART station, just north of the NUMMI automotive plant, would eliminate one big criticism leveled at the current site – that it’s miles away from a mass transit line.

Despite what you may read in some crazy outlaw Internet comment threads, public transportation is a very, very good thing. But here’s the question, and I can’t answer it without the help of my Bay Area friends: is the Warm Springs BART station going to be, you know, near anything, or is it just a place being built based on anticipated development? Maybe this isn’t a problem — it’s been said that there is no there there in the A’s current home — but I’m curious as to whether there will be anything to look at from the hypothetical upper deck of this hypothetical stadium.

And you know, unless this location is just an absolute non-starter for some reason, why wasn’t Wolff looking at it all along? Isn’t it easier to get funding for a real estate project if it’s next to a freakin’ train station?

(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)

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Comments

  1. Andrew Flynn said...

    I think the reason Wolff was focused on the original location was the deal with Cisco Systems for the new “Cisco Field”.  Back in the 90’s, Cisco bought all kinds of land around the Bay area for expansion, and this deal involved Cisco dumping 43 acres of still-remote real estate for almost free for the construction of the stadium.  The problem with the location is that there’s no freeways or mass-transit nearby.

  2. lar said...

    Personally, one of my favorite things about the Coliseum is the fact that it is physically connected to a BART station. it makes getting to and from there so much easier than PacBell. I mean, all things being equal, I would much, much rather watch a game in San Francisco, but the ease of access to the Coliseum always made it more attractive (esp. driving in from the Central Valley and parking the car at the end of the BART line in Livermore or wherever).

    Of course, it’s been a few years since I lived in California, so it doesn’t much affect me these days.

  3. Mark Schick said...

    The area near the proposed Warm Springs BART station is mostly residential. I believe the east bay hills continue down to Fremont, so depending on how the ballpark is oriented there may be a view similar to the pre-Mount Davis Coliseum.

  4. APBA Guy said...

    Wolfe has to have some options since the original idea had stalled out. The problem will still be for Peninsula residents that BART to Fremont is a non-starter, so it’s a drive, but for the larger East Bay population this is a much better location..

    Also, this sacrifices nothing as to the park itself, the original design will still fit, and who knows, maybe they can use the NUMMI parking lot for night games.

    The bigger question is will anyone want to see the A’s? Another couple of years like the last one and it won’t matter where the stadium is located. The traffic impact will be minimal. Unlike the Giants, the A’s have to win to draw. That’s the real difference between a stadium in SF vs one in Fremont.

  5. Keith said...

    I have lived just north of Berkeley for 5 years and in SF for 7 before that, and I had to look up where Warm Springs was. That should tell you something. I believe it’s about 4 miles farther away from Oakland than the original proposed site. On the flip side, it’s about that much closer to San Jose.

    I think most folks around these parts think of Fremont as “South Bay” rather than “East Bay” – and the Giants ownership group has always freaked out anytime San Jose gets mentioned for relocating a team because the Giants view it as their turf. (Though that same complaint didn’t help the Orioles much in fending off the Nats move.) 

    To put the distance/location more into perspective in the context of public transportation, the nearest existing BART station (Fremont station) to the proposed site is 26 minutes farther of a train trip than the current ballpark.

    There is a plan to extend BART to San Jose (http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11045734?nclick_check=1)

    Quote:
    “If the BART extension remains on track, it will run 133 trains to San Jose each day when the line opens in 2018. “

    And here’s more detail on the Warm Springs station (http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/wsx/) which notes that service would commence in June 2014 “funding permitting.”

    If you ask me, it’s way too many ifs, years, and dollars needed all for a plan that would put the “Oakland” team well outside of a convenient location for a majority of it’s fanbase (which isn’t super strong to begin with). Nothing about this makes any sense except for a few people who stand to make a lot of bank. It really has boondoggle written over it.

    I think it’s more likely the A’s end up in a town that would actually support them, with plenty of room, cheaper real estate, less congestion, and less entertainment options. That town is Sacramento.

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