It figures that on a weekend I chose to do a mini ballpark trip, news breaks. More about the trip later.
The Merc’s John Woolfork reports that $500,000 in design work has been approved by the City of San Jose for the Autumn Parkway project. It’s a small procedural step in getting the important roadway finished. For the Shasta/Hanchett and St. Leo’s neighborhoods trying to reach the Target on the other side of the tracks, making their way there currently involves a 1.6 mile drive along the Alameda and Taylor/Coleman or a 2 mile drove along Santa Clara and Market/Coleman. All that for a store that’s only 0.6 miles away using the crow flies method. With Autumn Parkway completed, the trip will only be 1 mile long, while providing an important alternate route for visitors to HP Pavilion and a future Cisco Field.
Apparently that’s not enough for Stand for San Jose and its surely well-paid San Francisco-based consultant/spokesman, Dan Newman. (BTW, does Stand for San Jose have any actual San Jose people running the place who know what’s going on?)
For his part, SJ transportation director walks the political as best he can.
Larsen said the roadwork isn’t required mitigation for the proposed ballpark. But because environmental studies on the project assume the improvements will be done, getting them under way bolsters the city’s case against critics who might seek to stall the project with litigation.
“It’s a little nuanced,” Larsen said. “It’s not technically a mitigation, but an assumed condition, so from that perspective, it’s cleanest to have it done that way.”
Odd. All this time I was under the impression that Autumn Parkway was a necessary mitigation. I suppose that if there’s little-to-no new parking being built along with the ballpark, a direct artery leading to it may not be critical. Let’s be frank about it though, it’s very important. Not just from the standpoint of providing that new artery for both residents and sports fans, but also from the political standpoint that the residents need to be thrown a bone. Autumn Parkway is a basic part of the covenant, whatever for the final mitigation plan takes.
While the Giants’ astroturf group keeps grinding, Larry Baer continues to wear a white hat when asked about territorial rights. From the AP:
“We continue to be respectful of the process, and there is a process,” Baer said from his team’s Scottsdale Stadium spring training site. “The game is bigger than any internal machinations. I think it’s not good for the game to have whatever internal back and forth between teams. That’s not good for the game. We want to be respectful and see the game flourish in our market, in all the markets.”
Who needs internal back-and-forth when you can have an external political group do your dirty work?
Going back to the Autumn Parkway project, the $22 million cost does not have any specific funding attached to it as of yet. The city’s redevelopment agency is dead, which means the project falls back to City. They’re looking for some federal funding, but I don’t believe a grant will cover more than a quarter or third of the project’s cost. Whether the City finds the money in its couch cushions or by asking Uncle Lew, it remains an important step even if it isn’t officially linked to the ballpark. My worry is that due to the money crunch, Autumn Parkway will be delayed for a year or several beyond the opening of Cisco Field, which will make a lot of locals and fans upset.
We’re six weeks away from the true home opener, yet one new rule is being laid down at the Coliseum and a lot of people aren’t going to like it. According to the Trib’s Angela Woodall, a new restriction on signs will be in place, in which no sign larger than 3′ x 6′ can be used at the stadium. That’s a big deal, since virtually all of the anti-Lew Wolff signs have been very large in order to be captured on TV. The A’s are instituting the rule because the signs have a “negative aesthetic impact”. Frankly, I’m not sure why the team bothers unless certain fans or sponsors are complaining about the signs. Bringing up signs again only brings attention to the signmakers, while their near-constant presence in past years has practically rendered the signs as background scenery.
The new rule presumably means that the “Keep the A’s in Oakland” and “Lew Lied He Didn’t Try” signs will have to change to be used. I suppose they could use bodypaint or a series of small signs. Oh well.
Finally, Woodall also noted in a tweet that the Coliseum City EIR is expected to go before Oakland CEDA in committee next week. Sometime after that, it would be expected to go before the full City Council for expenditure approval. If it goes to the Council (which it should), I’ll be sure to attend that session. I wonder if it’ll be as raucous as the one for Victory Court?