Since the very beginning of the Seattle Arena plan, the most vocal opponents have been the Port of Seattle and Seattle Mariners. In the 3 years I have been following the story, they have never produced one piece of data or evidence that the Stadium district cannot sustain a pro sports arena.
Port of Seattle
The port claims that the street vacation will negatively affect the flow of traffic for shipments in and out of terminal 46. In the 3 years of their opposition, we have never seen any data to support their claims of rhetoric and objections.
Here are some ideas we should be asking the port:
- What does the seasonality look like of your container traffic at terminal allegedly impacted by the street vacation?
- What does daily traffic flow look like by hour?
- How long does it take to get a container off a boat? how long does it take to get loaded on a truck? How does this compare to the potential traffic caused by vacating Occidental Ave?
- How long does it take a loaded truck to get in and out of the port, once inside? How far is the typical distance a truck takes the container once outside the port? How long does that take?
- How does the port function during the 81 Mariner games a year?
The Mariners opposition is disheartening to say the least. Obviously the NBA and NHL play opposite of baseball season and the overlap can be mitigated like it is done in Philadelphia where all 4 teams play in one location. Additionally, the Mariners average 50% higher than projected arena attendance than the Sodo Arena so it is illogical to think that a Mariner game of 30,000 can work in Sodo but a basketball or hockey game of 17,000 would impact the Port. The reality is the Mariners are scared. They’ve had continued sliding attendance and realize that another sports team in town could and should be considered a competitive threat to their marginal product.
In the meantime, the SonicsArena group has gone in front of countless city council and committee meetings, gone through a 2 year Environmental Impact Study with public transparency through the entire process. The results of the study have concluded that the Sodo Arena will have no material impact on the Port that is supported by data.