Buried among the Port of Seattle's media campaign to frighten the citizens with hyperbole is an interesting question: [paraphrasing] Do we want to turn Seattle into a giant truck stop?
(Seattle Times shills for the Port, here)
The Port's Century Agenda calls for major expansion of the Port's capacity over the next 25 years, increasing by a third the number of containers that pass through. Since there's no room for the Port to expand geographically, that means more trucks, more rail cars, more operating hours on nights and weekends.
There ya go, the port wants to expand into the Mariners game nights no matter what happens with the arena.
The politicians have seen this before. Will they continue "eye rolling" or do they get rolled by the port?
They forecast a doomsday scenario for Sodo if the 18,000-seat arena is built: It snowballs into hotels, restaurants and shopping. Traffic congestion slows freight, so shipping companies start using other ports, erasing thousands of middle-class jobs and a $3 billion industry.
"Placing the arena in the proposed site is more than symbolic," said Port Commissioner Bill Bryant. "It is part of a bigger decision about what sort of city we want to have and whether we are going to embrace family-wage and industrial jobs in South Seattle."
That reaction has drawn a few eye rolls at City Hall, where the City Council is considering whether to support what Mayor Mike McGinn has called a self-funding sports and entertainment venue.
"I think there's a certain amount of weariness in having the issue brought up again and again so that there's not the kind of fresh, 'aha' moment, but rather, 'Oh, we've heard these complaints before,' " said City Councilmember Nick Licata.
So, where and when have these hyperbolic doomsday scenarios been predicted, and do we have data that should be made public?
On Tuesday the complaining will continue by the Port.
Tarleton acknowledged Port officials have made similar arguments before. They fought McGinn on his effort to stop the Highway 99 tunnel from being built, and opposed a "road diet" he put in place on Nickerson Street.
On Tuesday, the full commission will discuss another letter its members will all sign that they hope will explain their concerns in terms of jobs and their vision for the city.
"What's Sodo all about?" Tarleton asked. "It's really the soul of a working-class city."
So, on Tuesday, will there be a reasonable public response to this by proponents?
I would think that if we are expecting people to be public in their opposition that a proponent's complicit silence would not be acceptable, either.
Right now it looks like a vocal minority is influencing a silent majority with little or no resistance (it looks that way because that's what is currently happening).
Meanwhile, I have a solution to the SODO traffic issue. It involves a little give and take.
Safeco Field maximum capacity for baseball (standing room only) is 47,878 people (wikipedia).
Seattle Mariners 2012 home attendance average is 20,286 (ESPN Mariners home attendance averages, as of, 5/19/2012.)
The arena capacity will be 18,000.
The solution seems obvious, take the unused attendance and traffic capacity reserved for Safeco Field and transfer it to a facility that would actually utilize it, the arena. Pull 18,000 seats out of Safeco Field, they ain't gonna use them anytime soon.
You are welcome.