When Sally Bagshaw showed up to vote no on vacating Occidental Avenue this week, she made a lengthy statement explaining why. One of the reasons? Key Arena. Of course, it's Key Arena because ... Sally Bagshaw.
I know Council President Harrell thinks I have a tattoo that says "Seattle Center". I'm not admitting to that. But before we agree to vacate Occidental, let's consider what's best for our city and taxpayers. Let's dig deeply into cost/benefit analysis raised in the AECOM study and seriously consider what could be done at Key Arena.
But Bagshaw doesn't really need to "dig deeply" to find one of the fatal flaws in the AECOM idea. She needs only to check her 'sent items' folder from last September 10. In it, she would find an email she wrote to George Allen (George Allen Consulting), ILWU attorney Pete Goldman, Mariner's executive Bart Waldman, and Port of Seattle CEO Ted Fick.
In that letter, which Sonics Rising obtained through a public disclosure request, Bagshaw salivates over a potential major renovation to Key Arena. But she also clearly states "the key" to a successful renovation, and it's all about the traffic.
The key to the success of this model is reducing traffic congestion by having light rail connect to Seattle Center as part of ST3 and perhaps increasing use of the monorail until then from Downtown hotels and convention center.
Bagshaw reiterated "the key to success" a couple weeks later in comments to KING5's Chris Daniels.
However, Bagshaw said a Key Arena renovation should only be considered if Sound Transit 3 is approved by voters next year, which could provide light rail, years down the road, to the Seattle Center area.
"ST3 only," she said. "If it goes there, it makes sense. There is so much traffic in that area (already)."
There you have it. She already told you twice. A Key Arena remodel only makes sense if Sound Transit brings light rail service to the area. If that doesn't happen, there is too "much traffic in that area already." ST3 is "the key" to remodeling The Key.
When Bagshaw took her seat at the committee meeting on Tuesday and made that speech, is it possible she didn't know that the current ST3 plan wouldn't service Key Arena until 2038? Did she not read the memo from Sound Transit? Did she not read Mike Baker's article on the subject? I don't buy it. I could see the former, but not the latter. There's no way she doesn't have a Mike Baker Google alert, just like the rest of us.
I might have given her the benefit of the doubt, if Mr. Baker hadn't told me of her presence at an April 11 council meeting (a mere week before the Occidental meeting) that concluded with a presentation from Sound Transit on the draft plan. She was shown the 2038 date at about the 2:05 mark in the video below. In the minutes that followed, she was given a detailed briefing about why it would take so long to bring service to Seattle Center. HINT: It involves a tunnel and ... wait for it ... the Seattle Process.
When the councilwoman sat down at that table, she knew full well that transportation in Lower Queen Anne is far worse than the Sodo traffic she bemoaned at the meeting. She knew that it's likely to be the case for a very long time. She knew that "the key" to The Key was nowhere in sight, and she knew the reasons why.
She knew, but she had talking points to read.