Oakland has supported the A's for 38 years, and this rich history cannot be compromised. A's fans have celebrated and suffered with this team, and almost two generations of A's fans have lived with their team playing Oakland. Help Keep the A's in Oakland and fight the move. Feel free to voice your opinion on topics by making comments on posts. Please, add your name or screen name to your comments, because the validity of your comment is hurt by being anonymous. Thanks and Go A's

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Big Problem with the Fremont Site.... Transportation

Wolff wants a site for his Disney ballpark, with its perfect ballpark village, shopping mall, and a grand Wolff Hotel (around the space of 100 acres). Wolff made a feable attempt at finding a site in Oakland and chose one that had over 100 businesses in location, and the Oakland City Council was unwilling to remove these businesses with a "divine right" power.

Fremont has told Wolff, he can have his dream park in their city, on Cisco owned land, known as Pacific Commons. The site, as said by Daniel Vanderpriem (CEDA/Redevelopment head working with the A's on possible sites), would be "purchased at industrian prices" (meaning cheaper) and sold to businesses and developers at "residential prices"(more exspensive). Fremont has that land for Wolff to so he can pay for his Disney ballpark. Looking at this from a shrewd business perspective, I Wolff's plans are justified. He wants to spend as little money to pay for the construction of a new ballpark. But when one wants to be cheap, problems arise.

In addition to a number of other issues, the main problem with the Fremont/Pacific Commons suggested ballpark site is TRANSPORTATION. Currently, Pacific Commons lies a block away from I880 and is less than 1.5 miles away from the Fremont Amtrak station. In addition to I880 and the AMTRAK station, BART is planning to add 5.4-miles of tracks from the existing Fremont Station to the proposed new station, Warm Springs (I'm sorry, but Warm Springs would be tough to get over). The Warm Springs station is scheduled for completion around 2010, if the adequate funding is provided, which it looks like will pass. Just in time, because the new Coliseum lease with the A's is scheduled to end in 2011 (Doesn't that just work out perfectly).

So, if one read this far, that person would be thinking, "Wait there's no problem with transportation at the Pacific Commons site. I880 is right there, Warm Springs BART station will be built, and you have an AMTRAK station right there. Drummer510, is there really transportation problem or are you just trying to stir s**t up and make A's fans outraged and dismayed by the Fremont plan?"

Yes, to both questions. There is a huge TRANSPORTATION problem with the Fremont site. Here's the list:
1. Interstate 880 is the second most congested highway in the Bay Area (101 is worse only because Giant fans are bad drivers). In 2000, the number of daily delays on I880 was 25,190 vehicle-hours. In two years that number rose to 27,440 vehicle-hours. Check out the Highway Congestion Monitoring Data. The section of I880 going Southbound that Pacific Commons is next to, was ranked second as one of the worst congested highway location in the Bay Area in 2002. The number of daily delays from Thorton Ave. to Dixon Landing was 8,880 vehicle hours in 2002.
2. AMTRAK is not a realistic nor economical way of transportation for an everyday East Bay A's fan. Round trip tickets from the Jack London station to the Fremont station are about $15 and schedule times seem unresonable for a night game. Check out AMTRACK's sweet site.
3. The planned Warm Springs BART station is 2.25 miles driving distance away from Pacific Commons, as described on Marine Layers's Blog. 2.25 miles is not an ideal walking distance. Transportation from the station to Pacific Commons is an issue that will cost Alameda county even more money.

Although a BART station at Warm Springs will help traffic flow on I880, the current plan for the station will be in a poor location for the ballpark. Consider that BART carries 15-20% of A's fans on any given game date(ML). Unless a bus line or tram is added from Warm Springs to Pacific Commons, the use of BART as transportation to an A's game will become ineffective.

As mentioned before, trasnportation is one of many other issues with the Fremont Ballpark proposal.


Anonymous pachyderm said...

This is the reason why Wolff and Cisco Systems had no comments on "jump the gun" AP story. The ballpark village area around the Coliseum looked perfect as transportation reason.

5/01/2006 10:04 AM

Blogger Kenny said...

What are the other issues?

5/01/2006 3:41 PM

Blogger Georob said...

Before you and the OAFC get too deep into bashing suburbs and suburbanites, remember that the majority of the Bay Area and the majority of A's fans LIVE in the suburbs and would be perfectly happy with a Fremont park.

Sure, most of us would like to see a downtown park with all that would go with it, but if it comes down to a choice between Fremont or Las Vegas, guess who'd win? And for those who claim that their support of the A's ends with a move outside city limits, I say that you're not really A's fans.

What the OAFC needs to do is to convince apathetic voters within the city Of Oakland that keeping the A's is in their best interests.

Lew Wolff may or may not listen to working class fans, but Oakland politicians DO listen to working class voters.

....especially when they vote!

5/02/2006 3:18 PM

Blogger drummer510 said...

It would be very stupid of Wolff to move to Las Vegas, so I think Vegas is outta the question. I'm starting to fear less that the A's will move from the Bay Area, because there will such a uproar from fans here and it doesn't make sense finacially. Bay Area is a much better market for the team.

To clear things up, georob, I have never ripped on the suburbs or suburbanites for that matter. I praise suburb fans for making the trek to A's games and they show loyality to the fanchise which is great. But, I feel a stadium in the suburbs, ruins one of the main strengths of a stadium as a centralizing force in a region.

Yes, many A's fans, like youself could care less where a ballpark is built, and just want one built as quick as possible so we won't have to worry anymore about the A's leaving the Bay Area. But, why build a ballpark in the burbs when you have a downtown city close by with all the transportation you need.

What was so great about Pac Bell Park, was that it brought many fans to the park just because it was an amazing piece of work in an amazing area with shopping and downtown within walking distance. Many of these "fringe" fans became stronger Gnats fans after the ballpark was built. I know everybody here knows a bunch of people, who became hardcore Giant fans after the ballpark was built.

I fear that a ballpark built in Fremont will not attract those "fringe" fans because there's no entertainment, sightseeing, or known restuarants nearby in that area. I think that fans will get in-and-out of Fremont without stopping at a bar or grabbing a bite to eat.

That's one of the main problems with Citizens ballpark in Phili. It was built in the middle of nowhere, and hasn't drawn too well considering how nice of a park it is. Although, Phili is more known as a football town, I feel that a ballpark built in downtown Phili would have attracted more fans.

A downtown ballpark attracts the "fringe" fans where many of them latr become hardcore about their team. They buy their team apparel and watch games on tv. I don't feel that Wolff's plastic ballpark village will be effective in attracting "fringe" fans either.

Your right, georob that Oakland politicians will listen to voters, and I'm planning to write a blog on all three canidates. Thanks for the comments everybody.

5/04/2006 11:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please just stick to the facts. Calling out Mr Wolff and calling the new park a "Disney Park" does not endear your cause to many people. One of Marinelayer's greatest assest is that he is fair and balanced. He doesn't prejudge the facts or stories that appear. If you want us to take you and the OAFC seriously, check your facts and keep your comments fair. I am sorry you feel Mr Wolff is not playing fair, but I disagree, I believe he has been upfront withthe fans and the JPA on finding another site. If Oakland wants the A's they must take immediate action. What has happened in the past is not a reason to denigrate the Fremont plan.

5/04/2006 12:17 PM

Blogger sn00t said...

Thanks for the interesting blog. I live in Oakland, want to see the A's in Oakland, and the stance of politicians on the A's issue will certainly affect my vote in the mayoral election. I look forward to seeing your entry on the three candidates.

Also, I wouldn't take much of what anonymous says to heart. You make very clear the distinction between what you assert as fact and what you present as opinion. If people can't discern that, it's really their problem.

5/04/2006 3:09 PM

Anonymous gojohn10 said...


You bring up some good points regarding a downtown ballpark vs. suburban ballpark. I think you are right, I’m just not sure if Oakland is the downtown the A’s should be targeting. Because the Giants put their park right on the edge of the A’s “territory,” it is quite easy for the average fringe east bay fan to go to Pac Bell. And while a new A's park, regardless of its location, will attract fringe fans soon after it opens, once the novelty wears off, will these fans still prefer Oakland? We do know one thing, Pac bell (or whatever it’s called now) is a hell of a ballpark and will be tough to compete against for years to come.

5/05/2006 4:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ballpark in San Francisco already has thousands of empty seats. If the Giants have another losing season, and Bonds retires, you're going to be looking at tens of thousands of empty seats instead of the nine to seven thousand we see on a regular basis now.

A ballpark in downtown Oakland near Lake Merritt or on the Jack London Square waterfront would compete much better than a ballpark in Fremont or San Jose.

5/07/2006 9:34 AM

Blogger Georob said...

Pac Bell Park is certainly now the "Gold Standard" for how ballparks should be done. And one it's biggest attributes is its proximity to so many places to go within walking distance. And this is why Lew Wolff is so insistent on the "ballpark village" concept in Fremont.

Not the same you say? All shiny and new with no sense of urban character? Too many chains and not enough locally owned bistros?
Well, that argument only goes so far.

For starters, what you see within closest walking distance of AT&T is ALSO brand new, admittedly a part of the SOMA dot-com boom; but built with the ballpark in mind. Remember, this used to be all industrial. (And God Bless Red's for hanging in there)

Now, the closer you get to Market and beyond, the more you encounter the older places with the ambiance you can't duplicate in the suburbs. The problem is that so many of these establishments are not either suitable or affordable for families, who remain an important target for MLB.

Say what you want about the chains, but families(and others who don't like to spend a lot of $$) still go there. So instead of a family of five driving five miles to Applebee's after the game, why not have them walk there from the ballpark?(After which they can hopefully buy A's souvenirs at the gift shop?)

If done right, a "Ballpark Village" could do what downtown SF(and even Jack London Square) cannot. Call it Disney all you want, but the concept has been proven to work.

5/08/2006 9:26 AM

Blogger drummer510 said...

Keep in mind gerob, that Oakland has never been as expensive as San Francisco, and I doubt it will ever be. You're right At&T park is the Gold Standard, but Oakland could be the more affordable standard. There are plenty of affordable chain and non-chain quality restuarants in Oakland and Berkeley.

I don't see why you need to build a stadium in the burbs just to have an Applebees or a TGI Fridays close by. Obviously I'm exaggerating your argument, but it really seems silly to me.

Like you say what's great about At&t park is that yes you have all the "new and shiny" things around the ballpark, but you also have the older more established restuarent and shops around the Piers and around Market Str. This could be the same in Oakland except at a much more affordable scale.

Don't get me wrong, I understand Wolff's vision of his ballpark village, I hate it, but it may be necessary for him to pay of the cost of building the park. Thing big problem is that there is nothing surrounding Pacific Commons that peeks my interest in terms of entertainment, restuarants, or shopping. Maybe there will be after the ballpark is built, but that's a fairly big risk for businesses to take to build around the ballpark hoping that the village does not take all the shoppers.

I feel that Oakland is a great medium for urban yuppies and people who are looking for more affordable rates.

5/08/2006 11:59 AM

Blogger Georob said...

Oakland has enough image problems as it is, they need not make it worse by hanging their hats on the label "affordable". However, as SF continues to price itself out of the range of many "urban yuppies", Oakland will undoubtedly be a beneficiary'; particularly as more former industrial sites get redeveloped as residential.

But is that enough to sustain a fan base for the A's? Unlike many older urban/industrial areas; downtown oakland is not the center of the region, and never was. Like it or not, that distinction falls to San Francisco.

The A's problem from the day they got here is that they have not been seen as a team that represents the entire Bay Area. You can argue how much the "Oakland" label has a part in that, but let me ask this again: When was the last time you heard the Giants or 49'ers referred to as "West Bay" teams?

Regardless of where they play and what they're called, the A's have to stop this "we're in a small market" mentality. The truth is that they SHARE a LARGE market, and until they fully grasp that concept, it won't matter whether they're downtown or not.

5/08/2006 2:52 PM

Blogger drummer510 said...

Dude, the A's have never been an "only Oakland fanchise", hell I imagine that over half their fans come from other cities in the Bay Area (Contra Costa being a large contributor). Oakland downtown is a perfect location for the A's, for the fact that geographically speaking it is in the center of the Bay Area. SF may the "center" of the Bay Area when it comes to entertainment, shopping, and business, but in terms of looking on a map of the Bay Area, Oakland is literal center of it. Because of it's location, Oakland downtown is an ideal spot to put a ballpark. Fans would go to games, you can't deny that. If you put a winning team on the field, fans will go to games, even more so if you have a new stadium.

I want to make one thing clear, I want a new stadium for the A's just as bad as any other A's fan. But I feel building a stadium in the suburbs, ruins the ability a new ballpark has to be a centralizing force in a city or community. By building a park in the burbs, you waste the powers a park has to rebuild communities and spur growth. I want to see that happen in Oakland, and that won't happen in Fremont. My hope is, after this election Oakland politicos can sit down with Wolff and look at some possible stadium sites again. There is room in Oakland to build a stadium, and the main problems with the Fremont site (transportation, environmental, and the surrounding area) are not as big of problems in Oakland. I'm not saying that Oakland is perfect, because there would be issues as well in building a park in Oakland, and with any other major construction projects. But I feel the postives in building a park in Oakland outway the negatives, where in Fremont it's the other way around.

5/10/2006 11:22 AM

Blogger drummer510 said...

By the way, I'd like to thank everybody for making comments, even georob. These are important discussions to have, and I want to continue to encourage people to voice their opinions and questions. Please, put a name or screen name with your comment. The validity of your comment is hurt, when you're an anonymous poster. Thanks and Go A's.

5/10/2006 11:27 AM

Blogger Georob said...

Let me be clear Drummer, I'm on your side. I want the A's to stay in Oakland, but the arguments that you, the OAFC, and others make are either "preaching to the choir", or fall on deaf ears, namely the Oakland city officials.

We can debate all we want about the sincerity of Lew Wolff, but the fact is that HE RUNS THE TEAM, and therefore has the final say about where they go. Others can try influence him, but in the end he answers only to the Fisher family and perhaps Bud Selig.

It's the officials in Oakland that need to be convinced, and frankly I think they're too afraid of a recall effort if this ends up looking like another Raider deal. And unlike Lew Wolff, THEY have to answer to VOTERS. Voters who want the schools, streets, and crime rate fixed. And after that, they want good jobs and affordable housing. Reconciling that with a new baseball stadium that many Oakland residents will never set foot in is a tough task at best.

You make excellent points about why the A's should stay in Oakland. The problem is that they don't resonate with those that have the power to do anything about it. If you could instead convince them that they'd lose their jobs, then you'd be on to something.

I predicted a long time ago that Oakland wouldn't start taking the threat of the A's moving seriously until some concrete things started happening. Well, those "things" are slowly starting to happen and now even Ron Dellums is starting to speak up, who'd have thunk it?

There's still time. Once the media, environmental groups, and the public fully grasp the transportation issues, Fremont's progress will slow down considerably. In the meantime, Oakland had better come up with some workable alternatives, or Fremont will eventually prevail.

But whining about tradition, legacy, and how "stadiums shouldn't be in the suburbs" does nothing for Oakland except make them look like sore losers.

5/10/2006 1:50 PM

Anonymous online degrees said...

This issue stirs up a lot of passion, from what can I see. I, myself, am from Michigan.

4/09/2008 2:01 PM


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