Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Urban A's Stadium

Since their Fremont plan crashed and burned and neighbors close to the future Warm Springs BART station have shut down the second option the A's are now going to have to look elsewhere for a stadium. They might even start looking in San Jose for a place. Not that I don't like San Jose, but Oakland is a much better place for a baseball team and they have so much history here, I'd like to make another suggestion. What about an Urban Stadium in downtown Oakland?

Other Urban Stadiums around the country are a success and most of them have really good transit access. A few examples are in Colorado, Boston, and Chicago. The Rockies Play at Coors Field - Access at Left to Union Station which will be the major hub of the Fastracks commuter and light rail network.

Fenway in Boston - Access to the Green Line

Wrigley in Chicago - Access to the Red Line

For an example, look what San Francisco has been able to do in SoMa with AT&T park. There's even an urban Safeway as seen in the picture below.

So why not accomplish two things in Oakland, extend good transit up Broadway and have a built in audience for restaurants and retail in a refurbished Auto Row until it takes off on its own. This would help stem the extreme retail leakage to Emeryville and San Francisco that Oakland suffers from. Having this anchor ramp up redevelopment of auto row and the hospital district would go a long way. I had a little fun with this and photoshopped in a stadium just south of 26th and north of 24th just west of Broadway where there is an empty auto dealership.

Another need is extending transit. It's easily walkable(.3 miles) from the site to the 19th street BART station/AC Transit 2oth street transit center but it would be nice to either have a subway extension to Kaiser or at least a streetcar line. Such a streetcar line has been proposed in other places such as at SF Cityscape.

Obviously the stadium would be a tough sell because there would be so many landowners but its a fun excersise. I would go to tons more games if it were located here which is close to my work downtown. Is anyone in A's land interested in an Urban Stadium? Thoughts from locals?


Michael said...

If you're talking about the city in northern CA, it's Fremont, not Freemont. It's named for John C. Fremont.

Great post, though!

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

heh thanks. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

Great idea to bring the A's to downtown Oakland. It could really revitalize the whole downtown area.

Adam said...

You forgot Shea Stadium (well, Citi Field now but what gives)! We have access to the 7 Subway and that's part of the whole Mets experience.

Winston said...

The new ballpark was supposed to be financed from the property development revenues. I can't imagine anywhere in Oakland where there would be that kind of opportunity, especially in the current economy. I'd give the A's building a downtown Oakland stadium somewhat lower odds than them moving to Raley Field in Sacramento which currently draws 10,000 people on a typical game to see the AAA River Cats (the highest attendance of any minor league team and about half of the number of people the A's typically atract), is easily expandable and will even have a rail line in a couple of years.

jon said...

There was a plan around 2001/2 to build an urban A's ballpark in uptown oakland next to Sears and the Fox Theater. The site has now been redeveloped as a Forest City infill development.

if i recall this uptown site was a pretty serious proposal at one time, before shifting to the coliseum parking lot site then fremont boonies then fremont warm springs.

i cant seem to find any more renderings of it other than the link above but there are many articles about it on sfgate around 2001. the backside of the fox theater would have been right in the outfield.

dto510 said...

There's no room in the DTO for a ballpark, not even in mid-Broadway (which is too far from freeways to be viable). Downtown Oakland is revitalizing pretty well without a ballpark, thank you very much. At least two city councilmembers are proposing an "urban" ballpark near the existing Coliseum, which has superior car and transit access. They hope it will anchor an hotel/conference center and housing development.

PS, there was no serious proposal for an Uptown ballpark. HOK made a drawing, and the media jumped on it, but the A's and the city were not interested.

Randy Simes said...

Atlanta really screwed up on this front when they built Turner Field a good distance away from their MARTA lines. The Georgia Dome and Philips Arena are both directly served by MARTA which serves as an extremely popular way to get to/from the games at those locations. For Braves games you have to get off at Five Points and then walk a block or two to hop on a shuttle service. It's not very user-friendly to say the least.

St. Louis' new ballpark is also served by their newish light rail system. As is Comiski Park in Chicago and Jacobs Field in Cleveland (I think).

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I hardly think .3 miles from the freeway is too far away. And the Coliseum has superior transit access? Can you even call it urban?

Yes downtown is redeveloping though it lacks retail that provides tax base for the city. There is a whole plan for Auto row which is not downtown that could get a huge boost from the stadium. This is a whole corridor that could really use a push between Kaiser and Downtown. So much potential.

Cap'n Transit said...

Maybe you could get the new White House Director of Urban Affairs to build you a shitload of taxpayer-financed parking to complete the urban experience.

anon said...

The new Minnesota Twins stadium is very urban and is located on latest and greatest transit lines in Minneapolis. The Hiawatha LRT will have a stop at the station, the Tracks for the Northstar Commuter rail line go right next the stadium. The rail trench next to the stadium will be the site of a multimodal station. Hopefully this fully realized urban ballpark does well.

Morgan Wick said...

Problem I have with your Photoshop is that I think MLB likes to put home plate to the south or southwest.

Seattle's new light rail system will include a stadium station only about a block, block and a half from Safeco Field's center field gate. I was actually surprised by how close it was when taking a bus out of the tunnel to take in a game one time last year.

If you're talking about Shea being an urban stadium, isn't Yankee Stadium even more urban?

Matt Fisher said...

Bad enough that in Ottawa, the arena where the Senators hockey team plays, Scotiabank Place, is all far away from downtown in Kanata, out west.

However, in Calgary and Edmonton, sporting venues are served by LRT, although they appear to be outside the true downtown.

In Vancouver, the SkyTrain serves B.C. Place Stadium and General Motors Place, and a "demonstration" streetcar line on False Creek serving the Olympic Village will be open for two months next year when they host the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics. This one will use a few Cityrunner trams on loan from Brussels. It should appear to connect to the Skytrain.