A’s owner wants control of Coliseum site for development, just without so much development

With the Oakland Raiders sorta kinda maybe thinking about moving to Los Angeles, it would seem that A’s owner Lew Wolff is sitting pretty to finally seize control of the Oakland Coliseum property so that he can build a lucrative mixed-use development to help pay for the costs of a new stadium. So, naturally, Wolff thoroughly confused everyone by announcing that what he really wants to see built around an A’s stadium is a giant parking lot:

Wolff said there is not enough land readily available at the Coliseum complex to build a stadium and satisfy the city’s desire for additional development, such as homes, shops, offices and a hotel.
The only way it could work, Wolff said, would be to build multilevel parking garages, but that would leave fans waiting in long lines to exit the garages and begin their drives home.
“Parking is a key issue for us,” Wolff said. “We want surface parking surrounding the ballpark wherever we build it unless we’re in the heart of a downtown.”

Now, no argument from me that A’s fans are going to want to park somewhere, and that multilevel parking structures are kind of a mess. (I still have nightmares about the New Haven Coliseum parking ramp.) But given that, as an astute Twitterer noted, back in 2010 Wolff went on and on about how an Oakland stadium would only work if it were surrounded by “residential entitlements” (i.e., the right for Wolff to build condos), it’s a bit odd to see the guy suddenly saying screw condos, parking lots are where it’s at!

The most likely interpretations, it seems, are that Wolff’s latest gambit is an attempt to tell Oakland 1) there’s not enough room for two stadiums plus other development, so get the Raiders offa our lawn, 2) you’re not giving us enough land, go back to the plan where 800 acres would be in play, 3) we don’t like those Coliseum City guys, let us plan our own development or it’s no deal, or 4) some combination of the above. Still, it makes for a bit of a muddled public message from Wolff — but then, muddled messages are kind of his specialty.

4 comments on “A’s owner wants control of Coliseum site for development, just without so much development

  1. The “plans” the Raiders have alluded to are at least as bad. TONS of surface parking coupled with a stadium whose footprint is bigger than that of a baseball stadium.

  2. Wolff is obviously up to something. Owners aren’t capable of caring about their fans. It’s the first test given to prospective buyers if they want their ownership bid approved.

  3. That New Haven coliseum was one of the ugliest buildings ever constructed, the Hartford bunker isn’t much better.
    The kind of condo’s Lew-Lew would need to pay for his ultra-exclusive mallpark (remember his …why can’t it be all club seating?… “thinking” out loud) would have to attract big bucks high-ender’s who may not want to live cheek-by-jowl with stadium parking on an “island” surrounded by industrial businesses?
    There’s real islands nearby – Alameda & Bay Farm – that are really separated from the rest of oh-so-fab Oak where you can have almost suburban livin’ and the cops can close off the bridges if they have to snare a bad guy. Just have to brave the mainland blocks to BART or drivin’ to 280.
    Seems that Lew-Lew wishing the monied set flocking to his hemmed in cash-cow development would need more than 3 coins in ‘da fountain.

  4. I am not clear on why “parking garages” will lead to massive traffic lineups but surface parking lots with only a handful of exits to main throughfares won’t.

    I’ve never driven to a stadium of any kind that didn’t involve a good deal of time spent waiting to get out of the parking lots. What limits access/egress is the number of exits from the lots and the capacity of the roads leading away from the stadium, not the number of levels in the parking garage. Certainly it can take more time to get out of a parkade and on to the surface roads than it does to back out of a surface spot, but does it really matter whether you are waiting in a modest line to get out of a parkade and onto a surface road (where you will have to wait again) or whether you just spend more time waiting in line to exit the parking lot? Not to me…

    I am not a traffic flow expert (nor do I play one on tv), but I believe there is some merit to the idea that “upstream” bottlenecks help to lessen the impact of major collector bottlenecks in that they slow the traffic filtering in to the collectors, thus allowing the traffic already in the collector to filter out. Having traffic controls (not just a cop waving lighted sticks) in place for feeders and collectors is also a big help, but very few facilities I’ve ever been to use these.