A’s vow stadium opening in 2023, not clear yet on how to get fans to it

The Oakland A’s proposed stadium at Howard Terminal may still have a lot of unknowns like how to pay for $200 million in new infrastructure, but team president Dave Kaval isn’t going to let that stop him from declaring “Get the shovels ready!” and saying he hopes to begin construction this summer and open the stadium by 2023. That seems 1) ambitious and 2) like the sort of thing team execs say whether or not such a timeline is realistic, but it’s certainly more possible now that the A’s owners have control of the Oakland Coliseum land that they want to redevelop to help pay for the Howard Terminal stadium, though exactly how they’ll develop it is also up in the air, and … you can see why maybe counting on spending Opening Day 2023 looking admiringly at cranes is jumping the gun a bit.

In other news about the A’s maybe-ballpark:

  • There may not be a gondola taking fans to the game from the nearby BART station, but there will be a “transportation hub” where fans will be dropped off by shuttle buses, then can walk or take rental scooters (because California loves its scooters) across a pedestrian bridge across Embarcadero West. That $200 million infrastructure price tag is making more and more sense, especially if a new bridge is involved.
  • The city of Oakland’s Department of Transportation estimates that half of all A’s fans would drive to games, and another 16% would take Uber or Lyft. (Currently 70% of A’s fans drive to games, but that’s with a stadium surrounded by a sea of parking.) Then they’d likely have to take a shuttle bus or walk a ways from their parking spots, presumably across that same proposed pedestrian bridge plus one other, meaning it’s going to need to be really wide if they don’t want hour-long backups after games (something that’s already sometimes a problem at the Coliseum, even with the bridge really only serving BART riders), which means it’s likely to be really expensive.

Map of all the proposed transit plans, including the ones that remain *proposed:

Or, you know, maybe they could just close Embarcadero West to traffic before and after games, which would be a hell of a lot cheaper than building two bridges, even if you had to hand out $20 bills to drivers to bribe them to take different streets. Totally nothing that needs to be decided before holding a city council vote and breaking ground on a major new development project!

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11 comments on “A’s vow stadium opening in 2023, not clear yet on how to get fans to it

  1. Too bad there isn’t a stadium in Oakland with an enormous parking lot and and a “transportation hub” attached.

    Is there any chance (realistically) that this is going to boost attendance past the honeymoon phase?

  2. Why can’t they just tear down the Coliseum, build it there, and share with the Giants with some games in Sacramento and Fresno in the meantime?

    1. They likely could build in the parking lot while continuing to play in the current stadium (as many other teams have). For whatever reason the city wants them to build at HT… so they are using that as leverage (after a fashion).

      It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either, but this is what the city claims to want.

    2. They would just build in the Coliseum parking lot and keep playing in the Coliseum until the new stadium is done. This is by far the more sensible and cost effective option, with direct mass transit access already present. My money is still on this being the ultimate outcome once they come to realize how long Howard Terminal would take to get approved and built, assuming it wasn’t stopped by any of the long list of coming challenges.

  3. Closing Embarcadero West is easier said than done, since Amtrak trains (on tracks owned by Union Pacific Railroad) use tracks on that street at street level. Given how much other CA cities want to close the railroads running through them and can’t (I’m thinking here of Caltrain on the Peninsula), I imagine the city has no power to close them.

    1. The Amtrak trains don’t come through all that often, as I recall? (It’s been a few years since I was to Jack London Square.) If you shut the street to auto traffic, it seems like you could manage the trains with timed pedestrian crossings (aka DON’T WALK signals). This would still require some new infrastructure, but presumably not as much as two giant bridges.

    2. Petco in a San Diego has an active track right next to it for trains to Tijuana without a bridge* (as well as the trolley tracks). You may have to wait a few minutes for it to pass but it’s not a big deal.

      * this isn’t exactly true anymore since one of the hotels did build a bridge, but it’s far enough south not to be worth it to use.

  4. If they dug up several major streets and excavated 4-8′ deep on each one, they could make Oakland the Venice of Northern California. And use the other kind of Gondolas to get fans to the ballpark. The casual stadium staff could then run a side hustle as Gondola pilots. Think of the spin offs.

    Hey, if Vegas can do it….

    1. …and if anyone is thinking of copyrighting the names “UberWet or LyftCaptain” you are waaayyyy too late….

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