Warriors' arena planners eyeing transit snarls during nearby Giants games

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerPacked streets: Games at the planned Warriors arena would likely coincide with Giants games about a dozen times a year.

If the Warriors build a new arena in San Francisco, on some occasions roughly 60,000 people could surge into the waterfront neighborhoods south of the Bay Bridge — and city officials are exploring ways to move pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and public transit riders through the bustling area effectively.

The Warriors have proposed building an arena on Piers 30-32 that could seat between 17,000 and 19,000 people. About a dozen times a year, events at the arena could overlap with those at nearby AT&T Park, the Giants’ ballpark that lies south of the proposed arena site and can hold roughly 42,000 people.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — which oversees ground transportation in The City, including Muni, parking, taxicabs and cycling — is in the beginning stages of gathering information about potential transportation issues around the proposed arena site. An agency representative attended a Port of San Francisco citizen advisory committee meeting Thursday evening to talk about the project and gather feedback from the community.

Residents of the South Beach, Rincon Hill and Mission Bay neighborhoods who attended the meeting voiced concerns about traffic, transit and pedestrian issues surrounding the arena, especially when there are dual events at the arena and AT&T Park.

One of those who voiced concerns was advisory committee member Jack Bair, senior vice president of the Giants.

“One of the concerns that we have is if there are two events at the same time: Can people get to the ballpark by Muni? Can they get there by car?” Bair said. “How we are going to deal with that issue is a primary concern for us.”

Bair told The San Francisco Examiner after the meeting that the Giants are concerned, as any other neighbor would be, about major events at the foot of the Bay Bridge and what that could mean for on-ramp and off-ramp traffic flowing through the neighborhoods.

Public transit in the neighborhoods — which have grown significantly since the completion of AT&T Park and where several large projects are planned — includes BART, Caltrain and agencies that provide ferry services, said Peter Albert, manager of urban planning initiatives at the SFMTA. One challenge would be moving people in and out of the area smoothly.

“That is what is unusual about this corridor, that it shrinks and swells,” Albert said. “The demands can become much more episodic with a major event.”

The transportation challenges of a flood of people, though challenging, are something the SFMTA faces during other large events.

“Clearly, we deal with that on a regular basis with large events — Outside Lands, that type of thing; we move 60,000 people all of the time,” Albert said.

The full transportation issues and mitigation recommendations will eventually be compiled for the environmental impact review, a formal document that will be vetted and voted on by city officials.

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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