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April 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Mariners tell city: Don't put arena in Sodo

Disappointed Mariners fan

Editor, The Times:

As a longtime Mariners fan, I was very disappointed to hear the negative and pessimistic content of the letter that was sent to the arena advisory committee, City Council members and the mayor. [“Arena plan gets assist from panel conclusion,” page one, April 5.]

It is my belief that the stated worries about parking and traffic issues (because of the new arena) are overblown and are being used as a type of scare tactic to dissuade the council from approving this proposal by Chris Hansen.

It is very disappointing to see that an organization that I have spent thousands of dollars to support, through good times and, unfortunately, for quite a while now bad times, is going to become a major roadblock in getting an arena built that would enable us to get a basketball team back in Seattle. Locally, we have supported the Mariners, despite witnessing an awful product on the field at times, horribly expensive beer and food prices, $20 parking, etc.

The fact that the M’s are trying to snub the very people who have helped make them a successful organization is disgraceful. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you is a phrase that comes to mind. It’s time to rethink opening-day tickets for this fan.

— Jason Rohwer, Seattle

Memorial Stadium ‘adequate’

There are two eyesores (depending on your point of view) when you enter Seattle from the south. They are two, side-by-side and relatively new, vast sports stadiums near downtown.

There is allegedly no money and ongoing budget cuts for a thousand different basic needs of the people of Seattle and for the rest of Washington.

Yet developers, with the collusion of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine, are circling the city, looking to build a third sports arena beside the other two.

At the same time, the city of Seattle owns the perfectly adequate Memorial Stadium, adjacent to the Seattle Center. Yet the city is planning to tear it down, perhaps because it has no skyboxes or elitist amenities for the wealthy.

Strange that there are fountains of money for the business of sports, but none for the basic needs of the citizens, especially when it comes to the poor.

All this from our statesmen and captains of industry, the very ones who advance and preside over the disparity between the 1 percent and the 99 percent.

— Bob Miller, Seattle

Traffic a pre-existing concern

Since when has Seattle been concerned about the traffic impact of any of its sports venues?

If I recall correctly, during the initial planning stages of what was to become the Kingdome, the more preferred site was considered to be a location that placed the dome midway between the Seattle and Tacoma metropolitan areas, similar to what had been done with the airport. Those with the overriding special interests, however, prevailed in getting the dome located in an area with less favorable access as a means of taking imminent domain over the shantytown area and replacing it with more favorable use.

When the Kingdome was still in use, I unfortunately had an appointment in the vicinity of Swedish Hospital on the same afternoon that the Mariners had a playoff game. I left Lynnwood an hour before my appointment and got to my appointment an hour and a half late.

Until the Mercer Mess is fixed and someone decides that it was stupid to choke the freeway down to only a couple of lanes running through the ravine under the Convention Center, it won’t matter where the next arena is located.

Despite our preeminence in software and aeronautical engineering in the Seattle area, we drew the short straw on traffic engineering.

— Thomas Munyon, Marysville

Inconvenient to tourists

What are they thinking? We have had out-of-town visitors who have almost missed their plane at Sea-Tac Airport because of massive traffic jams they encountered when they got off the ferry from Bainbridge Island. You can’t turn left when you depart the ferry terminal, forcing you into all the traffic after a game (or sometimes two games) in the Sodo area.

Two stadiums are bad enough. On one occasion, the airline had to hold the plane because my son and his family of six were stuck in traffic when a Mariners game was letting out. (If it hadn’t been such a large party, the plane would have departed without them.)

Even if the goal is to get us to ride bikes or take transit, the city should consider the inconvenience to tourists that such a decision would cause.

— Arlene K. Peterson, Medina

Complete the trifecta

Regarding the issue of building a new indoor arena, I am 100 percent for the proposed location in the “stadium” district. This will complete the trifecta of sports arenas, as the vision goes.

To me, this is very good urban planning and design. I find it very good to have a “stadium district” instead of huge stadiums spread all over the place. Pioneer Square business would surely like it in the big picture.

So, a new arena brings traffic and parking problems? Don’t they always? Build it, and let’s see what the reality is as opposed to panic speculation. Any problems (which will be minor at worst) can be solved. Let’s see what has to be solved first.

The problem of lack of parking is due to to the fact that all parking below the viaduct is being removed. So it looks like the traffic problem is not just because of the arena proposal. There are a few more elements involved. It could be done all at once. The proposed arena is a trigger to solve a bigger upcoming problem.

I like the stadium district concept. After CenturyLink and Safeco were built, it was obvious where to put a new indoor arena. So what if it takes 15 minutes longer to get home on an occasional event day? If that is the reasoning over not accepting an arena with no tax burden, grow up Seattle!

— Douglas Mays, Seattle

Mariners fear competition

Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln sent a letter to city and county leaders, which said that the proposed NBA/NHL arena isn’t practical due to parking and traffic challenges.

I’ve been a Mariners fan for 17 years — since I was 7 years old — and have never been so irritated with them. This is disgusting and comes off as selfish.

Traffic concerns? I don’t think so, not while the Mariners attendance keeps plummeting. Try winning. Now, there likely are some genuine traffic concerns, but is that enough to overwhelm the positives that would result from a new arena? No.

Why would the Mariners not want to develop the area around Safeco Field? This would likely bring businesses and further development to the area. Do the Mariners really fear the devaluation of their product, through the competition with another franchise, enough to put their selfish desires above the benefits for the city?

The Mariners have asked for further study of other locations that might be used for a new arena. I have one response: What do you think we’ve been doing for the last six years? The taxpayers paid for Safeco Field; the Mariners have no right whatsoever to try to block the development of a new sports stadium.

— Kaelen Brodie, Seattle


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