One day after the Warriors’ efforts for a new arena in San Francisco received conditional approval from UCSF, opponents to the plan on Tuesday vowed to continue their fight to force the NBA franchise to abandon its plan.
Central to the squabble over the arena is the impact an 18,000-seat multi-use arena would have on traffic in the immediate vicinity of the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay.
The Warriors say their plan addresses and mitigates those problems. The administration of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has been on board with the plan. UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, in a story published by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, expressed his belief that the team’s owners will be able to deliver on the promise, in which case UCSF would support the new arena.
Hawgood’s comments, coming after six months of discussion, represented another hurdle cleared by the Warriors.
But the Mission Bay Alliance, a coalition of UCSF donors and biotech executives, bolstered by a legion of law firms, responded Tuesday by saying it will continue to do all within its power to keep the Warriors away from the medical facility.
Moreover, the MBA is asserting that Hawgood’s statement of conditional support was a consequence of pressure from the threat of punitive economic threats from Lee’s office.
“The Mission Bay Alliance is just starting our campaign against the Warriors’ arena and stadium plan,” MBA spokesman Sam Singer wrote in an email to CSNBayArea.com. “And we are going to fight the Warriors’ owners until Hell freezes over – and then we are going to fight them on the ice.”
The MBA’s stated concern is that the arena, on a site a few blocks south of AT&T Park, would result in increased traffic in an already clogged area, claiming “life-threatening” congestion would put patients at further risk. On nights when the ballpark and arena are in use, up to 60,000 people will have to navigate an area with very limited parking.
Moreover, the MBA claims to have reviewed the city’s draft Environmental Impact Report and identified more than 50 violations of the California Environmental Quality Act – including threats to seismic safety.
“Our engineers and experts have scrutinized the City’s draft EIR and determined with certainty that this is a fatally flawed project that will gridlock traffic, threaten patient access to lifesaving care and be a disaster for the Mission Bay neighborhood, the hospitals and City as a whole,” claimed MBA’s Bruce Spaulding.
The roadblock to receiving full support from UCSF is finalizing a traffic plan that will be an effective traffic plan when both the ballpark and the arena are being utilized. This is the contingency to which Hawgood’s backing is wedded.
The Warriors have said they are sensitive to the needs of patients at a medical center that treats seriously ill patients as well as delivering an average of 200 babies per month. That’s why they have engaged UCSF throughout the process.
So the basketball franchise continues to move ahead, expressing confidence that the complex – featuring retail and office components in addition to the arena – can be completed by 2018.
One thing for certain is that costs, already expected to exceed $1 billion, will continue to rise, with some of the money needed to reconfigure local roads to improve ingress and egress.