Mayor Ed Lee, the Warriors, and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) announced this evening multiple agreements addressing traffic and UCSF hospital access related to the proposed Mission Bay arena.
With the passage of these agreements -- which would occur once the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure approves the project -- UCSF officially endorses the Warriors' arena.
"We've reached a consensus on the most critical issues," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a press release Tuesday evening. "We're ready to move forward -- together."
"With these agreements and solid working partnerships in motion, Mission Bay will now be home to UCSF, one of the finest medical institutions in the world, and the world-champion Golden State Warriors as a state-of-the-art, privately funded events center."
Likely the most important agreement is regarding traffic, Mayor Lee introduced legislation today to establish a Mission Bay Transportation Improvement Fund, paid for exclusively by future revenues from the Warriors' Mission Bay stadium. Designed to guarantee that resources -- at least $10 million annually for the life of the arena -- will be in place to effectively manage traffic, visitors, and transit around the arena, the Fund will create:
- Four new light rail cars to be dedicated to serving the arena, and available at other times to augment general Muni light rail service;
- A new, expanded light rail platform serving the arena and all of Mission Bay;
- A "Local/Hospital Access Plan" designed to keep certain streets clear of event traffic to allow UCSF, local businesses and residents smooth access at all times;
- Increased bus and light rail service before and after arena events, including more than a quadrupling of service on the T-Third Muni Metro line;
- Up to 28 traffic control officers deployed before and after games and events, more than currently serve Giants games (which games seat four times as many attendees as the average arena event);
- Enhanced police foot patrols and street cleaning operations on event days to ensure orderly arrivals and departures
The Fund is co-sponsored by 10 members of the Board of Supervisors, including Board President London Breed, and establishes an Advisory Committee filled with representatives of the political administration, the Warriors, UCSF, and local businesses and residents; it will discuss how to best generate the efficient flow of traffic and services.
The three institutions also are establishing a "special circumstances cap", limitations on the number of events in circumstances wherein traffic on key hospital routes violates a predetermined standard. To elaborate: If traffic problems linger when overlapping events occur (such as Giants home games at nearby AT&T Park, or concerts at the arena featuring over 12,500 attendees) the franchise will "cap" such overlaps at 12 per year. This agreement, if passed by the Board of Supervisors, would be the first of any NBA arena to have such conditions.
"We believe the dedicated funding for traffic management and transportation and the special circumstances event cap will help protect patient safety in the near-term," USCF Chancellor Sam Hawgood said. "The real test ... is to continue to work together to bring planned and new transportation improvements on line to address continued growth in the Third Street corridor. The agreements we've completed today are a great start."
The Warriors organization is very pleased with the school's endorsement, critical to evading opposition from the Mission Bay Alliance and passage of the arena complex.
"We know if we work together, we'll be able to achieve everyone's goals," Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts said. "We're prepared to the extra mile -- to guard against worst-case scenarios -- because we know it's important to UCSF and the folks that live in Mission Bay. That's part of being a good neighbor."
The Environmental Impact Review of the arena project is expected to be completed this fall. The franchise expects to begin construction of the stadium sometime in 2016 and begin playing in the Mission Bay arena at the start of the 2018-2019 season.
For more on this story, check out our storystream about the Warriors' S.F. arena project.