With Oakland A’s future uncertain, city to spend big on transit improvements around the proposed ballpark

By Shomik Mukherjee, The Mercury News, November 28, 2022

“The city wants to start spending $259 million in state grant money intended to support the roughly $12 billion proposed development at Howard Terminal, even as its future remains in limbo.

“The A’s, eager to leave the Coliseum in East Oakland when its lease expires in 2024, are asking to build a 35,000-seat, state-of-the-art ballpark, 3,000 housing units, hundreds of hotel rooms and commercial and retail space on port land that hasn’t been used as a marine cargo terminal in almost a decade. The property primarily functions as a staging ground for truckers entering and exiting the port.

“Although the A’s promise to privately finance the $1 billion stadium, and the housing and commercial development, the team wants the city to improve the streets, sidewalks, lighting and other infrastructure in the area, so residents and A’s fans will have a smoother, safer path to their homes and baseball games on foot, as well as by bicycles, cars and other transit.

“The funding in question comes via the Port of Oakland from a grant awarded by the California State Transportation Agency with no strings attached. If the city and port formalize an agreement to share the money, officials could begin renovating areas between Embarcadero West, Eighth Street, Oak Street and Mandela Parkway – city blocks that contain businesses, homes and transit stops north of Howard Terminal.

“Currently, Howard Terminal is far from a destination for residents, which has not helped the city defend some projects from the raised eyebrows of opponents. [City Councilwoman Carroll Fife, who represents West Oakland] said she’d rather see money spent on improvements to make streets throughout West Oakland safer by installing more traffic calming measures.

“And some residents are convinced the city is rushing to get these grant projects funded, so it can lure the A’s to agree to a deal.” 

Read the full article here.  (~5 min.)

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