A proposed basketball and hockey arena in Sodo wouldn’t have a profound effect on traffic, according to a study released today by the Seattle Department of Transportation.
The new arena would add about 6,000 vehicles to the area on 52 nights a year when the arena is the only event going on in Sodo, the study says, concluding that “these are well within the existing parking/traffic/transit capacity in the area.”
Things get more complicated on nights when there is an event at the arena and at one of the neighboring stadiums for baseball, football and soccer, the report says. That could happen as many as 15 weeknights a year if one of the teams makes the playoffs, but the study said that would bring in about 40,000 visitors, no more than in 2002 when 40 weeknights games had more than 40,000 patrons.
The report assumes 81 percent of people would drive, 9 percent would take rail or bus.
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Traffic is one of the main objections to the arena raised by the Seattle Mariners, the Port of Seattle and the Manufacturing Industrial Council. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proposed an 18,000-seat entertainment and sports arena just south of Safeco Field. It would be privately financed by San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.
When the Mariners and the Port said they were worried about traffic, Hansen announced he would pay for the $50,000 traffic study. Critics say the study was not thorough enough.
The study says conflicts with Port traffic will be “minimal” because the busiest terminals close at 4:30 pm.
The study didn’t recommend any additional road improvements, saying planned and funded projects will improve freight mobility, including the tunnel and new Atlantic Street overpass.
Expansion of Link light rail will help too, the study said.