The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco acknowledged that a new Golden State Warriors arena would generate some additional traffic in the Mission Bay neighborhood, but the impact would be minimal, clearing the way for the NBA team to move forward on development of the 18,500-seat facility.
The Mission Bay Alliance has opposed development of the privately financed Chase Center, envisioned as opening for the 2019-2020 season, arguing that increased traffic would impact access to UCSF Medical Center, increase noise and air pollution, and cause too much stress for the Muni line running through the neighborhood. The Alliance lost its initial challenge to the arena and appealed; the result was the same in the decision handed down today. From SFGate:
“There is no doubt that traffic in the area will be heavy before and after basketball games and other events,” Justice Stuart Pollak said in the 3-0 ruling, which upheld a judge’s decision in the city’s favor. But he said the city’s “management strategies” to increase the use of transit, ride-hailing and other traffic-reduction measures were adequate to dispel opponents’ fears of gridlock on Mission Bay streets.
Those plans include additional Muni light-rail cars and more cars on Caltrain runs along the Peninsula, as well as six new street segments and new sidewalks and bike lanes in the city.
Opponents said the Warriors should have to pay for the new Muni rail cars. But Pollak said that the city’s studies showed that passenger fees would cover the costs, and that the arena owners had agreed to help local and regional transit agencies fund unexpected transit costs in the future. The Warriors have agreed to hold no more than 12 games a year at the same times as Giants games if traffic jams arise early on.
This, however, may not be the end of the legal battle for the Mission Bay Alliance: there is the option of appealing to the California Supreme Court. But given how clearly two courts have ruled on the issues, an appeal would be a long-shot — at best.
UPDATE: The Mission Bay Alliance says it is evaluating whether to proceed with an appeal, in a statement issued today: “The Mission Bay Alliance, Jennifer Wade, and SaveMuni are deeply disappointed with today’s court ruling. Our legal team is reviewing the ruling and considering options. We believe that the proposed Warriors’ arena is incompatible with the Mission Bay South neighborhood and would result in blocked access to UCSF hospitals, dangerous air pollution, and traffic gridlock throughout the community.”