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KeyArena proponents will bury traffic impact

KIRO Radio's Jason Rantz says proponents of renovating KeyArena are ignoring traffic impacts. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)

The two groups advocating for a renovation of KeyArena for a future NBA team has hired consultants to determine the impact of traffic in the South Lake Union and Queen Anne area, according to KING 5. I can save both groups thousands of dollars by telling them the obvious: traffic will be catastrophic.

Rantz: Lazy Seattle City Council doesn’t truly care about environment

But that’s not what the analysts are likely being paid to provide.

According to KING 5:

At a briefing of Mercer stakeholders Wednesday morning, both AEG, and OVG announced they’ve hired analysts to study potential congestion and figure out how crowds of 16-17,000 people could navigate the crowded South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods.

We already know the answer. The congestion would be as big a nightmare as an overturned truck of frozen fish. The area can’t handle traffic when there isn’t an event at KeyArena (and when there are small events), what makes you think they can handle a sporting event of nearly 20,000 people? Try driving through the area on any given day or time — including weekends. It’s almost always a disaster; one that bleeds into the surrounding neighborhoods and streets.

I live near Mercer. It’s bad. And not even due to lack of lanes in and out of KeyArena (though that’s a problem). A big problem is the City of Seattle doesn’t want to make the traffic flow better. Both their director of transportation and their traffic engineer do not drive; they don’t understand the driving experience and they want more people to walk and bus and bike. That’s awesome if it works for you but, as the numbers indicate, it doesn’t work for everyone.

More from KING 5:

…a Seattle Center representative downplayed the organization’s own report which showed significant parking impacts to the Lower Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood when Arena crowds swell above 10,000 people.

The analysts, I assume, will come back with a rosier picture than the reality because they have a stake in pushing news that leads to KeyArena renovation. And I suspect the city will claim that if they give more bus service to the area, people will magically ditch their cars to bus it to an NBA game. Of course, that will never be a reality because games generate interest from people who live outside a walkable or busable radium of KeyArena. Maybe they’re extending the monorail? Hah.

KeyArena is an awful idea for the home of an NBA team. SoDo is already serviced by bus, light rail, arterials, and highways. Oh, and that whole thing about not costing taxpayers a dime: Perhaps the city isn’t going with the obvious choice because this isn’t really about basketball or an arena at all. Perhaps it’s an excuse to further push bus, bike and light-rail extension which, arguably, could be made easier with the existence of a renovated arena.

Jason and Burns on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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