Seattle city council committee supports SODO arena plan

Apr 19, 2016, 12:53 PM | Updated: Apr 20, 2016, 5:42 am

Seattle is one step closer to getting a basketball and hockey arena in the SODO district.

A City Council committee approved vacating the small section Occidental Avenue South, giving hope to supporters of an NBA and NHL arena in Seattle. The vote was 4 to 1, and the plan will go to the full city council for a vote on May 2. Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Tim Burgess, Rob Johnson and Bruce Harrell voted in favor of the street vacation, while Sally Bagshaw voted against the proposal.

Related: Sonics fans rally for new basketball arena in Seattle

The Sustainability and Transportation Committee has been debating whether to vacate Occidental Avenue south of Safeco Field for months. The developer of the new arena says it’s a must, in order to build a basketball and hockey arena on the property.

The Port of Seattle, the Seattle Mariners and other businesses have been critical of the plan because of the extra traffic they say it would add.

Without that portion of road, the Seattle Department of Transportation says that a total of seven minutes worth of congestions will be added to neighboring 1st Avenue.

Some opponents of the arena, such as the Port of Seattle, argue that the road is severely needed for trucks and other traffic feeding Seattle commerce.

Other issues at hand are pedestrian safety. Routes to the new arena would have people crossing railroad tracks that the Sounder train uses.

Kiro 7, Dyer Oxley, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Seattle city council committee supports SODO arena plan