A New Stadium for the Golden State Warriors

A slightly modified version of this post appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the 9/4/2013 edition of the Bay Guardian.

Co-owner of the Golden State Warriors Peter Guber, wrote a best-selling book, Tell to Win.  In it he insists, rightly, that story trumps data every time.  The story of “Let’s give the Golden State Warriors a beautiful new home in San Francisco, right on the water front,” sold our city leaders.  But they forgot the facts: no parking, limited public transit, blocked views of the bay, and a loss of proportionality along this priceless stretch of shore.

Let’s try another story line: “Elevate before you celebrate.  Don’t crowd the sea, nest the stadium in the air: put it right above the CalTrans station, just as Madison Square Garden perches above Penn Station in New York. Presto: available parking and unused rail yard space just a block to the south for more; the 280 freeway empties onto surface streets just a few blocks away, BART and Muni have stations within easy walking distance, and CalTrans riders can easily pop upstairs to see a game; sightlines to the bay remain possible, and proximity to AT&T park creates the potential for an extraordinary sports mecca.  The stadium will rise several stories into the air but above that there’s an opportunity to build offices, condominiums and a hotel/restaurant complex that would form the perfect complement.

The exiting story ihas serious flaws in it but the enthusiasm to bring the Warriors to the city made them seem inconsequential, at first. They are hardly that.  Once we’ve heard the story, the facts slowly creep back into view and give very serious pause. Let’s welcome the Warriors by all  means but do we want a Titanic on the waterfront when we can have an eagle in the air? I hope Mr. Guber and his partners bring their pogo sticks with them and take a good look at what awaits them as the ideal b-ball site.