Oakland Chinatown executives concern the neighborhood impression of the brand new Howard Terminal A – CBS San Francisco ball park
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Some Asian-American community leaders believe Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood is set to lose heavily under A’s Howard Terminal Ballpark’s current proposal. They believe the ballpark will clog traffic in Chinatown and accelerate gentrification.
According to the current design, the 35,000-seat ballpark would only have 2,000 parking spaces. Many fear fans will be forced to park and walk to the game in Chinatown, which is less than a mile away. Parking during the day is already a nightmare in the busy shopping district.
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“We circled the whole area twice and everyone parked twice,” said Chinatown buyer Fatma Kassem. “And we just go home without parking and stopping anywhere.”
Because of this, community leaders say adding a ballpark nearby could bring the business district to a standstill.
“There will be good traffic and there will be bad traffic,” said Carl Chan, president of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Chan said traffic is good when fans park and spend money in Chinatown before or after the game. Bad traffic is when they take a seat and leave without spending a dime.
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“A lot of small businesses are being left out of this conversation,” said Chan. “So we need to make sure we raise their concerns.”
Evelyn Lee is the executive chairman of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She says the A’s need to consider building more parking spaces and finding ways to resolve traffic issues that their fans could potentially be causing.
“Chinatown was not included in the city’s environmental review,” said Lee. “We were not consulted on these concerns. The A’s have never spoken to us directly. “
Community leaders want the A’s not only to promote Chinatown as a shopping destination to their fans, but also to offer Chinatown restaurants free or discounted concessions at the ballpark.
“We’re counting on the A’s to rise as a member of the community, as a neighbor, and as a good neighbor, not one to wipe out an existing, thriving community,” Lee said.
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Many Chinatown leaders have said they are not against the Howard Terminal Ballpark. They want the A’s to stay in Oakland. But they said the modifications would make it a win-win game plan for the A’s and Chinatown.