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Op-Ed: Why give away the street If we don’t have a team?

By Lisa Herbold and Sally Bashaw
Seattle City Councilmenbers

We love our local sports teams. Consider the fun we’ve had of late with the Seahawks, the Storm, the Sounders, the Mariners, the Huskies, the Redhawks and more. What’s missing? The beloved Seattle SuperSonics.

On May 2, the City Council will be voting to consider a petition to vacate a portion of Occidental Avenue South, a public right-of-way in SODO. This would allow Mr. Hansen’s proposed arena to move toward a permitting and design phase. But the street vacation is premature. He has no NBA team.

We definitely want our SuperSonics to return, but Council decisions must not be based on wishful thinking. Just last week, NBA Commissioner Silver stated that even if Seattle approved the street vacation, having a shovel-ready arena is “not a factor” in expansion considerations. None of the 30 owners wants to sell, and collectively they don’t want to expand. We oppose this street vacation for three primary reasons. First, the street vacation petition would add to congestion, forcing buses, cars, and freight to compete for street space in SODO.

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