Big vote today on street change for proposed Arena | KUOW News and Information

Big vote today on street change for proposed Arena

May 2, 2016

A vote in Seattle City Council Monday afternoon could affect basketball fans, the Port of Seattle and traffic in SODO. Council members will decide whether to give up part of Occidental Avenue to allow for a new arena on the site.

UPDATE: The City Council rejected the proposal in a vote, 5 to 4.

Proponents tried to seal the deal with one final move last week.

Those cheering on the arena proposal want the NBA back in Seattle, after the Supersonics were moved to Oklahoma in 2008. But they've faced a few rivals in the road leading to this vote.

For one, officials with the Seahawks and Mariners were concerned about having an increase in traffic around their stadiums. To mitigate part of those concerns, arena investors formed an agreement with those team owners last week: The arena wouldn't have major events on weekdays between 4:00 and 7:00 pm. As for scheduling games, arena backers say they would try to avoid overlapping with games at Safeco and CenturyLink.

That didn't impress one major opponent, though: the Port of Seattle Commission. President John Creighton says no one asked the Port about scheduling.

Creighton: "Which has really concerned me. You know, as we grow we will likely be operating at all hours of the day and night, and really any increased congestion in that corridor is concerning to us."

At least one City Council member, Sally Bagshaw, is also expected to speak against the proposed arena. She and others think renovating Key Arena for the NBA could be a better option.

If the council approves the Occidental Avenue street change, investors will still need to get an NBA team.