SaveMuni joins Warriors arena lawsuit

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From Business Wire:

Opponents of Warriors Proposed S.F. Arena Win Another Court Victory
Judge Rules Transit Advocacy Group Can Join Litigation Opposing Mission Bay Arena

Major Hearing on Mission Bay Alliance Lawsuits this Friday in S.F. Superior Court Against Warriors, City of San Francisco

June 15, 2016 02:11 PM Eastern Daylight Time
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One of the leading San Francisco transit advocacy groups can join opponents of proposed Golden State Warriors Arena as a Plaintiff in the litigation to keep the arena out of Mission Bay, according to a ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong.

“The ill-considered RAB proposals would dump tens of thousands of additional cars a day into vulnerable parts of San Francisco and add billions of tax-payer dollars to the cost of getting Caltrain into downtown San Francisco”

Judge Wong ruled Thursday that SaveMuni, a dedicated association of transit activists, environmentalists and neighborhood leaders, will be allowed to legally join the fight against the Golden State Warriors.

The lawsuit against the Warriors proposed arena, which goes to trial this Friday, June 17 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 503, argues that San Francisco city officials violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other laws by not properly considering alternative locations for the arena and by failing to adequately address the project’s environmental impacts, such as traffic, air quality, and noise. It also argues that the City of San Francisco broke its own development rules and limits under Proposition “M.”

“We are pleased that Judge Wong has allowed SaveMuni to join in this critically important lawsuit,” said SaveMuni spokesperson Jerry Cauthen. “An arena in Mission Bay would cause severe traffic and parking impacts as well as decades of delay in getting the Caltrain trains into downtown San Francisco and we will do everything in our power to stop this from happening.”

SaveMuni – an all-volunteer association of transit activists, environmentalists, neighborhood leaders, and citizens working to improve Muni and other transit services throughout San Francisco – filed a motion last month to formally join the Mission Bay Alliance and other opponents as a plaintiff in its case to protect the Mission Bay neighborhood from the traffic and other adverse environmental impacts of the proposed 18,500-seat basketball arena.

Cauthen said the group was moved to join the case in San Francisco Superior Court after the City unveiled its ill-conceived plan to shift the existing Caltrain alignment to a much less accessible, and much costlier alignment under Third Street, in order to accommodate Mission Bay developers.

“We were shocked and outraged to discover SF City Hall’s plan to derail decades of transit improvements, all for a sports arena,” Cauthen said. “We share the views of many environmentalists and transit activists throughout the city who are deeply concerned over City Hall’s willingness to delay the long awaited Caltrain extension for decades while it sorts out what it wants to do in Mission Bay.”

In January, the Mission Bay Alliance filed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Impact Report of the proposed arena for, among many reasons, not fully exploring all of the disastrous impacts this proposed project will have on transportation throughout the city.

After SaveMuni first became interested in this issue last year, its members testified at the December 8, 2015 Board of Supervisors hearing, expressing concerns about the proposed arena project and its impact on both Mission Bay traffic and citywide transit.

According to a declaration filed as part of SaveMuni’s effort to join the Mission Bay Alliance lawsuit, Cauthen said it was the City’s plans to reroute Caltrain that compelled the group to join in this lawsuit. On February 23, he and other SaveMuni members attended a San Francisco Planning Department presentation regarding the “Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study” (RAB) during which City officials described their proposal to reroute Caltrain through Mission Bay. The RAB proposals, which are being advanced in part to accommodate the developers of the proposed Warriors arena, also include relocating the vital Fourth and King Caltrain rail yard to some remote, and as yet undetermined location, relocating the long-established 4th and King Caltrain station to a less accessible location under 3rd Street and tearing down north end of the I-280 freeway.

“The ill-considered RAB proposals would dump tens of thousands of additional cars a day into vulnerable parts of San Francisco and add billions of tax-payer dollars to the cost of getting Caltrain into downtown San Francisco,” Cauthen said.

Cauthen said the Caltrain realignment would mean abandoning the City’s long-established, voter-approved plan to extend Caltrain from 4th and King to San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center at 1st and Mission. In 1999, San Francisco voters passed Prop. H with 69.3% of the vote, specifying that City Hall place a high priority on the original railway extension and refrain from “taking any actions that would conflict with the extension.” SaveMuni regards City Hall’s pursuit of the RAB proposals to be directly violating the requirements of Prop. H.

“The current downtown Caltrain extension route has already been the subject of intensive environmental, logistical, legal, and financial planning for nearly 20 years,” Cauthen said. “Embarking on a new study of route alternatives at this late date will significantly delay construction of the downtown Caltrain extension and, in doing so, will go against the will of the voters.”

Following the Planning Department presentation, SaveMuni contacted the Mission Bay Alliance seeking to find ways to collaborate on issues of common interest, including traffic impacts caused by the proposed arena and the likelihood that its approval would encourage Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard planners to shift the Caltrain tracks to a subway under Third Street.

The groups mutually determined that adding SaveMuni as a plaintiff would help underscore the significant deficiencies of City Hall’s existing traffic study and management plan and highlight how the City was prepared to uproot decades of planning and engineering to accommodate Mission Bay developers, including the developer of the proposed Arena.

“We are happy that SaveMuni will now be able to join us in speaking out about the disastrous impacts of this project,” said Bruce Spalding of the Mission Bay Alliance. “Support to keep this devastating project out of Mission Bay is growing as more people become aware of its serious and potentially life-threatening flaws.”

About SaveMuni

SaveMuni was established in early 2010 as an all-volunteer, non-profit organization in order to help find ways of improving Muni and the other transit services leading into and serving San Francisco. SaveMuni looks for ways to make the transit services more convenient to more riders and would-be riders. This involves making the connections between services more convenient, reducing transit trip times and improving on-time performance and safety. As part of this effort the organization looks at the institutional and on-street obstacles that stand in the way of consistently convenient and reliable transit service. For more information about SaveMuni, visit www.savemuni.org.

About the Mission Bay Alliance

The Mission Bay Alliance is a coalition of UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty, physicians, nurses and the working men and women of San Francisco who are concerned about the impact of the proposed Golden State Warriors’ stadium on the future of the vibrant community and medical campus at Mission Bay. The Alliance has joined a coalition of world-renowned scientists from UCSF, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the California Nurses Association in calling the proposed Warriors’ arena a “disaster” for Mission Bay. For more information about the Mission Bay Alliance, visit www.missionbayalliance.org. Communications for the Mission Bay Alliance are handled by San Francisco Public Relations Firm Singer Associates. Phone: 415.227.9700 web: www.singersf.com

Contacts
for the Mission Bay Alliance
Sam Singer or Tina Walker
Office: 415-227-9700
Cell: 415-336-4949 or 650-248-1037
sam@singersf.com
tina@singersf.com

 

Original article is here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160615006384/en/Opponents-Warriors-Proposed-S.F.-Arena-Win-Court

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