No More Stadium Stuff

You shouldn’t be willing to make your opinion public without also being willing to admit you’re wrong every once in a while.  Well, I’m willing to admit I was wrong when I said that I wouldn’t write about the stadium again.  In addition, certain… facts…. came to light this morning that made much of what I wrote yesterday pointless at best and inaccurate at worst.  For starters, a site plan is out:

Very good news for 11th Ave – it seems that the stadium will merely cantilever over the roadway, expelling doomsday scenarios about closure or tunnels.  It may actually be an improvement over today’s 11th Ave, gusty with parking-lot reinforced winds.  We’ll have to wait for something more detailed to be sure, however.

Potential plaza problems remain, although apparently stealing the morgue from Hennepin County is no longer being considered.  The plaza depicted is about the same size as the Morgue Plaza I considered yesterday, but is potentially better enclosed by theoretical buildings.  A new worry, however, is this “Open Space Gameday Tailgating” loaded with so many contradictory purposes that the cartoonist just gave up and colored it green.  There is no way that a space used for tailgating will be in any way green.  Even if they use grow-through pavers, this will still be a parking lot.  Anyone who’s been to the Renaissance Festival knows what I’m talking about – what was a pleasant country meadow becomes a muddy pig sty once it’s filled with cars.  And speaking of, what the hell are those mysterious gray blobs north of the Armory?

They sure aren’t the Star and Tribune Building, which I guess isn’t historic but sure is classy.  If its destruction is inevitable it will be missed by one person at least.

Despite releasing a new summary of financing, no more details have been released, and in fact some have been obscured: parking is not mentioned in this new summary.  The ever-wary newsole has pointed out that the summary from 35W Financial uses both the words “meters” and “stalls”, implying a distinction that can be explained by assuming the latter refers to spaces in parking ramps.  I haven’t seen anything to confirm this, but if it’s true it would render much of what I said yesterday inaccurate.  In the interest of containing further inaccuracy, I’m going to button my lips about this.  Um… thanks for reading?!?!  This is absolutely definitely the last thing I’m going to say about a stadium forever I promise cross my heart.  Probably.

More Stadium Stuff

A region of spacetime from which nothing can escape

My Rybak post the other day, though intended to be less about the stadium itself and more about what what we would be better off building instead of a stadium, prompted me to think a bit more than I wanted to about the Metrodome site for a new Vikings stadium.  Specifically a revelation about the plan to capture parking meter revenue prompted me to write a whole new post for this, but there are a couple other pieces I’d like to cover as well, and hopefully this post will prompt a catharsis that will put the whole topic out of my head.  Bear with me, please.

Meter madness

Minnescraper user newsole pointed out that it appears that only parking meter revenue from days with Vikings games would be dedicated to the stadium.  The plan doesn’t explicitly say that, but it does say that in the first year $842,500 would be raised from “1,000 Meters at $25 Plus 1,975 Meters at $30 each”, which newsole mathed out to “1000 meters x $25 + 1975 parking spots x 30 = $84,250 per game.  10 home games = $842,500 the first year.”  Convincing, but it does raise even more issues in my head.

Treasure Map

First, the cost of operating parking meters is not nothing.  Since this plan uses almost half the meters in the system, it presumably would represent almost half the daily cost of running the system.  (We’ll ignore the fact that these should be some of the more expensive meters to operate; since they are some of the highest-demand meters they are the ones that will offer the highest ROI for enforcement, so the city should also be spending more time enforcing them.  I don’t know if it actually does, though.)  However, the plan dedicates all of the revenue from these meters to the stadium, leaving other meters to cover their cost.  This is probably a relatively small cost, but it does remove revenue from other meters that would otherwise go to the general fund, so effectively more meters than the plan states will be going to stadium costs.  Presumably this is omitted from the plan out of laziness more than deceptiveness.  It’s not clear that the meter revenue is an attempt to present a veneer of user tax, and if it is, a bit more thought will show that to be untrue, as my next point may indicate.

Second, if 2,975 meters are dedicated to the stadium, some of them are going to be far enough from the stadium to be unintuitive for use as game parking.  Assuming 14 spaces per block face without curb cuts, the 227 block faces east of Marquette and north of 11th would account for 3,178 spaces, so presumably that’s the approximate area being considered for revenue capture.  But it’s hard to imagine someone cruising past all those ample lots in East Downtown still looking for a meter.  Because of the huge numbers of meters involved, this is going to be true regardless of where the line is drawn.  Many of these areas are nonetheless high-intensity destinations, and thus likely to suck in parkers despite the distance from the stadium.  But is it realistic to expect full occupancy all day?  Which brings me to….

Third, football games seem interminable to me, but my understanding is that in reality they only last 3 hours.  In some cases, people will arrive early and stay downtown all night before driving home.  These party animals may pay for a full day’s worth of parking, although my guess is that it would be rare for them to arrive at 8am, and those football fans that stay past dinner will be the exception.  I don’t know what the specific pricing plan is, but the current max rate of $2 per hour would net $30 per day if it were in use for the longest meter time, 8am to 11pm, currently only applied in the Warehouse District.  To get $30 per day for a more realistic estimate of a typical Vikings fan’s visit, say 6 hours, the rate would have to be $5 per hour, more than double the current highest rate and five times more than current rates around the dome.  Maybe people would pay – I don’t think that’s any higher than event parking in lots, and it would offer the advantage of not having to wait in line to exit the lot.  But it still seems unrealistic to expect the full daily amount at almost 3,000 spaces on every game day.  To get that, we’d probably need a Vikings team that’s a lot better than we’ve seen in a while.

Going with the wind

Will East Downtown get this...

Someone needs to tell Ted Mondale or R.T. Rybak the old proverb about the devil you know, since the vagueness of the East Downtown proposal seems giving birth to monsters in the minds of key stakeholders.*  This problem is compounded by the fact that the Metrodome sit has gone through several cuts of revisions, to the point where it makes up at least 6 mostly contradictory entries on Bill’s Top 19 Renderings list, the most recent of which I think is #19 on this list, summarized by the author as “I have no idea what is going on with this. Are those trees?”

This key stakeholder confusion bubbled over into an even more obfuscatory Star Tribune article about how some local counties’ morgues might merge and how mad Rich Stanek is about it, or something.  Anyway, the story reports the Emperor Mondale offered the county morgue as tribute to the Vikings in the form of a plaza.  If the team magnanimously accepts this offering and Hennepin County’s petty objections can be pushed aside, it would create a plaza of around 6.5 acres.  Apparently added to that would be the balance of the Metrodome’s footprint after the new stadium was built to the east but overlapping it to some unknown degree.

...or this?

For comparison’s sake, Elliot Park is 6.44 acres.  Plazas of that size are usually described as barren and windswept.  The U’s West Bank has been described as such despite having much smaller contiguous open spaces.  Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, however, is about the same size and has been often praised, but has the benefit of being more park-like, with rows of trees and shrubs breaking up the space.   We don’t have many clues as to what kind of plaza we’ll get, but the existing nothingness of East Downtown’s** streetscape prejudices me into the assumption that it will be more Tienanmen than Millennium.

11th hour for 11th Ave

Reuben discussed the fate of 11th Ave S on streets.mn recently.  The pliability of this street is apparently responsible for the feasibility of the Metrodome plan, as by sacrificing itself it allows the Vikings to avoid playing at the U of M while the new stadium is under construction.  But, as with the possible proposed plaza, details are scarce on just how 11th will be plied.

11th Ave Complete Street Tunnel

Reuben’s discussion pretty much nailed my concerns about the physical result of tussling with 11th – closing it would further isolate the already freeway-carved neighborhoods, there is a danger of severing or rendering less useful the crucial bike route, and decking the new stadium over 11th would probably accomplish those things and create quasi-freeway conditions that would endanger the usability of the street beyond the covered segment.  My concern is more about the process – while 11th Ave doesn’t have metrowide significance, it’s pretty damn important to the neighborhoods it runs through.  If the worst boogiemen are realized about the stadium plan, and 11th ends up tunnelized or severed, this will have been a significant change to local infrastructure that was initiated with almost no public input.  I believe that EISes are usually waived for sports palaces like these, and I’ve heard no sign that the public will even be able to see the plan before it’s finalized, much less comment on it.  Probably the most galling thing about it is that this type of top-down democracy is coming from touchy-feely democrats like Mark Dayton and R.T. Rybak.  (The latter has been quoted as refusing to hold a referendum on the plan, saying “The referendum is when I stand for re-election.”  The Mayor has that right, at least.)    Mark Dayton, of whom I’m a huge fan, keeps rattling on about a “People’s Stadium” but has forgotten to invite the actual people.  It’s amazing the hypocrisy that is exposed when a popular millionaire asks for a handout.

Are you done yet?

Whew.  I hope that’s all I have to say about this stadium for a while.  Hopefully you found something more interesting to read before you got to this part.  If not, I promise not to do this to you again until at least 2016, when we all will start getting Stadium Investment Capture taxes deducted from our paychecks.

*I faintly remember a blissful time in my life before I was aware of the word stakeholder.

http://www.minnpost.com/two-cities/2012/01/council-members-balk-current-minneapolis-stadium-plan-most-are-staying-flexible

Rybak to the Future?

Two quotes from recent Star Tribune articles:

In 2007, the city estimated that a West Broadway streetcar line would cost $154 million.

-Minneapolis considers ways to get North Side rolling

Under the preliminary deal, the city would contribute $150 million in construction costs to the downtown Minneapolis project.

-Tentative Vikings stadium deal is set

Not even the Mayor can make it across Mpls' traffic-choked streets

Mayor may not be good

R.T. Rybak hasn’t been a bad mayor.  I voted for him in 2009, when no one ran against him.  I also voted for him in 2005, because Peter McLaughlin, the better candidate, can do more as a Hennepin County Commissioner than as Mayor of Minneapolis.  I didn’t vote for him in 2001, although in retrospect he may have been the not-baddest candidate.

The problem with calling Rybak a good mayor is that he really hasn’t done anything good.  Looking closely at his accomplishments, you find that they are really more not-failures.  A lesser mayor might have fumbled the city’s finances, as happened to municipalities around the nation.  A lesser mayor might not have won the pension fund fight.  A lesser mayor might not have picked up the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program handed to the City on a silver platter by Jim Oberstar.

Rybak would to have to be high to say no to free money for bikes

Not doing anything good doesn’t mean he’s done anything bad, but neither has there been anything that has noticeably improved quality of life in Minneapolis – nothing Rybak can really take credit for, anyway.  Sure, crime has plummeted, but that has been mirrored by a nationwide decline in crime.  Ok, there has been renewed investment in multifamily housing, but that is also a nationwide trend, and isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen in previous decades.  Cool, new bike lanes, but should Rybak be lauded for not rejecting free money from the Federal government?

Doing good things costs money, and Rybak has clearly chosen a cautious fiscal path over signature projects.  The problem is that not spending money can have a cost also – how much does it cost the city to lose Target IT jobs to Brooklyn Center?  To have flat population growth?  To have no change in the share of residents driving alone to work?  Most Minneapolitans have sat on our concerns, not really interested in arguing against fiscal stability in a time of recession and red ink.

Wintertime for the wise ant

Stop that dog! She's got Mpls' only revenue stream!

But now, it seems, Rybak has admitted that we do have some money to spend, which he is proposing to spend on a playground for millionaires that will be vacant 345 days out of the year.  My disposition is in favor of large public works projects, but after a decade of frugality, there are about a million things I’m ready to splurge on before a stadium.  MPR has the most details I’ve seen about the proposed financing plan, which apparently has a $55m hole.  I have to admit that I’m a bit puzzled by the documents provided by 35W Financial, but I think the hole is in up front costs (the city’s $314m contribution would be $164m in capital costs and the rest in operating, I think).  Still, one detail jumped out at my tiny brain:  around $31m over the 30 year life of the plan would come from parking revenue.  I’ll explain why that sounds familiar.

Around 50 years after the City’s Public Works Department decided that the area’s low-density development patterns did not “warrant the capital investment in a fixed rail rapid transit system”, they’ve decided to study fixed rail after all, albeit not rapid transit.  In Minneapolis streetcars are on the drawing board rather than on the street because the city sat on their preliminary planning efforts in the belief that there were no funds available, thereby missing all the free money that started raining down in 2009, when the federal money in programs like Small Starts, TIGER, and Urban Circulators was awarded to better-prepared cities.

Transit or stadiums?

For the most part, the feds dole out matching grants, so there needs to be a local source as well.  In addition, only capital costs come from Washington, so the City looked into sources of operating funds.  In various funding scenarios, the City looked at capturing $350k-665k per year from parking meter revenues, which the report implies would be 25-75% of a 25% increase in meter revenue.  Meanwhile the stadium plan captures 100% of revenue from 2,975 meters – almost half the City’s 6800 meters – at $25 and $30 a day, a 25-50% increase on the current max rate of $20 a day.  It seems unlikely there would be anything left for streetcars.  (Edit:  Minnescraper user newsole and commenter Brad below have both pointed out that it’s likely that only game-day revenue from the meters would be dedicated to the stadium.  That means there would likely be something left for streetcars.  However, there are still several problems with the plan to capture meter revenue for the stadium, and I’m collecting them into a miscellaneous stadium post that if you’re lucky I’ll never get around to actually posting.)

I’m not necessarily in favor of streetcars.  Although there are certainly some routes that would justify them, it seems likely that a wiser move would be to spread streetcar money out to a wider range of routes using much cheaper Baby BRT improvements.  (All the Minneapolis segments of the proposed Rapid Bus routes could be built for $145.6m, coincidentally close to the West Broadway streetcar estimate and Minneapolis’ contribution to the stadium capital costs.)  In addition, I’m skeptical that a short segment of streetcar would draw many users, or if implemented mostly in the Downtown Fare Zone it would generate as much revenue as a bus.  The point is that transit improvements are much more desperately needed in Minneapolis and would be a much bigger benefit to the city than a stadium would be.  Certainly building a stadium would be a huge and visible reminder of Rybak’s legacy, but he faces a tough job convincing Minneapolis voters that the Minnesota Vikings need to be paid for by Minneapolis.

Trouble, more trouble

Stolen from the NY Times

Besides, there’s another huge and visible reminder of Rybak’s legacy, although it’s one that he’d like to forget.  North Minneapolis was in rough shape before Rybak was first elected, of course, and he has made both visible and holistic efforts at addressing the area’s pervasive and unique problems.  But it was also on Rybak’s watch that the neighborhood lost 10,000 residents, suffered thousands of foreclosures (6,243 from 2006 to 2011, 45% of the city’s 13,842 total in that time frame), and consistently and deeply declined in median income.

I’m not so petty as to blame Rybak for market conditions that created ample credit or lax regulation that allowed mortgage brokers to stoop to new lows of fraud and discrimination.  And I’m not aware of any city that took matters into its own hands by creating its own loan modification program to assist underwater homeowners.  But there’s no question Minneapolis could have created such a program, at least after 2009, when restrictions were lifted on the sales tax that is now being proposed for use on a fancy playground for the Vikings.

Are the stars out tonight?

Minneapolis already dabbles in the mortgage game through the Minneapolis Advantage program, which was created in 2008 to create an incentive to buy homes that are “foreclosed, vacant, or in a high foreclosure-impacted neighborhood”.  This program is now funded by HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 funds and may be considered a success, in that it’s assisted almost 350 home purchases, presumably some of which wouldn’t have happened without the program.  In that case it would be a small success, notable if you compare those 350 purchases to the total number of foreclosures listed a couple paragraphs up.

A longer-standing program is the City Living program, a more complex program that provides both interest rate subsidy and second mortgages in Minneapolis and St Paul.  It’s hard for me to say for sure without more details than I can find on each of these programs, but it’s likely one or both could have been modified to provide refinancing to homeowners at risk of foreclosure, although probably at greater expense.  Home values in North Minneapolis dropped by at least 50% (probably more), which is a substantial amount for the City to make up.  But almost $30m a year of the sales tax would be diverted to Palazzo Wilf, so even if the City were eating up to $40k per mortgage, more than twice as many homes could be salvaged per year than the Minneapolis Advantage program has affected in its lifespan.

The sense of an ending

Why not let a city that can afford it pay for a stadium? Enter the SouthDome!

A big question with a City-sponsored mortgage modification program is whether the banks would participate; several have resisted a federal-level program with the cowboyish reasoning that modifications would encourage more widespread default.  I mention this to emphasize how many of the forces that have resulted in Rybak’s meh mayoralty were beyond his control.  One thing that is not beyond his control, though, is whether to spend the City’s long-awaited fiscal freedom on a sports facility that at best debatably benefits the city.  As a cynic, I can only assume that he thinks he can get the stadium built against the will of most Minneapolitans, then park in the mayor chair until a statewide office is up for nomination, which he’ll then use his Stadium Builder legacy to win.  He may be right about the third part of that plan, but he shouldn’t assume that he will be mayor by default.  A majority are against using city money on a stadium in the first place.  When they realize what they could have had, it seems likely that most will pass on their fourth chance to vote for him.

Driver, take me to my stadium

All images are conceptual

The largest public works project in Minnesota’s history (as long as you don’t combine the segmented construction of any metro-area freeway) recently kicked into high gear, but it’s possible it won’t hold the crown for long.  The Bullet Factory Vikings stadium proposal has a base cost of $884m, plus around $173m for “on-site infrastructure, parking, [and] environmental needs” – and in addition there are $131-240m in highway improvements needed to handle the traffic that would be drawn to the site.  That’s a grand total of $1.2-1.3b for the Bullet Factory site, although there it’s also possible still that the Metrodome site would be reused instead, which apparently isn’t pricey enough to steal Central LRT’s crown of costliness.

Free marketeers like to pretend that it’s just a coincidence that our era is seeing unprecedented wealth simultaneously with unprecedented suffering (while middle-class Americans pretend that neither exists), but we need to recognize that money is a fuel that feeds a firestorm of inequality that spreads a smoke blanket of starvation.  Government may not be the best tool we have to fight this process, but it certainly is the biggest tool we have.  The USA is a nation where Christians decry the spending of their tax dollars on foreign aid, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if we decide to spend a billion dollars on houses for millionaires in tights while thousands of Minnesotans sleep in their cars or under bridges…

…and so on.  I went on a similar rant when the Twins stadium deal went down, but I have to admit that I’m happy with it now that it’s up and running.  Why?  Besides a fondness for monumental public structures, I like to go to the library on Mondays.  The bonuses involved probably got some politicians on board for that project, support it desperately needed.

So why isn’t Ramsey County sweetening the pot with its Bullet Factory plan?  Certainly the plan is ambitious enough, but it’s also missing support from many Ramsey County politicians.  Maybe they’d get on board if the plan included youth sports, libraries, or…. here it comes…. transit!

Mulad recently had a great post about rail lines to the Bullet Factory that could be upgraded to commuter rail for the stadium.  A dedicated rail line to a suburban sports complex isn’t unprecedented in this country, but is certainly unusual.  Given the “uncertainties” surrounding the Twin Cities’ only commuter rail line, that mode seems unlikely.

I'll take all three

But I was intrigued by Mulad’s idea of “a light-rail-sized diesel multiple-unit (DMU) train could run along the Central Corridor and diverge when it hit the UMN Transitway, then do a flyover to get past the heavy rail operations at Union Yard, and then run on heavy rail tracks.”  I hadn’t really considered that corridor for transit upgrades, but it does after Mulad pointed it out, I noticed that it does run between two major employment clusters (Rosedale and Mid-City), and although there isn’t much residential along it, what’s there is pretty dense.

Here is a chart showing how Mulad’s corridor (which I named Hunting Valley after the old name for 280, shown in green on the map) compares with two other nearby possible corridors (I named the Central Ave NE alignment New Boston after a name for the Central & Lowry area that no one has used for almost a century, because unfortunately the name Central Corridor is already taken – why didn’t they call it the Midway Corridor?).  These are totals from TAZ districts that adjoin the lines depicted on the map, and the numbers are from 2000, and have changed a bit (also I only used those TAZes north of the Central Corridor, or the river in the case of the New Boston line).

TAZ stats for 3 corridors

Obviously the Hunting Valley is hurting for population, but it holds its own in terms of employment (although none of these corridors do very well in that measure – the Central Corridor even excluding Downtown Minneapolis reaches 120,000 jobs).  Plus it has the advantage of being much cheaper than New Boston or Snelling, since it is mostly already built on exclusive right-of-way (there is the small matter of buying out the MNNR, but theoretically the track could be rented back to them for night use).  Even though Hunting Valley wouldn’t need as frequent service as Hiawatha or Central, 5th St probably couldn’t handle the additional trains – my understanding is that it can only handle a slight increase in frequency on Hiawatha and/or Central.

St Paul shows the gaps in the Hi-Frequency Network

Anyway I doubt if anyone could handle the pucker-inducing degree of sweetness that adding a light rail line would bring to this deal – even the relatively cheap Hunting Valley line would probably cost too much for belt-tightening times.  A more affordable sweetener for the stadium pot would be an upgrade of bus service in St Paul, including upgrading the 84 possibly to BRT-ish levels.  The western triangle of St Paul has the density for good bus service, but has only a smattering of routes running across it, and those at low frequencies.  My guess is that comes out of the bus routes’ archaic orientation toward Downtown St Paul, and I’ll deal with that issue in a later post.

Fly in for a game

There are a lot of ways to handle a beefed up Snelling BRT, and I’m not going to weigh in on any particular one, except to advocate that it go south to the airport instead of west to the 46th St Hiawatha station. That adds a few miles to the route, but also thousands more jobs, as well as the obvious connections to air routes.  The northern terminus in this scenario would of course be Zygi’s Sprawl City, and it would also hit the job cluster at Hamline & 694, which is amazingly suburban but still might draw some riders.

Though Minneapolis would look with envy at Snelling’s 100 foot width through most of St Paul, it might be politically difficult to create bus lanes here, especially in the parking-desperate Midway.  I’m not sure it would be necessary though – despite heavy volumes, I haven’t seen a lot of congestion on Snelling in St Paul proper.  It would be interesting to see what effect a higher frequency 84 with prominent stations and off-board payment would do to traffic levels on the street.

Fittingly, since the funding for this BRT sweetener would come from an ongoing tax (presumably added onto the sales tax) most of the money could go to operations in the form of higher frequency on the 84 (and the 21, to fill the hi frequency gap).  I’m not even going to guess how much this would cost, but I would think less than the Cedar BRT where $135m is buying 8 park-and-rides and 9 miles of “dedicated” shoulders.  Here is a list of the capital needs I can think of for a Snelling BRT, in the order they arrive to my head:

  • 2 to 4 park-and-rides Possibilities include at 36 (or Cty Rd B), Cty Rd C, Cty Rd E and 694 (or Cty Rd F); these would all be modest park-and-rides since they wouldn’t draw Downtown crowds.
  • Stop consolidation  With routes spaced at every mile, I can’t in good conscience advocate 1/4 mile spacing, although there would still be opportunity for consolidation in some places.  Eventually, there should be bus routes running north and south every half-mile, at which point stops should be consolidated to every 1/4 mile.
  • Enhanced stations  These would primarily serve branding purposes since there probably wouldn’t be enough of them to ensure quality or comfort at every stop.  But at transfer stops, they could include ticket machines and real-time displays, in addition to higher-quality architecture.  At Como and Energy Park there should be stairs and elevators to the below-grade intersecting streets.
  • Signal Preemption  I haven’t heard the results of the route 10 test with signal preemption, but in theory it make the travel time more competitive with cars.

I in no way advocate building a football stadium with taxpayer money – local TV stations are subsidized enough through their undervalued broadcasting permits.  But if it must be done, throw a little sugar in that bowl by improving Ramsey County’s transit along with its sports facilities.  Don’t forget – there are some citizens of Ramsey County who will pay for that stadium with every purchase they make, but won’t be able to even gaze on it without a car.  Every Minnesotan should be able to enjoy the biggest public works project in Minnesota history.

Whither the football?

An interesting pair of articles has popped up in the last couple days that could have a significant impact on Downtown Minneapolis.

Today, the Strib reports on discussions that the Vikings have been having with Ramsey, Anoka and Washington counties to build a new stadium at the Arden Hills Army Ammunition Plant site.  This gigantic site (with nice topography) has room for almost one hundred stadia (based on dividing the 2400 acres of the site by the 25 acres of the Metrodome site); the article mentions discussions about maybe putting a hotel or two around the stadium.  Although limited by the likely failure of imagination of the elected officials in Shoreview, there is room for significant development here, and a stadium could be a catalyst.

Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias, a man who seems to have an opinion about everything, makes a convincing argument that football stadia belong on the periphery.  He compares the facilities, which he claims are “empty 95 percent of the time,” to farms and airports for their low intensity of land use.  The desolate streets around the Metrodome seem to corroborate this comparison.

Even if we accept the argument that football stadiums make bad neighborhoods, and therefore they should not take up any space that has urban potential, we face the question of fair access.  In the United States, we have decided to require citizens to use a car to access the majority of our urban areas.  At the same time, stadiums can improve the general perception of transit, even if they don’t do much for ridership numbers.  Would a shuttle to Lakeville Stadium be enough?