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LETTER: Better Analysis Should Drive Ballpark Plan

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Because I do not believe the mayor's proposed Shockoe ballpark is logistically possible given the current and expected volume of traffic and the available street infrastructure, I requested a copy of the underlying traffic study relied on by the project. The Shockoe Bottom Preliminary Traffic and Parking Analysis, dated Aug. 14 and performed by Timmons Group, was released to City Council at the Nov. 19 committee meeting and was supposedly made available to the public as well.

After much specific review I believe the Timmons traffic analysis is flawed in so many fundamental ways that it cannot be relied on in any way, shape or form. Absent of any effort by the city to let the public know about the traffic analysis, I sent a copy of it along with my critique to City Council and the media. The list of errors and omissions is too long for this letter but includes relying on traffic counts from a 2008 study, expecting 300 apartments instead of the 750 proposed, no mention of a hotel, and no accounting for the traffic and parking implications of any Shockoe development already in the pipeline — not even the city's own Main Street Station build-out project. Worst of all, the analysis provides no expected numbers for stadium traffic "because stadium visitors will routinely arrive and depart during off-peak hours, when background traffic volumes are significantly lower."

A project of this magnitude requires a scientific determination that the development and all its traffic and parking implications can be handled by the available infrastructure — the business community makes its living by following this rule. The Timmons analysis doesn't prove the Shockoe development is possible and I don't believe it is right to go forward with any more discussion until the public is provided with an analysis that scientifically proves it is possible.

Therefore, I am calling for a new and more intensive traffic and parking analysis to be performed, monitored by City Council with resident input. Once it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Shockoe can handle the traffic and parking implications of such a development, then we can go through the contentious process of deciding whether we want it there.

Rick Tatnall
Richmond

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