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Rays: 14,000 spaces available for most games



UPDATE (7:55 p.m.) -- Here, again, is the link to Tampa Bay Rays' parking and traffic analysis. And here is the link to the additional details on the stadium design. Both documents also are available at the Rays' web site, Click on the tab "Press."

UPDATE (4:10 p.m.) -- On the question of the Rays kicking people out of parking spaces, I asked that question to the traffic consultant, and they said their estimates only include unused or available spaces during the times when baseball games would be played. How'd they do that? They actually observed the lots and garages during February (a busier time of year, they say) to see what spaces are and are not being used. Enjoy the debate.

UPDATE (4:05 p.m.) -- The study includes an interesting graphic that, for the most part, is unrelated to either parking or traffic. It details where Rays' season ticket holders live. Forty-six percent of season ticket holders, almost half, live outside Pinellas County, and less than 30 percent live in St. Petersburg.

UPDATE (3:50 p.m.) -- The critical assumption of the parking analysis is that 19 private lots open their doors for baseball (The analysis does not include smaller lots or church lots that may want to get in the baseball parking business). The consultant suggests they'll have a financial incentive to do so. The lots are: St. Petersburg College Center; Wachovia Bank parking lot; Progress Energy building garage; Christ United Methodist Church lot; Muncipal Services Center garage; BB&T Building garage; SunTrust Building garage; St. Mary's Church lot; St. Petersburg Times lots; Synovus Bank lot; Municpal Lot 68; State Office Building lot, Mirror Lake; Pinellas County Courthouse garage; 501 Building garage; Courthouse Square lots; A.G. Edwards & Sons lots; Bayfront Medical West garage and Heart Center garage; All Children's Hospital South garages; USF-St. Petersburg lots. The Rays have or will have letters of interest from three of the largest parking providers, USF-St. Pete, Bayfront and All Children's.

UPDATE (3:25 p.m.) -- Aside from where people will park, much of the study discusses the traffic the extra cars will bring downtown. The highly technical analysis can be hard to understand, but the consultant in charge of the study, David Wallace, just said in an interview with the Times that St. Petersburg's grid and insterstate system makes the Rays' proposal possible.

UPDATE (2:40 p.m.) -- So, here'e what we're talking about. You can see the orange rings coming out from the proposed stadiun. Inside the first ring is a 5-10 minute walk, according to the consultant. Inside ring 2 is 10-15 minutes, and inside the third ring is up to a 25-minute walk. When all added up, the Rays say there will be 10,700 spaces within the third ring available for baseball fans on weekday nights. The number increases slightly for weekend games.


UPDATE: (2:30 p.m.) -- The study presents a science that is, at times, difficult to follow. The consultant, at one point, starts with a total of 17,000 off-street parking spaces within 3/4 a mile of Al Lang Field (5,000 within 1/4 mile, another 6,000 between 1/4 and 1/2 mile, and 6,000 between 1/2 and 3/4 miles). But the study eliminates 20 percent of the farthest away spaces because they would be less desirable. It also factors in a retail tenant occupying space, and therefore parking spaces, in the city's Southcore Garage. It makes assumptions that smaller parking lots will be less used, and bigger lots will be completely full. There's a great image that we're working to post that will detail what spaces the consultant's talking about.

UPDATE (2:15 p.m.) -- Because they're relying on the parking spaces of private businesses to make their numbers work, the Rays' consultants say only 6,800 spaces may be available when the Rays play a weekday afternoon game (Rays estimate 4-6 times a year). The Rays already run "camp" days for student groups on weekday, day games and could continue to do so in the new ballpark.

UPDATE (2 p.m.) -- Part of the parking plan calls for "pre-selling" up to 4,000 spaces to fans, based on zip codes. Fans coming from the south would park in southern spaces. Fans from the north would park in the north. The consultant suggests this strategy has worked in urban ballparks in Pittsburgh and San Diego. It's unclear if this would be for each individual game or only season ticket holders.

UPDATE (1:45 p.m.) -- We're just starting through these documents, but a couple of points stand out based on what we've seen so far. The Rays are assuming, using 2005 parking and tickets sales, a rate of 2.9 people per car. In that scenario, the team believes it only needs around 12,000 spots. The "available" spaces are within 3/4 a mile of the proposed new stadium and inlcude 2,000 spaces at Tropicana Field. The analysis assumes those spaces will only be used for near-sellout games and ticket holders would use a shuttle to reach the field.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays are releasing today  details of a parking and traffic management study that suggest there are nearly 14,000 parking spaces available for baseball games if a new stadium was built at Al Lang Field.

The number of spaces available does not include another 7,000 on-street parking spaces that would be available to downtown businesses and residents.

The study, performed by national consultant Rumme, Klepper & Kahl, found several companies willing to work with the Rays to find parking solutions -- including All Children's Hospital, Bayfront Medical Center and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

"Ensuring convenient access and adequate parking for the ballpark and other downtown attractions is critical to the success of downtown St. Petersburg and the Rays," Rays senior vice president Michael Kalt said in a release issued around noon Tuesday. "The Rays are committed to on-going coordination with the City of St. Petersburg, downtown residents, and institutions to minimize the traffic and parking impacts of the new ballpark and to attract new visitors to the downtown, its businesses, and its waterfront amenities."

We're starting to analyze the results of the study in more detail. You can see it for yourself here. But the release also says that of 32 "key intersections analyzed in the downtown area, only one minor physical intersection improvement would be needed to accommodate the flow of inbound and outbound traffic before and after baseball games."

The Rays also Tuesday submitted preliminary design details for the proposed 34,000 seat stadium to the city. Concepts highlighted include:

* Ballpark roof and façade design;
* The relationship of the proposed ballpark to the surrounding community;
* Potential public amenities;
* Streetscape improvement ideas;
* And sustainability goals.

You can review that document here

-- Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:34am]


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