At this writing, the Colorado Rockies, reported to be a Major League Baseball Team, have the second worst record in all of baseball. Only Houston is more humid, and worse off.
No other team in baseball this season has had more runs scored against it. But, fear not, the Rockies seem always to be looking to the future, even if with blinders.
For the first few seasons of their existence, sell-outs were the norm. Greed took the form of revising the original design for Coors Field (a somewhat cozy, baseball-friendly 44,000 seat venue) to add a few thousand more seats, further away from the game, to kick up the revenue. All that seating begat a design for parking lots that runs north along Blake Street, bounded by railroad tracks.
Now, that span of parking sits empty most of the time. Last night, for instance, only 27,000 people elbowed their way into Coors Field. Many, many of those people were from Milwaukee. They didn’t drive to the game. Many thousands more took the Light Rail into Downtown, or parked somewhere else entirely. They did not drive to the game. More people have taken public transit to Rockies games every year.
So attendance is down and the Rockies want to build up…a parking garage…four stories over a full city block between 26th and 27th on Blake Street…80,000 square feet…SIX blocks from the stadium.
According to the neighborhood, the River North Community was completely blindsided by the report of zoning applications that began in May and are, reportedly, about half way through that process. From the residents, “The parking garage is obsolete NOW! While the neighborhood is reconverting old blighted buildings, the stadium district is regressing to archaic forms of development.”
Over the years the Stadium District has wanted more parking, all while attendance has greatly declined and more people take transit, according to the River North Community.
Around the country, there are plenty of examples of major league facilities in urban areas without much in the way of parking. The baseball experience is enhanced when people walk through a business community, alive with residences, restaurants and attractions. It is energizing to the city.
Parking garages are not.
And, by the way, this is the same group that is extracting a $16 million payday from RTD, of all groups, for the no-doubt debilitating loss of 620 unused parking spaces given over to light rail construction. Now, that is really counterproductive to the mission of mass transit.
The Denver Major League Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District needs to be shut out of this game. Just put your Rockies hats on guys, and lose. The garage is not a winner.