Port workers join in voicing concerns about Seattle arena

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 5:07 PM

Unionized workers at Seattle's port are raising concerns about the proposed location of a new sports arena in SODO, the Port of Seattle said Wednesday.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 has communicated its objections to the arena deal to local government officials, Port officials told KING 5 News's Linda Brill.

The union's concerns echo those expressed this week by the Port of Seattle and the owners of Seattle's Major League Baseball franchise -- they believe a new arena so close to two existing stadiums and the city's port facilities would lead to a transportation nightmare.

Local 19's president, Cam Williams, is scheduled to speak with KING 5 News later Wednesday.

As for the Port of Seattle, a letter sent to the Arena Advisory Commission on Monday stressed the importance of efficient traffic flow for the port.

"International commerce depends on an efficient transportation system, and rapid movement of cargo to and from our terminals, rail yards and logistics centers throughout the SODO area and beyond," wrote Port of Seattle's Linda Styrk.

"We know that spectators begin arriving for events well before the start time, which potentially conflicts with cargo operations in an area that already suffers from congestion. This issue could be magnified in cases of overlapping events at nearby Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field and the Exhibition Center," she added.

"We doubt than an arena could succeed financially at this location, given mitigation costs and necessary scheduling limitations. Without highly restrictive scheduling limitations, traffic gridlock would put all of the area's teams at risk," Mariners Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln wrote Tuesday to local elected leaders.

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