Commentary: The foolproof arena proposal that we’ve all been missing

Close to a week later, it still hurts. The battle for a new arena in Seattle seems never-ending and fruitless.

Take into account what basically happened last Monday:
1. Seattle’s City Council wouldn’t approve an arena in a location specifically zoned for arenas.
2. They wouldn’t approve a street vacation after their own Department of Transportation formally recommended it.
3. They sided with the Port of Seattle, which, per Tim Burgess, had failed to produce any tangible evidence that the street vacation would be detrimental.

Only in Seattle.

Really. Only in Seattle, where the arena location in SODO didn’t bother Sally Bagshaw in 2012 when she voted in favor of the arena MOU, but somehow became the Port of Seattle’s strongest council voice against the arena location now.

And my favorite was Lisa Herbold, citing a biased push-poll that found that the majority of registered voters in Seattle don’t think an arena should be a priority.

Okay, I totally get it – it’s a common (misguided) argument: “Why can’t Hansen and his partners fully fund the arena by themselves without any public money?

But one of Herbold’s reasons for voting against the street vacation was that she was worried about the possibility of Hansen fully-funding the arena himself, and starting to build the arena even without the promise of a team. (Under “BEST AND WORST CASE SCENARIOS”)

Note the irony: Herbold supports citizens who prefer a fully-privately funded arena – but one reason she voted no was because of the possibility of a fully-privately funded arena!

Again. Only in Seattle.

After the failed vote, Chris Hansen released this statement: “We now need to take time to step back and evaluate our options, better understand the council’s concerns and find a path forward.”

Well, Chris, it’s my pleasure tonight to introduce a new foolproof plan that the City Council will approve: A state of the art multi-use Velodrome - a bike-friendly facility - just south of Safeco Field.

Because if there’s anything our city leaders value more than the Port of Seattle, it has to be our bikes.

In fact, we can even call it the Pronto Velodrome, where the public bonds are paid back to the city and go directly to funding the fledgling Pronto bike-share program for the next 30 years. It kills two birds with one stone! We’ll even put bike lanes in the arena concourse to ease the flow of fan traffic.

This multi-use Velodrome is the perfect Trojan Horse to bringing the NBA and NHL back to Seattle. The City Council will be blinded by the idea of bikes that they’ll never see it coming: That Hansen can convert this Velodrome into an arena for the Sonics and hockey team to be named later.

Ridiculous? Sure. But it just might work. Because if we’ve learned anything from this whole fiasco, logic – and what’s good for the city – doesn’t always win out.

A backwards arena plan with bikes? Get ready to see a Seattle City Council vote that’s a unanimous... “YES.”