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The Santa Clara 49ers? Team breaks ground on new stadium

Apr 19, 2012, 3:43 PM EDT

im Harbaugh AP

The politics phase is over, and now the hyperbole phase has begun: they’re officially breaking ground on a new 68,500 seat stadium for the 49ers today (live streaming here), with officials hoping it will be ready in time for the 2014 season opener. But to find it, you’ll have to scroll south on Google Earth about 35 miles, to Santa Clara. Although their training facility has been there for years, the Niners will now be officially located in Silicon Valley when this baby is completed.

49ers’ officials say the new Santa Clara stadium is in a better location than Candlestick Park in San Francisco in order to deal with the rush of game day traffic. Especially on rainy days, when getting to the Stick parking lot is a muddy mess.

They are quick to point out that the new Santa Clara stadium will have 11 freeway entry points, compared to Candlestick’s four.

“Fans would likely drive into the area by using Hwy 237 or Hwy 101 and Great America Pkwy, Tasman Avenue, Lafayette, Montague Expressway would all likely get hit hard with game day traffic,” NBC Bay Area traffic reporter Mike Inoyue said. “Local streets would be congested but even more of a concern might be where they will park.”

The 49ers say the new Santa Clara stadium will have more than double the parking that Candlestick has.

All of this is true. But what they don’t tell you is what a traffic nightmare it is right now on that portion of the Peninsula. Conditions on 101, 280 and surrounding roads can be brutal at rush hour, without the 49ers. But the team only plays on Sundays, you say? New stadiums, my friend, attract new businesses. New businesses attract people, seven days a week. San Jose Mercury News:

The Great America amusement park, which had been looking to sell before the stadium became a done deal, signed a long-term lease extension and is building a new roller-coaster. Across the street Joe Montana is the front-man for a planned luxury hotel, restaurant and bar. Separately, officials are reviving talks with a developer interested in building bars, restaurants and dancing spots near the stadium. The Hilton Hotel is considering an expansion. Pro shops and memorabilia stores are expected to pop up to join a new 49ers hall of fame and museum.

Within a block already are the 300,000-square-foot Convention Center, an 18-hole golf course, 2,800 hotel rooms, a massive soccer park, the 49ers training facility, some restaurants and creek-side trails popular with the local tech workers.

Oh, and let’s not forget a 20-seat movie theater complex, a Community College, and Yahoo’s corporate headquarters … all just down the street from the stadium site. Looks like my regular Friday evening Jamba Juice/movie excursion is going to be a thing of the past.

The 49ers have no current plans to change their name, by the way.

And … my God, I just thought of this … what’s going to happen when a horde of tourists descend on Planet Snoopy?

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  1. chumthumper - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Santa Clara/San Jose motto: Don’t trust any air you can’t see.

  2. critter69 - Apr 22, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    How many professional sports teams do NOT have an arena, park, stadium, etc. in their ‘hometown’?

    Just in the NFL:
    Buffalo
    New York Jets
    Miami
    Dallas
    New York Giants
    Washington

    Also, are the New England Patriots in Boston?
    Are the Kansas City Chiefs actually located inside the city limits of Kansas City?
    Are the Arizona Cardinals in Phonix?

    Also remember, before the stadium for the Deadskins was built in Landover, MD. they were searching for a site in Laurel, Maryland (20 miles north of DC)