|Tuesday, February 22, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 100
Whitlock on voting
Ed De La Garza
In the midst of the Rockets' red glare (a glare that stares the city of Houston in the face as if to say, "Build our house, or we're leaving!"), sports fans in the Bayou City are now being fooled by every major sport that resides in, is planning to reside in or is thinking about not residing in Houston.
First, Les Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets and Comets, is fielding offers from other cities after being snubbed by voters for the approval of a downtown arena.
Next, we have Bob McNair, the billionaire who so kindly spent a lot of his money to bring the NFL back to Houston. However, his new football stadium is expected to cost the Houston Sports Authority $35 million extra.
Finally, there's Drayton McLaine Jr. and the Houston Astros. His new baseball stadium is almost built. The first exhibition game scheduled at Enron Field (against the World Series Champion New York Yankees on March 30) is a little more than a month away.
However, a story in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday ("Parking could be field of screams") reported that parking for the new and fancy stadium downtown could be hellish. There will be fewer parking spots than at the Astrodome (the Astros' former home) and the prices for spots could be more than the $5 the Dome charged -- up to $15 more, according to Jay Layden of Central/Allright Parking.
Aren't you glad this new stadium isn't costing us a dime? It only costs up to $29 for a ticket ($85 if you want scalper's price for the first game played at Enron Field) and it could cost up to $20 for parking.
How easy will parking be now? There are a total of 84 lots that can accommodate 13,101 vehicles. The Astrodome parking lot had 23,000 spaces. Of course, keep in mind that there are only 42,000 seats in the new stadium while the Astrodome could seat as many as 54,000.
But, if you mix the downtown traffic and the cars that already use the parking lots for work with the rush of fans attending the game, you have problems.
Just imagine how much more hectic it would be if a basketball arena for downtown is approved. Baseball and basketball share at least the latter part of March, all of April and May and the first part of June (assuming the Rockets make the NBA Finals).
Nevertheless, for the better part of two months, if a downtown arena
is approved for basketball, we'll finally find something worse than Galleria
traffic and UH parking.