Mission Bay Proposal is “Disaster” for Life Sciences, UCSF
Leaders Call on S.F. Mayor Ed Lee to Abandon Proposed Arena and Protect Biotech/Life Sciences in S.F. from “Critical Harm”
San Francisco – A coalition of world-renowned scientists from the University of California at San Francisco and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences today said the proposed Golden State Warriors’ Arena in Mission Bay would be a “disaster” for the City’s growing biotech and life science hub and called for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to abandon the proposed plans.
The UCSF scientists joined the California Nurses Association and the Mission Bay Alliance, a coalition of UCSF employees, stakeholders and neighbors who oppose the 18,500-seat arena and entertainment center, in their decisive opposition of the proposed project, saying it would threaten “the entire future of UCSF as the center of a world-class academic/biotech/medical complex.”
“Our major fear is that the Mission Bay site will lose its appeal – not only for the new biomedical enterprises that the city would like to attract here, but also for most of its current occupants,” according to the letter, which was delivered to Mayor Lee and signed by more than 20 of UCSF’s leading scientists and researchers.
“The result could critically harm not only UCSF, but also the enormously promising, larger set of biomedical enterprises that currently promises to make San Francisco the envy of the world,” the letter said.
The letter sites traffic gridlock as a leading concern for both residents accessing UCSF’s emergency services and for the hospital workers and scientist and researchers who have turned Mission Bay into one of the most “prominent academic-industry biotechnology/medical complexes in the world.”
“It is unavoidable that terrible, and possibly even life-threatening, traffic congestion will be associated with the planned complex, given that it is intended to be the site of some 220 events per year, held both in the evening and during the day,” wrote the scientists. “Many of us have experienced the hours-long gridlock that paralyzes all Mission Bay streets before and after San Francisco Giants home games. The absolute paralysis that it creates is already a non-trivial problem, which the planned stadium promises to both greatly expand and intensify.”
The UCSF faculty who signed the letter are among the most prestigious and acclaimed scientists in the world and include Bruce Alberts, UCSF Chancellor’s Leadership Chair for Biochemistry and Biophysics for Science and Education, who is the former president of the National Academy of Sciences, a membership organization of the world’s leading scientists and Noble Prize winners. Other signatories include:
- Elizabeth Blackburn, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Nobel laureate
- James Cleaver, Professor of Dermatology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
- John A. Clements, Professor of Pediatrics and Julius H. Comroe Professor of Pulmonary Biology, Emeritus
- Robert Fletterick, Professor of Biochemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
- Carol Gross, Professor of Microbiology
- Christine Guthrie, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Lily Jan, Professor of Physiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Yuh-Nung Jan, Professor of Physiology
- Alexander Johnson, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Cynthia Kenyon, Emeritus Professor, UCSF, and Vice President, Aging Research, Calico Life Sciences
- Gail Martin, Professor Emerita, Department of Anatomy
- Frank McCormick, Professor Emeritus, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, David A. Wood Distinguished Professorship of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research
- Ira Mellman, Professor (Adjunct) of Biochemistry and Biophysics
- William J. Rutter, Chairman Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry, and Chairman, Synergenics LLC
- John Sedat, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics
- Michael Stryker, William Francis Ganong Professor of Physiology
- Peter Walter, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics
- Arthur Weiss, Professor of Medicine, and of Microbiology and Immunology
- Zena Werb, Professor of Anatomy
The scientists said special traffic routes proposed to protect UCSF employees would not work.
“Those of us at Mission Bay have experienced the unruly behavior of frustrated drivers stuck for long times in traffic jams,” they wrote. “In fact, there is no believable transportation solution for two very large complexes placed in such close proximity at Mission Bay.”
Bruce Spaulding of the Mission Bay Alliance said he commended the courage of UCSF’s preeminent scientists and researchers for taking a stand and protecting the growth of Mission Bay’s biotech and life science community.
“These concerns are consistent with those shared by Mission Bay Alliance and the healthcare employees, neighbors and others who recognize what a disaster this project would be on the thousands of people and budding industries in this growing community,” Spaulding said. “This is a significant community and a quality of life issue in San Francisco. We hope the Mayor recognizes the danger to public health and life sciences of this ill-conceived project.”
Anchored by UCSF’s new, $1.6 billion hospital and research campus, Mission Bay has given rise to San Francisco’s flourishing life science and biotech industry, generating nearly $4 billion in economic activity, $1.4 billion in income and 21,000 jobs.
The City’s Mission Bay project – the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world – can be credited for the City’s biotech success and would be jeopardized by the proposed stadium.
“We face increasing competition from other rapidly growing complexes of this type, both in the US and abroad,” the scientists wrote. “It will be critical to keep moving aggressively forward, if we are to continue to attract the very best talent – both academic and private sector – to SanFrancisco….We are seriously concerned that this future is threatened by the plan to construct a very large sports, entertainment, and event arena in our midst.”
About the Mission Bay Alliance
The Mission Bay Alliance is a coalition of UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty, physicians and the working men and women of San Francisco who are concerned about the impact of the proposed Golden State Warriors’ stadium on the future of the vibrant community and medical campus at Mission Bay. The Alliance fully supports the Warriors’ team and congratulates its tremendous championship win. However, the Alliance believes the proposed arena and entertainment center is ill-conceived for this site. For more information about the Mission Bay Alliance, visit www.missionbayalliance.org.