Yeah ... you guys know how I feel about a downtown arena. The infrastructure simply isn't there to support the traffic and isn't likely to get any better anytime soon with the DOT delaying other important projects in the area for 5-10 years thanks to budget shortfalls. Nobody ever wants taxes raised to pay for anything, so eventually things that cost money don't get done ... especially forward reaching things. The inner beltline project on the west side of town will help some, but that's going to take for freaking ever to complete and is a relatively small improvement for downtown access. Locating an arena downtown would immediately make life difficult for Cary, Apex, Durham and other residents to the west. It would be a parking challenge all the way around, but perhaps that's the easiest thing to address ... with parking decks that would make tailgating even less of an option. It would be a complete culture change in terms of fan experience ... and all for what? So we can eat at better restaurants before the game and have bars that are open afterwards? Big freaking deal. That doesn't impact a HUGE chunk of the fan base who have families and other stuff to do with themselves on a random Tuesday night in February.Hopefully before they consider a new downtown hockey arena 10 years for now they check with the fans who, you know, actually buy the tickets. If they plop a brand spanking new hockey arena in downtown Raleigh I would reduce or eliminate my season ticket commitment as a result. Getting to downtown Raleigh for a 7PM game from Holly Springs, or Apex or Cary, or anywhere from the west-southwest would be too much of a traffic nightmare for me. As I pass by the on ramp for 40 East on my way to PNC for weeknight games I thank my lucky stars I don't have to get on 40 East any time between 5:00PM and 6:00 PM. Granted I know people closer to downtown Raleigh or coming from the East or North will like it better than PNC.
That said, for me personally, it would be no big deal to get back and forth to an arena downtown. I live in North Raleigh, which would seem inconvenient, but with a couple of reliable corridors into downtown and a lifetime of local knowledge, I'd be fine. In fact my commute would be about the same as to the current arena ... maybe a little less.