April 13, 2016

Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby

Potential Traffic Issues with the New Braves Stadium

It has been the subject of much debate, but the Atlanta Braves are moving to Cobb County in 2017. It was in 2013 that the popular baseball team decided that it would make more sense, logistically, to build their new stadium in Cobb County. Their stated reasoning was that the area was central to the greatest number of fans who attend games.
Unfortunately, traffic will almost certainly increase by the new stadium’s presence. Cobb County is a sprawling area and commuters are heavily car dependent. Adding the need to transport thousands of fans to the same place on the same roads as commuters will be a challenge.

The new SunTrust Park is at the intersection of two major highways, I-75 and I-285, and Cobb Parkway. At present Cobb County has no public rail system to bring ticket holders to the stadium, which means those wishing to get to the stadium must do so by vehicle. The site for SunTrust Park also contains little parking, and current parking plans show that vehicles will be parked on the other side of I-285. That leads to the necessity of a bridge, which has been dubbed “the Braves Bridge.”

Due to design woes and financing issues, it appears the bridge will not be open until at least 2018. This will likely require many Braves fans to park on one side of the highway and walk alongside these busy highways to get to the stadium, walking along the highway and underneath an overpass. This will present unique safety issues.

It seems that the parking plan was not as thought out as one would hope for a major ball park. Drivers and walkers should be careful when commuting in this soon-to-be heavily trafficked corridor. Due to the nature of the traffic that will surround SunTrust Park, car accidents and pedestrian accidents may increase. While new infrastructure will likely be built to accommodate the increased traffic, it seems likely that rate of accidents will still be higher than it was prior to the new stadium. These accidents could lead to catastrophic injury.

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