Suburban Cobb County Leader Fears Rail From Atlanta to New Braves Stadium

When the Atlanta Braves announced their decision to move their stadium from downtown Atlanta to a highway nexus in suburban Cobb County this week, they cited transportation problems as part of the impetus. But it wasn’t long before everyone started wondering if the new site, only marginally connected to the region’s transit system, could actually handle the additional traffic on game days.

Why can't Atlanta get unstuck? Image: ## Smyrna Patch##
Why can’t Atlanta get unstuck? Image: ## Patch##

A major transit upgrade had been proposed for the Cumberland Mall area, where the new stadium will be located, but that project isn’t on the table anymore. It was part of a transportation tax package that voters in the Atlanta region — particularly suburban voters — struck down just last year.

Now Joe Dendy, chairman of the county’s Republican Party, has revealed perhaps more about his attitudes regarding various modes of transportation — and the people who ride them — than he actually meant to. In a statement about the Braves’ move to Cobb County, he said:

It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta. [Emphasis ours]

The Atlanta Journal Constitution‘s Jay Bookman heard an unuttered “those” before the word “people.” He says Dendy’s statement explains a lot about Atlanta:

That’s from the chairman of the Republican Party in the state’s wealthiest, most sophisticated GOP stronghold. If you want to know why the Atlanta region has trouble acting and thinking like a region, why we have abandoned mass transit options that every other major urban area in the country is pursuing, and why we have forfeited the economic dynamism that once made this city/region the envy of much of the nation, there you have it.

In the 2001 book, “Atlanta: Race, Class and Urban Expansion,” Georgia Tech Professor Larry Keating argues that sprawling development patterns and meager transit investment in the Atlanta region has historically served to promote and reinforce racial segregation.

There may be a certain poetic justice in how this all plays out. Downtown Atlanta could very well be better off with something besides a gigantic sports stadium on the Turner Field site, while the Braves have chosen a future that apparently condemns all their fans to sitting in traffic, and Cobb County will be shelling out big bucks to make it happen.

19 thoughts on Suburban Cobb County Leader Fears Rail From Atlanta to New Braves Stadium

  1. There are so many aspects of this move that involve race, it’s head spinning.

    Cobb County voted to not join MARTA decades ago during the heated political atmosphere of post-Civil Rights Metro Atlanta and it was seen largely as a vote keep the mobility of blacks from stretching into the suburbs. This southern part of Cobb where the stadium will go is now filled with office parks and garden apartments and has the worst traffic of the region, with the car count on I-75 north into this area exceeding that of cars headed into Downtown Atlanta daily.

    Adding a stadium here, without also adding a good public transportation alternative for entering this area, will potentially provide a just dessert for the county that decided to shun MARTA since weekday games will bring an amount of car traffic that I can’t imagine.

    The current location of the stadium borders historically-black neighborhoods like Summerhill (incidentally, the site of a deadly, four-day race riot in 1966). These neighborhoods took the brunt of misguided urban-renewal projects decades ago, such as the placement of the stadium that preceded the current Turner Field. They gained little in neighborhood livability while shouldering the weight of game-day traffic, trash, air pollution and fan antics. The one good impact of the stadium here — jobs — will be lost in the move, particularly on those who have no car.

    The upside is that Summerhill and its neighbors will now have the possibility of seeing neighborhood livability improved. If the new development promised by Mayor Reed brings in jobs to replace any lost by the stadium move, this story will have the best possible ending that it can given the circumstances.

  2. I grew up in Arlington, TX, which has been redubbed “Jerry’s World” since the Cowboys relocated there. Largest city in the world without transit, so I heard the “those people” reasoning each time transit was brought up. I have no doubt that Jerry Jones was actually glad to not have transit as an option to get to his stadium… at $75 per car and a sea of parking around the stadium, he makes a killing. While the city picks up the tab for a massive road widening project. Said part of it all is that “those people” get stuck in a vicious cycle in Arlington, because they have no option but own and maintain a car they can’t afford.

  3. Why… Georgia, land of assholes…
    Has Joe Dendy ever driven on I-485 or gone to a Braves game?! I-485 is bumper-to-bumper all fucking day and adding to that the thousands (tens of thousands) of cars for the 40,000+ people going to the ballpark… Yeah, those freeways can’t cope.
    And this blog has posted before that MARTA (Atlanta’s public transit authority) doesn’t have the money to expand their system, even to a prime destination like the ballpark.
    So, I think, the Braves need to just stop complaining about their current stadium and fix it up rather than build a new one every 20 fucking years…

  4. And that’s why this white person living inside Atlanta hates white people living outside Atlanta…. but I do give you props for being openly racist…

  5. Cobb County’s population of 707,442 (2012 US Census estimate) was 55.4% White alone, not Hispanic (that’s the Census category, not mine). It’s not 1990. The county operates a transit service that works smoothly with MARTA and Gwinnett Transit (they all use the same payment system). They are in the environmental documentation stage of developing a bus rapid transit line that will connect north Cobb County (Kennesaw State Univ – the 3rd largest university in GA) to MARTA Arts Center Station. I live in downtown Atlanta. I think we should all know our neighbors. The area where the stadium is proposed is in Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID), the oldest such improvement district in GA (more than 20 years). It’s an established jobs/employment center. It rivals downtowns in most cities in its population and number of jobs provided. Again, know what you’re talking about. Don’t just trash Cobb County. It won’t make this feel any better to do so. What if… this is just what Cobb needs to turn Cumberland into a walkable, urban space? Can we at least see the opportunity it has to help redevelop the suburban edge city into the space Cumberland CID plans have envisioned it would become?

  6. Thanks for the perspective on the Cobb population via those stats. Good points, all.

    A node of compact walkable development here would be a welcome change. I lived in an apartment in this Galleria area for five years and I saw the potential for positive change.

    I’d love to see transit to KSU. I’m a KSU grad myself, born and bred in Cobb. I criticize because I love.

  7. Now Cobb transit just needs to run on Sundays which they do not now. There will also need to add alot more parking at the Arts Center Station and they will need the 10C express bus to run all day instead of a few routes in the morning and the evening..

    Currently the 10C goes to the Marietta Transfer Center a few miles from the new stadium and then you’d take the #40 bus from the MTC to KSU

  8. I was not sharing my personal opinion. I was trying to bolster your argument with an example of stupid bullshit white Southerners say

  9. Arts Center station absolutely does not need more parking. There are plenty of other stations where you can park and ride into Midtown. If anything, Arts Center needs transit oriented development.

    As far as Cobb County… They need to move their clocks forward about 50 years.

  10. So now the heavily biased Jay Bookman has declared that Joe Dendy speaks for Republican/conservatives; Typical Jay: you say it so it must be so… Create racism is a ploy by “those” like You!… The Fiasco falls on Chairman Lee, and the Braves Management, was it not funny ; they waited until Reed got re- elected to announce?

    Also Fans: go back in history you’ll discover the Atlanta Fulton County bunch themselves DID NOT WANT MARTA to come close to The then Braves Stadium; as they felt it would hurt the Recreation authority parking revenue.

    Yet it’s just more politically correct for the left of the likes of Bookman to be race baiters!

  11. Actually, Joe Dendy DOES speak for Republican/conservatives because he was chosen by the GOP to be the leader of the GOP in heavily GOP Cobb County… Twice! And, now… he is an accused child molester.

  12. So you say, And Bill Clinton concentrates on women; and from details developing perhaps young women. Doesn’t change my statement Bookman is baiting race, (of course you don’t mind)!

  13. I remember the Braves heydays in the 90’s and there wasn’t a day that went by where we wondered how much Maynard Jackson was taking from the parking revenue and his success at denying Braves fans rapid rail to the stadium. Atlanta is a rich boys club and always has been. But what John Schierholtz and Comrade Lee did was beyond the pall, perhaps the most disgusting ruse in the city’s history. Both of them and the Cobb County Commission should be run out of town – oh, that’s right, they own the town.

  14. Let us all pray that the Braves stay awful and attendance at the new stadium sucks and John Schierholtz and Braves management are continually humiliated by the national media as being what they are: shiesters.

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