Braves Stadium Relocation Shaping Up to Be a Disaster

When the Braves announced they were leaving Atlanta for suburban Cobb County in 2013, logistically it seemed to make some sense. After all, the new stadium site is more centrally located in relation to the highest concentration of fans who attend games.

How will Cobb County fund the "magic bridge?" Image: AJC
Cobb County needs to build a foot bridge over a highway so people can reach the new Braves stadium, but it won’t be ready by opening day. Image: AJC

But it turns out that relocating a sports stadium to a sprawling, car-dependent area is really tough — because of the enormous infrastructure outlays necessary to transport thousands of people to the same place by car.

After putting $400 million in public money into attracting the Braves, Cobb County officials are having an embarrassingly hard time getting the site ready for opening day.

The location for the new field is right by the nexus of two enormous highways, I-75 and I-285, and it is bound to the southwest by the Cobb Parkway — another giant, high-speed road.

Somehow, “neither the Braves nor the county has released any information about its plans for traffic control, pedestrian safety, or parking,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Problem is, there’s not enough room for everyone to park right near the stadium. There are, however, about 2,000 parking spaces and a bus hub just across I-285.

Walking can’t be completely eliminated from the stadium planning — all those people still have to cross the highway on foot. So Cobb County will construct a foot bridge over I-285 for $9 million.

But county officials recently announced that the bridge project would be delayed for at least a year and won’t be open in time for the Braves’ first season at SunTrust Park. That was after the Georgia Department of Transportation refused to help fund the project.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, additional costs kept piling up for the bridge. But officials never revised their $9 million estimate upwards, leading one county government observer to call it the “magic bridge.” Cobb County commissioners have said they are going to pay for it using sales tax funds approved by voters last year, but it’s not clear that would be allowed under the terms of the ballot measure.

Getting desperate, Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott recently suggested that as an alternative to the bridge the county could reconstruct I-285 to run under the Cobb Parkway.

Meanwhile, just this week, Cobb County officials said they would spend $1.2 million annually operating circulator buses through the area, a decision critics panned as a taxpayer subsidy for the Braves. But without the bridge, buses would have to go out of their way and sit in heavy freeway traffic.

Ashley Robbins, a former Atlantan who maintains the transit blog MARTA Rocks!, says the Braves and Cobb County are headed for a mess of their own making.

“Part of their rationale for their move was that there wasn’t sufficient transit to Turner Field,” she said. But “a significant number of people actually took transit to the games.”

“We’re taking the most congested, most traversed roads in Atlanta and we’re dropping a sports complex right in the middle of it. It’s going to be a nightmare.”

348 thoughts on Braves Stadium Relocation Shaping Up to Be a Disaster

  1. It isn’t that bad here. I live very close and work next door to the stadium.. the main source of traffic is the constant construction going on, otherwise the roads are usually clear. The games usually start well after lunch and end well after we leave the office. It’s going to be fine. Calm down.

  2. It’s not so much a matter of people driving to the stadium, it’d that there isn’t enough lot space, so the people in the overflow have to find their way across the highway to get there. Would you want to attempt to cross 285?

  3. Most sports stadiums have good public transit to them. Here in Atlanta the system is so screwed up. The city buses only run so far before you have to transfer to Cobb county transit, which doesn’t have the buses or the frequency of route to handle something like this. Downtown Atlanta has buses and trains. People could park in overflow lots and hop the Marta train right to it. This whole thing was really a stupid idea.

  4. MARTA has wanted to expand into Cobb County for a while.

    The issue has been that the “residents” of Cobb County do NOT want Marta here because of the “crime” it will bring to the area.

    You can infer from that what you want…

  5. Oddly enough, they have their highways under control out there. My boyfriend is a truck driver and I was with him on the big rig for a year. We thought we were screwed headed that way, but their highways work quite well.

  6. While i can’t comment all your statements, i will say this

    1. A football team and a baseball team should NEVER share a stadium.


    5. Mercedes Benz Stadium is NOT open air. It is a “retractable” roof. And, yes, there is a huge difference between retractable roof and open air.

  7. You have obviously never watched hockey. I understand some people like you need the slow pace of baseball in sports, so they can check Facebook during the game. I know the fast paced action in a sport like hockey makes it hard for you to follow and understanding what is happening in the game.

  8. In addition the atheletic skill level is absolutely amazing and they do it on ice. The hand eye coordination is equivalent to a baseball player. 90 -100 mph shots, in a lot shorter distance than 60.6 ft, that are deflected where they want the puck to go. Footwork equivalent to basketball and soccer players. The ability to give and take checks like football players, but at greater speeds while on ice. I don’t even know how to compare the quickness of the stickhandling in hockey. I played baseball, football and basketball for 13 years. I could pick up golf and shoot in the mid 80’s within a year of playing. I could be decent in any other sport like tennis or soccer with a little practice, but hockey is absolutely the hardest sport to learn. If any of these idiots on here don’t think it is then put on a pair of skates and just attempt to take a slap shot.

  9. I bet if you follow the money trail in all this, the questions would answer themselves. Who owns the company building this stadium and other related projects, who owns the property, what company designed the multi-use facility, etc. This doesn’t “logistically make sense” as the Braves organization said, although they can rationalize it however they want. I have loved the Braves since I was a little kid sitting in the outfield with Chief Knockahoma’s tent, but I’m out now. As far as I’m concerned, they are the Smyrna Braves now.

  10. Really? I lived off of Cobb Pkwy over one quarter century ago and it was awful back then. I just visited the other week and it was even worse. I cannot imagine the gridlock nightmare that will happen once this state-of-the-art place opens. Unless you know something that the rest of the world doesn’t know or you inherited Prince’s medicine chest, I’m getting the feeling that this will be a serious debacle.

  11. Lack of public transit is intentional. They don’t want poor and black people to come to the games.

  12. Wrong. It’s not about race or income. They just don’t want fans getting mugged, harassed, annoyed, and/or victim of a “knockout game”, which are all common occurrences on public transit in Obama’s new America.

  13. The good news is the Braves suck so I don’t see a whole lot of sold out games in the near future.

  14. I have no idea what Dallas highways you’re referring to, but as a former Atlantan who now lives in Dallas, I can assure you that they in no way have the highways figured out. They are gridlocked most hours of the day and constantly under construction. The one thing Dallas roads have over Atlanta are very well moving surface streets that are wide enough to handle cars.

  15. Saw that coming down Peachtree……

    Politicians courting rich people……bet those high $$ folks won’t have any trouble getting in and out of the stadium.

  16. Someone doesn’t know how mass transit is funded, and who votes on the federal budget. Hint: It’s not Obama.

  17. What does Obama have to do with traffic issues in Cobb? Your comment was just stupid as hell!

  18. And walk down the street in broad daylight with a freshly stolen TV. A real criminal would steal a car and then rob you because hey after all they are a thief, right? Ignorant shyt.

  19. Lol. You’re a blithering idiot. The city of Atlanta is completely run by the dimocRAT Crime Syndicate and NOTHING happens there without every major dimocRAT in the city getting his palm greased.

  20. Lol. Are you out of your mind? It’s complete gridlock in that area and will be even worse when the stadium opens. Traffic trying to get in there for a weeknight game is going to be an absolute nightmare. They couldn’t have picked a worse spot.

  21. It’s much worse now. Traffic in that area is already a nightmare in the evenings. When the new stadium opens it will become impossible.

  22. Lol. You’re a blithering idiot. Please don’t reproduce. I am begging you.

  23. I guess they will figure out they need light rail to get to the stadium to alleviate the car traffic. More money, more money, more money……

  24. Apparently you didn’t notice, knucklehead, but the comment he/she was responding to wasn’t about traffic issues in Cobb either. It was a racist comment about some unnamed people not wanting blacks at baseball games. The response was appropriate. Yours wasn’t.

  25. Who is the blithering idiot? The team is moving OUTSIDE of the city of Atlanta. They are even moving OUTSIDE of Fulton county. This boondoggle has NOTHING to do with the CITY OF ATLANTA.

    I suggest you put down the Natural Lite.

  26. There will certainly be a special lot for season ticket holders and I would say it is a fair bet that police traffic control will control traffic so that those people are able to get in and out quite easily.

  27. Yeah, the games start well after lunch. 7PM Monday through Thursday and 7:30 of Fridays. That means people will be going to the stadium between the hours of 5PM and 6PM. Now, I am getting a little older, but I vaguely remember something else happening on Metro Atlanta roads during those hours. I can’t quite remember what it is called. Oh well, I am in no RUSH to figure it out. I have maybe an HOUR to think about it. I am sure it will come to me.

  28. After Turner sold the Braves they have been a mess and now the owner and Cobb County are showing how truly greedy they really are….

  29. Who are they going to get to work these games in the stand and concessions.
    and what is the pay rate going to be…

  30. Poor and black… lmao You’re a fool. It’s all about the $$$.. the Braves wanted a mix development community to make money, money, money, but could not expand around the ballpark downtown. The problem is not blacks or the poor, good grief, it’s all about the green.

  31. I’m with down_with… please don’t reproduce… oh and don’t vote, we beg you, don’t vote either.

  32. Imagine the REVERSE scenario:
    Let take the Braves stadium from Cobb county at 285/75 and put it downtown where 75/85 & 20 intersect and have no MARTA rail access. I bet the same response would be that is insane! Either way they are poorly planned.

  33. The stadium’s address is Atlanta but it’s in Cobb County. They are in the city of Atlanta but fall under Cobb County jurisdiction.

  34. Uh… It’s not in the city of Atlanta if they don’t have jurisdiction. It probably has mail that comes from the Atlanta post office with the Atlanta zip code.

  35. So they decide to put a stadium in one of the most congested parts of the state–and now they are wondering how people are going to get into the stadium–can we say “clueless”??

  36. At least Turner field was easy to reach using Transit (MARTA) . SunTrust field not so much unless you are in downtown Atlanta and can take MARTA bus to Cumberland Mall or live in Cobb. Forget driving near the new stadium on a weekday when rush hour traffic is horrendous passing by that area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Today’s Headlines

“The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life” (The Atlantic) The Dull Corporate Campuses of America’s Most Innovative Companies (Fast Company) Experts to NHTSA: Self-Driving Cars Not Ready for Public Roads (Auto World News) Report: Self-Driving Cars Might Not Be Proven Safe for Decades (San Jose Mercury News) Cobb County Approves $10 Million for Bus/Ped […]

Why Atlanta’s Better Off Without Turner Field

When the Braves announced they were leaving Atlanta for suburban Cobb County, it was interpreted in some quarters as a blow to the city, another symptom of the city’s notorious suburban sprawl. But it looks like Atlanta might come out of this thing smelling like a field of roses. Not only did the city avoid shelling […]

Today’s Headlines

Moving Forward in Georgia: Bipartisan Bill Opening Door to Dramatically Expanded MARTA (AJC) Cobb County Okays Construction of Controversial Highway Bridge to New Braves Stadium (AJC) Amtrak Studying Replacing Rail Service Lost in Katrina (The Hill) Honolulu City Council Approves Extension of Tax to Fund Light Rail Project Overruns (KHON2) Vulnerable Road Users Law Moving Forward in Florida […]

Streetsie Awards: The Worst of 2013

We’ve talked about some of the highlights of 2013, but truth be told, there were plenty of lowlights too. For example… Outrage of the Year: Our readers were pretty universally outraged by a Texas judge’s inexcusably light sentence of 10 years’ probation for a teenager who killed four people with his car while his blood […]