The recommendations, released late Monday by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, include several conditions it says need to be met in order for the stadium project to be approved. The agency is reviewing a traffic study the Braves submitted in May, and the GRTA board will vote on final approval June 18.
The list of recommendations includes pedestrian access along all sides of the project’s roadways, signal timing coordination, transit shuttles and signage on interstate exit ramps, among other items meant to ease access to the site.
Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said the county is supportive of the recommendations and plans to implement all of them.
“The Atlanta Regional Commission begins the Development of Regional Impact review process, but the actual decision comes out of the GRTA,” Lee said.
“GRTA’s recommendations are nonbinding technically. However, if we don’t follow the GRTA recommendations we run the risk of not getting future state funding on other projects.”
Some of the recommended pedestrian improvements include things such as added crosswalks and sidewalks that can be used by fans walking to and from the games.
Lee said the county was not surprised by the GRTA’s report.
“It’s not our first rodeo,” Lee said. “We recognize we will have to make adjustments to help manage what’s going on. In fact, we’re working with some private partners and transportation partners as well.”
Cobb County has been meeting with the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Department of Transportation in addition to the GRTA in order to study the project, according to Lee.
Representatives from the four agencies involved met for more than three hours Tuesday, according to Cobb spokesman Robert Quigley.
The final design of the project won’t be finished until next spring, Lee said.
“The goal of the recomm-endation is for everyone to understand and agree the pedestrian component will be very important for this type of development,” Lee said.
“When we get final plans designed and laid out, we need to take into consideration the pedestrian movement and pedestrian safety.”
One piece of the project cited in the recommendations is a planned pedestrian bridge over Interstate 285, linking the stadium site with the Cobb Galleria area.
“The proposed pedestrian/transit bridge would reduce pedestrian travel distances from off-site parking to the proposed stadium,” reads the GRTA recommendations. “However, the scope and funding commitment has not been developed.”
Lee said a final plan for the bridge has not been made yet, but said the bridge will “absolutely” open in 2017.
“It’s an important component to connect the inside of the perimeter to the outside of the perimeter and we’re fully committed to making that happen,” Lee said.
“It’s a little premature to talk about cost until we get into land planning and get into site design of the stadium and adjacent development.”
The bridge is being designed by Braves’ project managers, according to Faye DiMassimo, Cobb County transportation director.
Lee said he does not oppose any of the recommendations made by the GRTA, and he expects to get approval for the project later this month.