State agency recommends improvements to pedestrian access points at new Braves site
by Haisten Willis
June 11, 2014 04:00 AM | 3345 views | 3 3 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CUMBERLAND — More and better pedestrian access will be needed at the site of the new Cobb County Atlanta Braves stadium before opening day in 2017, according to a state transportation agency.

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.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Dave Z
June 11, 2014
The bridge to the Galleria is THE biggest piece of the puzzle. Don't let us down. Get it done.
E. Barrett
June 11, 2014
It's not just a pedestrian bridge that's needed, we should also stop subsidizing industries in Detroit and Akron.

Other than the Cumberland-Galleria Pedestrian bridge, a person can't find a single crosswalk on Cobb Parkway between the Akers Mill Road and Circle 75 Parkway (a distance of over one-half mile).

And the Braves contend part of their relocation rationale was due to the lack of good access (and transit) in the city? Pants on fire!
June 11, 2014
Sure, add more costs to us tax payers. This bridge idea is absolutely the most asinine thing I have ever heard. Lee wants to build a pedestrian bridge that will go over 6-8 lanes of highway! How stupid! Better idea would be to hire Cobb County CCT to run shuttles. People who are going to the stadium could purchase rider tickets along with their game tickets or pay as you go. They could purchase small buses like they use for handicap riders to do this. Want to bet Tim Lee will want the bridge named after him!
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