Preparing for the Braves

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Atlanta Braves 2017 Opening Schedule at SunTrust Stadium

  • March 31, 2017 - Exhibition game against New York Yankees 
  • April 8, 2017 - College game
  • April 14, 2017 - First Pitch
  • April 28, 2017 - Billy Joel concert

 

  • 81 Regular Home Games 
    • 49 week day games
    • 32 week end games

Traffic, no doubt, will be a challenge as it is something we encounter regionally on a daily basis.  In an effort to facilitate smooth travel, for both Braves fans and those who live in the surrounding neighborhoods, officials from the City of Sandy Springs, Cobb County, the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) are working on a number of initiatives.  Below are some of the actions taken or are underway to help with the flow of game day traffic.

On January 18, 2017, the Braves released its Traffic Management Plan.  

Parking:

The Braves currently own or lease more than 12,000 parking spaces for SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta.  Of those, more than 9,000 will be dedicated to game day parking. Specific lot information for season-ticket holders and single-game purchase will be made available by the Braves in early 2017.

 

Delayed Start Time:

Home games will start at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes later than previous start times, enabling a substantial amount of afternoon rush hour to clear.  

 

Multiple Access Points:

SunTrust Park provides 14 main access points and parking dispersed 360 degrees around the ballpark, enabling access from a range of entry points.  Pedestrian bridges, transit options and ridesharing also provide fans with travel options which reduce vehicular traffic.

  

Traffic Routes:

The most direct route to SunTrust Stadium from Sandy Springs is I-285.  However, we realize that best route is not always the chosen route for travel.  To help reduce impact on Sandy Springs neighborhoods, the City is working with GDOT and Cobb officials on several initiatives.  Below are our Most Frequently Asked Questions related to travel routes:

 

Will Braves traffic be directed to exit I-285 westbound to New Northside/Northside Dr?

  • According to the Ga. Dept. of Transportation, there will be no signage encouraging exiting at New Northside/Northside Drive and at Riverside Drive.  However, we do expect that some motorists will use these public roads to reach SunTrust Stadium. This is a key intersection that will be closely monitored and resources added (law enforcement and traffic management) to help with congestion.

Will Sandy Springs provide added resources to manage traffic, especially at key intersections game day?

  • Yes.  Law enforcement and the City’s traffic management team will monitor key intersections including I-285 and New Northside/Northside Drive; Powers Ferry and Interstate North Parkway.   In addition, traffic management centers in both Cobb and Sandy Springs will monitor traffic conditions, and we will coordinate efforts to best support travel needs.

What is being done to keep traffic out of my neighborhood?

  • The City is working with Cobb County, the Braves and GDOT on strategies to encourage game day motorists to take the most direct routes to SunTrust Park, with I-285 our preferred route.  We realize; however, that motorists don’t always follow directions.  We will closely monitor game day traffic.  If a “cut through” pattern begins to form through a neighborhood for game days, the City will consider traffic management options to limit that route choice.

What kind of assistance will be provided to local businesses along Interstate North Parkway and Powers Ferry Road who may be impacted by the increased traffic on game days?

  • We encourage local businesses to develop game day plans to help maneuver through any added congestion such as adjusted work hours for employees.  If there are specific concerns, a business owner is welcome to call the City for suggestions and ideas.

Are there traffic management back up plans after the first few games occur?

  • After every major event in the city, officials conduct debriefings to determine if adjustments are needed to make traffic management better.  This process will occur with the Braves home games. We anticipate for the first several weeks of games, fans will attempt to adjust their routes to find their best route to and from the stadium.  During this time, it will be difficult to determine a continuous traffic pattern to plan around. The City will have enough resources on hand to deal with unexpected situations as they arise, and we will adapt our traffic management plans as we take in additional traffic pattern data.

What Other Steps are in the Works?

 The City of Sandy Springs is conducting a feasibility study to determine what improvements are possible along I-285 west of New Northside / Northside Drive.

There are also additional options being considered to aid with traffic mitigation:

  • New interchange or partial interchange on I-285 between the Chattahoochee River and I-75
  • Making Powers Ferry Road and North Interstate Parkway a one-way pair between New Northside Dr. and Powers Ferry Road on the Cobb County side
  • Game Day Only exit ramps from I-285 to Interstate North Parkway to provide relief along I-285 westbound
  • Conversion of the I-285 westbound shoulder west of New Northside/Northside Rive Interchange into a flex should for game day events (similar to the use of flex shoulders on GA 400)
  • Traffic cameras will be utilized to monitor traffic. Residents can also access these cameras on the Traffic Watch page

City Capital Improvements Performed to Date:

  • Intersection improvements at Heards Ferry Road and Raider Drive
  • Intersection improvements at Powers Ferry Road and Raider Drive
  • Traffic signals updated with adaptive traffic control system at the I-285 and New Northside Drive/Northside Drive interchange (Adaptive traffic control system provides real time signal adjustment on current traffic volume conditions)
  • Signalized intersection of Interstate North Parkway and Riveredge Parkway
  • Intersection improvements at Powers Ferry Road and New Northside Drive/Northside Drive

 

History

Since the Braves announcement of its intended move to Cobb County, Sandy Springs city management, and staff have participated in informational meetings about the stadium and its associated development, and continues to meet with Cobb County and other officials to discuss stadium and road/traffic management progress.

Development of Regional Impact (DRI) discussions were held in early 2014, which included input from the city of Sandy Springs. A Notice of Decision was issued June 18, 2014, on the DRI. 

The DRI requires a comprehensive transportation analysis to estimate impacts to the future roadway network.  For the traffic analysis, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) approved a study network of 36 intersections plus site driveways for weekdays, and 15 intersections plus site driveways for Saturdays.   The full build-out condition was assumed for the year 2019.  Included in the weekday study network were eight intersections within the City of Sandy Springs:

  • Powers Ferry Road at Interstate N. Parkway (DRI #29) – [completed project]
  •  I-285 WB Ramp at New Northside Drive (#30)
  •  I-285-WB Ramp at Northside Drive (#31) – related to traffic signals (cobb/ramp)
  • New Northside Drive / RiverEdge Lane at Northside Drive (#32) – [completed project]
  • I-285 EB Ramp at Norhside Drive (#33) – completed related to traffic signal work
  •  I-285 EB Ramp at New Northside Drive (#34)
  • Powers Ferry Rd at Northside Drive (#35) – [completed project]
  • New Northside Drive at Powers Ferry Road (#36) – [completed project]

In April 2014, City staff presented to the City Council several improvement projects identified to help address transportation needs in the vicinity of the Cobb/Cumberland area: 

  •  Interstate North Parkway at RiverEdge Parkway [completed]
  •  Powers Ferry Road at Dupree Drive (Heards Ferry Elementary School Relocation) [completed]
  •  Powers Ferry Road at Raider Drive (Heards Ferry Elementary School Relocation) – under construction
  •  Heards Ferry Road at Raider Drive (Heards Ferry Elementary School Relocation) – under construction

Programmed intersection signal and pedestrian facilities upgrades completed by the City of Sandy Springs:

  •  Powers Ferry Road and Northside Drive
  •  Powers Ferry Road and New Northside Drive

In anticipation of this usage, the City began in 2014 to address improvements within that transportation node. 

Interstate North Parkway at RiverEdge: This intersection improvement project adds a left turn pocket to help manage volume and flow. The project also widens the road and adds a signalized intersection.  

Intersection Improvements at Powers Ferry & Northside Drive and New Northside Drive: This operational improvement program upgrades the signals and widens Powers Ferry at Northside Drive.  Updates to striping and lane allocations at Powers Ferry and New Northside will also take place.  

City Scoot FY15: This project will upgrade signals to include adaptive software at seven intersections as well as increase camera coverage in the area. Signal upgrades will take place at:   

  • Powers Ferry and Northside
  • Powers Ferry and New Northside
  •  I-285 EB ramp at Northside
  • I-285 WB ramp at new Northside
  • Northside and Interstate North Parkway
  • WB ramp at Northside and I-285
  • EB on ramp at New Northside and I-285              

City Staff is also researching multi-modal alternatives - sidewalk, bus and shuttle opportunities.  In the area of sidewalk improvements, programs are currently underway at Powers Ferry and New Northside Drive. While baseball fans are not expected to walk to the stadium from these areas, the enhanced infrastructure is hoped to encourage possible shuttle opportunities from surrounding businesses and possibly MARTA to the stadium. 

MARTA:  Conversations are underway, and the transit service is looking at the possibility of adding new routes, including express service from a train station to the Powers Ferry node with shuttle service providing the last mile.  No definitive plans have been developed to date. 

Game Day Traffic Plans: Sandy Springs transportation staff and Sandy Springs Police are working to refine plans to handle traffic flow along Sandy Springs routes in coordination with Cobb County and Braves officials.  Based on the current ramp configuration along I-285 and access roads into Cobb County, initial game days will likely incorporate officer-directed traffic at four key access points.  The newly installed adaptive signals will also assist with traffic flow, able to adjust to changing traffic patterns due to entry and exit flow related to activities at Suntrust Park. 

 

 

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