Atlanta Braves 2017 Opening at SunTrust Stadium
August 2017 - An analysis of the impact on traffic related to Braves games at SunTrust was conducted, using six data collection points. The results of that analysis were presented at the August 1, 2017, City Council meeting.
In 2013, the Atlanta Braves announced that it would move its base for home games to SunTrust Park in Cobb County. The new complex also creates new opportunities for events and entertainment activities in that region. Given its geographic proximity to the City of Sandy Springs, questions and concerns arose related to traffic mitigation.
Since the announcement, the City of Sandy Springs has worked in collaboration with Cobb County leadership, the Cobb County Department of Transportation, the Cobb County Police Department and Georgia Department of Transportation to develop traffic management plans for events at SunTrust Park.
The City is aligned with Cobb County’s established guiding principles for traffic management:
▶ Provide for safe, efficient vehicular arrival and departure
▶ Minimize traffic impacts to nearby neighborhoods, businesses, and daily commuters
▶ Leverage extensive thoroughfare network
▶ Leverage the City’s and Cobb County’s Advance Transportation Management Systems (ATMS). The ATMS includes a Traffic Management Center (TMC) providing visual access to the City’s network of traffic cameras with the ability to coordinate a real-time response to traffic needs.
On January 18, 2017, the Braves released its Traffic Management Plan.
All Braves parking for opening weekend must be bought in advance of the game. No on-site payment is accepted for Friday and Saturday. The Braves have several lots that surround the ballpark, and buying your parking in advance will secure your spot and help you get customized directions right to your lot. You can visit www.braves.com/parking to get your spot today.
The Battery Atlanta is open for business, both for game days and non-game days. If you’re planning to visit the retail and shops there, like Antico Pizza and YardHouse, you can park at the Red Deck. On non-game days, parking is free for up to four hours. After 2 p.m. on game days, parking is free for two hours before fees begin, with a maximum fee of $50. If you spend a minimum of $50 in The Battery Atlanta, you can receive validation for your parking.
If you’re traveling to the game, build some time into your commute, be patient and trust Waze to get you directly to your parking lot. The Braves have partnered with Waze, which will be receiving real-time updates on traffic to help you navigate to the game.
Access and Parking:
SunTrust Park has 14 major points of access, offering points of entry from around the park. Approximately 82 percent of guests for Braves games are expected to arrive in personal vehicles. The majority of traffic is expected to arrive and depart using Interstate 75 (north/south) and Interstate 285 (east/west). Traffic is expected to flow through a broader thoroughfare network rather than accumulate on a few roadways.
Parking is divided into geographical zones: North, South, East, West and Central. Motorists will be directed to the zone that corresponds to their direction of travel. Decks and parking lots within each zone will be numbered to facilitate wayfinding. (For example, S1 parking is located in South zone, Lot 1). For additional details, visit bravesupdate.com.
Cobb County Game Day Navigation
The effect events will have on local, Sandy Springs traffic will be determined following the first few months after the opening of SunTrust Park. As patrons determine favored routes to the stadium, traffic plans will be modified as needed to appropriately handle traffic flow.
To help ease potential travel impacts, Braves home games will begin at 7:30 p.m., 30 minutes later than previous start times enabling a substantial amount of afternoon rush hour to clear.
Cobb County has an extensive Traffic Management Plan (TMP) designed to quickly move motorists into the SunTrust Stadium including a monitored and timed adaptive traffic signal system, pregame and postgame street closures, and lane conversions at designated areas to assist with traffic flow into and out of the stadium area. Full details of the TMP within Cobb County can be found online at spr.gs/cobbtrafficplan.
Sandy Springs Game Day Traffic Mitigation Program
Traffic Management Center Monitoring
The City’s Traffic Management Center provides a base for operations. The TMC enables our traffic teams viewing capabilities and situational awareness through the City’s extensive camera network. Our crews will be able to note deficiencies, optimize signal timings and deploy the crews as required to help facilitate traffic movement.
A combination of turning movement counts and average daily traffic counts will be scheduled to take place before the stadium opens, during the first home game stand, and during the third game stand a few weeks into the season. The City will accurately capture the impact of the stadium by conducting a series of traffic counts in order to determine the level of fluctuations in traffic patterns as a direct result. The data can then be used to determine traffic pattern impacts and possible changes, from signalization modifications to adding turn lanes, to help better traffic flow.
Additional Video Cameras and Adaptive Traffic Signals
Seven locations will have CCTV cameras installed in an effort to improve traffic monitoring at the I-285 and Northside Drive/New Northside Drive Interchange and along Powers Ferry Road and Interstate North Parkway west of the Interchange. All of the traffic signals at the I-285 and Northside Drive/New Northside Drive interchange were recently updated to adaptive traffic signals that provide real-time signal adjustments based on current traffic volume conditions.
Additional and Enhanced Signs
Signs will not be installed on I-285 to direct motorists traveling to SunTrust Park to exit at New Northside Drive. Road signs will be installed on the local roadways in the I-285 and Northside Drive/New Northside Drive Interchange and Powers Ferry Road and North Interchange Parkway to direct motorists to the Battery at SunTrust Park and also to I-285 after events. Portable message signs will also be deployed to guide motorists.
Dedicated Braves Stadium Sign Crew
Between the hours of 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. during weekday evening games, two-man Public Works traffic crews will initially focus efforts on the I-285 and Northside Drive/New Northside Drive Interchange and along Powers Ferry Road and Interstate North Parkway, west of the Interchange. Crews will have signs (including variable message boards), cones and barricades to assist with traffic flow.
Police Department Support
Police officers will be available for traffic monitoring purposes to ensure safe passage of traffic during critical periods. SSPD has the ability to communicate directly with Cobb County Police via a mutual aid talk group on SSPD and CCPD radios. SSPD will also have an assigned liaison present in the Cobb traffic management/police command center at SunTrust Park as needed. In addition to Northside Drive/New Northside Drive Interchange with I-285 (including Powers Ferry Rd. and New Northside Dr.), the I-285/Riverside Drive interchange could also be congested with stadium traffic, which would impact Riverside Drive and Heards Ferry Road. The intersections of Interstate North Parkway and Powers Ferry Road as well as Akers Mill Road and Powers Ferry Road are also identified as critical intersections by Cobb County Police as part of their traffic management plan and will be monitored by traffic patrols.
Improvements Under Exploration
As events take place at SunTrust Stadium, the City will work to mitigate current impacts, while assessing the traffic patterns and developing plans to help with any developing bottlenecks. It will be a learning exploration. The City is planning proactively, and the following improvements are under evaluation for implementation:
▶ Use of signage to route drivers from I-285 and I-75 to Windy Hill Road to access the east parking lots.
▶ Addition of I-285 Westbound Flex Shoulder to Exit at I-75 and Windy Hill Road, providing quick access to the stadium’s East Parking Zone to assist with traffic flow.