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Huge issue facing Braves on ballpark design: traffic

SunTrust Park

With a new ballpark and development envisioned for a rather small footprint in Cobb County, the Atlanta Braves and their design team are facing a huge issue: how to manage parking.

The new ballpark, set to open in 2017, is located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 north of downtown Atlanta. That’s already a pretty busy area, especially at afternoon rush hour, and while the Braves say they don’t expect games to add significantly to the traffic already present, 10,000 cars heading to a SunTrust Park game will certainly have an impact. First, there’s the issue of where to put the cars, anticipating where they come from; there’s also the issue of how to get fans from those cars to the ballpark. One thing about Turner Field: there is usually some sort of decent parking within a fairly close walk.

Mike Plant, Braves executive vice president of business operations, discussed the challenges of parking and other ballpark issues with the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber at a recent meeting. He also discussed some of the things that would make the ballpark a significant upgrade from Turner Field — as well as some other potential ballpark idiocyncracies. From Reporter Newspapers:

The new stadium itself will be smaller than Turner Field, providing 41,000 seats to Turner Field’s 50,000, he said, but the Cobb stadium will offer many more premium seats. A new Chop House restaurant will be four floors and offer more seating. “The Chop House is one of the iconic parts of Turner Field,” he said. “We’ve never had enough space there. [The new Chop House will be] about 2 ½ times the size.”

The new stadium will differ in other ways from many major league venues, he said. It’ll face a different direction.

“It’ll be a different position than Turner Field, with the outfield facing southwest,” he said. “A left fielder might have a little bit of a challenge late in the day, but that’s what we pay them for.”

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