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Braves to push back start time at new stadium

The Atlanta Braves announced Wednesday that next season’s weekday games will begin at 7:30 p.m. to try to accommodate rush hour traffic in the Cumberland area.

Traffic has been a concern among residents and fans since the Braves move to SunTrust Park in Cobb County was announced in 2013.

Mike Plant, president of development for the team, and several engineers from Kimley-Horn & Associates disclosed the first part of a three-part plan to address traffic and parking. They pointed to planned infrastructure improvements and technological advances they say will help fans get to games with minimal hassle.

The return to a 7:30 start time was inspired by a study of peak traffic, which showed congestion tapering off by 30 percent by 7:15 p.m., Plant said.

Representatives of the team and Kimley-Horn also pointed to some $2 billion in traffic infrastructure improvements in the area, many of them planned before the announcement of the Braves move.

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These projects include the billion-dollar managed lanes system on Interstate 75 and Interstate 575, open to drivers who pay a fee, and a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 285. The latter faces a legal challenge from the Galleria Common Area Associates.

The team also plans a mobile app to direct fans to parking. Plant pointed out the new stadium will contain about 8,000 fewer seats than Turner Field and more parking.

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