Will getting to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium be much different than it was for the Georgia Dome?
The answer: well, not really. That's according to Mike Gomes, senior vice president of fan experience for AMB Sports and Entertainment, parent company of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United.
Gomes listed a few key improvements — including better signage and a partnership with Waze — that should help alleviate traffic-related frustrations. But the stadium benefits from “not starting flatfooted,” since it was built right next to the Georgia Dome, he said.
“For the most part, the rest of our traffic management plan is largely the same foundation we’ve really honed over the last couple of years at the Dome,” Gomes said inside the under-construction venue Wednesday.
However, the new stadium was used as a catalyst to bring in new signage — an area “that had an opportunity for improvement,” said the veteran Disney executive.
Over the next few months, signs will be installed from the interstate to city streets to the Georgia World Congress Center campus to direct fans to key parking decks, areas and lots.
The relationship with Waze, which began last year, gives the stadium administrative control to make real-time updates. Gomes hopes they can teach fans to use Waze and not trust GPS, which may not take outside factors into account.
Other new elements include two parking structures, which will be built on the Dome site after it’s imploded at a later date. One will be the Orange Deck, which should hold about 550 cars. (All existing stadium decks will be renamed to colors.)
The other will be less traditional: The Home Depot Backyard, a 13-acre park that can also function as an organized, tailgate-friendly parking area for about 800 cars during large events.
“It was important to Arthur (Blank) to challenge us to not create more blacktop asphalt,” Gomes said.
More details will be released closer to the August opening, but here are some other things to keep in mind:
Fans will be able to purchase parking in advance through Parkmobile, which will have more than 12,000 spots available. The stadium officials are working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to regulate traffic lights on Northside Drive. And for folks who don’t want to drive or take MARTA, there will be designated pickup areas for ride-share app users.