Study: Pedestrian access a challenge for new Braves stadium

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New renderings released of proposed Braves stadium

A state agency reviewing a traffic study for the new Atlanta Braves stadium says existing pedestrian access to the $622 million stadium project from future off-site parking locations is inconsistent and unsafe.

The future stadium will have an Atlanta address, but it’s located in Cobb County between I-75, I-285 and Cobb Parkway.

The Georgia Regional Transit Authority is in the process of reviewing a traffic study submitted by the Braves in May. A GRTA staff report issued late Monday suggested that pedestrian accommodations be added along all sides of the stadium and an adjacent mixed-use development, on the site’s internal roads, and on roads leading from all the proposed off-site parking areas.

Those pedestrian accommodations could include improvements like sidewalks, crossing signals and crosswalks.

A proposed pedestrian and transit bridge across I-285 would reduce walking distances from off-site parking at the Cobb Galleria Centre to the stadium, but the report noted that “the scope and funding commitment has not been developed.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that questions had surfaced about whether there was enough money to pay for the bridge in the existing stadium budget. It had risen in cost to $9 million from earlier estimates of $3.5 million.

A spokeswoman for the Braves said they will work with the county to provide appropriate pedestrian access.

It is unclear how much the improvements would cost, or who will pay for them. Braves spokeswoman Beth Marshall declined to “speculate on the financial arrangement” because it is “undetermined at this time what improvements are required.”

GRTA staff recommended that the project be approved, on the condition that those improvements be made. They also recommended several other improvements related to road connectivity, parking and vehicle access to the site.

GRTA’s final decision on whether to approve the project is expected to be announced on June 18.

Cobb County still has final say over the approval of a project. Cobb officials say they will develop a pedestrian safety plan upon completion of the site design and parking locations.

The stadium is set to open in time for the spring 2017 season.

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