Cobb County’s plan for handling traffic generated by the Atlanta Braves next year is to get fans off I-285 and onto surface streets in adjacent communities.
The mayor and city council of Sandy Springs learned of this for the first time on Tuesday. They are not pleased. From John Ruch with Reporter Newspapers:
The news was delivered in a non-voting council work session by Jim Wilgus, Cobb’s interim transportation director. The specific topic was permission to install directional signs for the Braves’ SunTrust Park and related Battery Atlanta commercial development, which are slated to open early next year in Cobb’s Cumberland area at I-285 and I-75.
Then Wilgus dropped his bombshell: On days of games and other big events, the signs—with “dynamic” messages that change on the fly—would direct stadium-goers to get off highways one exit before Cumberland and use local streets. On 285, that exit is Sandy Springs’ Northside Drive, and traffic would route onto Powers Ferry Road and Interstate North Parkway, known locally as the “access road.” Cobb wants to put one of the signs on Powers Ferry near the Chattahoochee River….
“You want to take all the traffic off 285 and put it on surface streets?” asked an incredulous Councilmember Tibby DeJulio.
The news account quotes a “visibly angry” Mayor Rusty Paul as calling the Cobb plan “our nightmare.” The mayor also said he had made calls to ranking Cobb officials to discuss traffic planning, but had never heard back.
We contacted Paul last night. He declined to escalate the situation – saying he was “optimistic that a solution can be achieved.”
Note to Cobb officialdom: Your boss, Commission Chairman Tim Lee, is currently in a delicate political situation. You may want to take care of this with some haste. We have Paul’s cell phone number if you need it. Give him a shout.
Updated 3:30 p.m. Now comes this from one of our secret squirrels: In a letter sent in August 2014, Paul asked Braves officials to back more “variable message boards” that could be used to direct people off the highways. “It’s hard to be blindsided by a request that you asked for,” said our source.