Braves bridge design still lacks price tag, land approval, room for many buses

I am so, so sorry that I failed to keep you all abreast of recent developments with the Atlanta Braves‘ pedestrian bridge that no one knows how much it will cost or if they can get the rights to the land for it or if it’ll ever be built. And here when the bridge finally got its long-awaited approval:

[Cobb County] commissioners voted Tuesday night on the current proposal for the bridge crossing Interstate 285 to the Atlanta Braves’ new ballpark, which has been a lightning rod for more than a year…

A proposal put the cost for construction of the structure at less than $10 million, largely paid though a federal grant and the Cumberland Community Improvement District.

Okay, $10 million isn’t all that bad, considering what some earlier estimates had been. And at least this means Cobb County must have finally figured out that problem with getting rights to the land where the bridge would be built and

So… they actually haven’t figured any of this out. Last week’s county commission vote, it turns out, just approved the design of the bridge, not the cost or how to acquire the land — all that will get worked out later, and if it costs more than $9.8 million once they put it out to bid from contractors, they’ll (sorry) cross that bridge when they come to it. So this means nothing, basically.

As for that design, there is now an actual video rendering of how the bridge would appear if viewed from a helicopter flying dangerously low over passing traffic:

The first thing I notice here, aside from the fact that Braves fans appear to all be half-materialized cybermen, is that there’s only one lane for shuttle buses, meaning either each bus is going to have to wait while the previous bus heads back to pick up more passengers (which isn’t going to work too well) or there will need to be a huge stack of buses in the parking lot that will bring fans across before the game, then wait on the stadium side to bring them back to the lot afterwards (which also probably isn’t going to work too well). Building two lanes would be way more expensive, though, so this is what Braves fans are going to get — if they get anything at all, that is.

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14 comments on “Braves bridge design still lacks price tag, land approval, room for many buses

  1. A couple more thoughts on this:

    1) Are they really going to fit all their fans onto that bridge after a game? My only point of comparison is the bridge in Oakland to BART, which is significantly wider and which is completely impassable after well-attended games.

    2) If the pedestrian side of the bridge gets overcrowded, how long you think before fans start walking in the bus lane, shutting it down entirely?

  2. This reminded me that the Patriot Place/Gillette Stadium pedestrian bridge never got built. It was doomed by the fact it had to evaluated against alternative state projects and it was deemed pretty low priority. There is parking on the other side of Route 1 so I assume that they pay police to have controlled crossing around events.

  3. Neil, I was thinking the same thing about pedestrians using the bus lane – especially if the bridge gets crowded post-game. The way it’s set up it doesn’t look like there would be anything to prevent that. And it would be a safety issue as well as a problem with keeping the buses moving.

  4. Floormaster–there are underpasses, but there are also points where people may have to cross the street and cops are there. Traffic moves so slowly on US1 at times that you might as well cross the street.

  5. My guess is that ultimately, they’ll just ban pedestrians from the bridge on game days and make them take the shuttles instead.

  6. I don’t think they’ll have the capacity to do that. Even if you run articulated buses that carry 200 people, you’d need a couple hundred of them to get everyone to their cars. Then not only do you need to figure out where to park the buses, but it’ll take approximately forever to load and unload them all one at a time.

  7. I always laugh on hearing that this is about a better “gameday experience.” Fans are going to get stuck in a traffic jam, wait forever for a bus (or likely walk the better part of a mile to their seats), hang out in a glorified office park/McStadium, and do the reverse going home. It will be the FEDEX Field of baseball–an experience to be endured, not enjoyed.

    I got it, this stadium is closer to some of Atlanta’s more prosperous potential fans, but this is the kind of development idea people had in 1990.

    Wrigley Field it ain’t.

  8. How long is the walk via the bridge from the ball park to the parking structures? On google earth it looks like 1/4 to 1/3 mile from behind centerfield at the most via a bridge connection. That is like a 5 to 7 minute walk. A shuttle with one lane only is not going to compete favorably with that short of a walk, especially when you factor in whatever the wait time will be. Am I missing something?

  9. No, you are not missing anything. Cobb Galleria, the mall that the bridge will be connecting to this ridiculousness, is already barking that they don’t really want game-day traffic occupying their parking garages as they don’t want to miss out on otherwise customers who can’t find parking spaces. This is going to be a disaster because there was no discernible thought and planning put in to implementing this fiasco of a boondoggle, while fleecing us Cobb County taxpayers, money that should have gone to our dismal bus system (that now they want empty shuttles circling the place), paved roads, and fire/police/education employees.

    On top of this debacle the Cumberland CID are now erecting a bunch of boxy, commie-style apartments (likely 900 sqft. for each one) with NO new intersection, NO new highway interchange, NO new major thoroughfare, and NO new connecting streets to accommodate the hundreds of people that will supposedly move into them.

  10. What’s funny is that Turner field’s parking was close, and mass transit was 1 mile away. Now parking is 1 mile away and transit even farther!

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