Cobb envisions bridge to connect Galleria, stadium
by Jon Gillooly
November 13, 2013 12:10 AM | 10019 views | 18 18 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Undeveloped land stands in the area where a new stadium will be built for the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. The Braves announced Monday they are leaving Turner Field and moving into a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 15 kilometers from downtown in 2017. Atlanta's mayor said the city wasn't willing to match an offer from suburban Cobb County worth $450 million in taxpayer funding. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Undeveloped land stands in the area where a new stadium will be built for the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. The Braves announced Monday they are leaving Turner Field and moving into a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 15 kilometers from downtown in 2017. Atlanta's mayor said the city wasn't willing to match an offer from suburban Cobb County worth $450 million in taxpayer funding. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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One feature county Chairman Tim Lee believes will add to the accessibility of the proposed Cobb County Atlanta Braves stadium is a bridge that will span I-285, connecting the Galleria office park with the 60-acre property where the stadium is expected to be built.

Lee said the bridge would be for pedestrians and for a shuttle that would pick up fans from around the area and bring them to the game.

“So, let’s say you go to Cumberland Mall and you’re having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and you want to go to the game,” Lee said. “Instead of driving over there, you leave your car where it is, you get on the tram, and it goes over and drops you off right in front of the Braves stadium, and at the end of the day you go in reverse.”

The bridge, which Lee said is included in the projected $672 million cost to build the stadium, will be functional when the stadium opens in 2017.

Financing to be voted on Nov. 26

Lee has been mum on exactly how the county intends to finance the stadium, saying he plans to release the details before the Cobb Board of Commissioners votes on a “memorandum of understanding” with the Braves organization at its Nov. 26 meeting.

When it comes to density, the Cumberland area ranks third in office space in the state, Lee said. So it makes sense to build the bridge allowing people to walk or take the shuttle service from the Weather Channel, the Chamber of Commerce, the Cumberland Mall or the Galleria, keeping their cars parked at their place of work while they attend a Braves game at night.

“When you go to the Braves game, now you constantly have traffic where you have to stop people to let traffic through and stop traffic to let people through,” Lee said. “Because we’re designing this from the bottom up, we’re going to minimize significantly the conflict points between traffic and pedestrian walkability, which will make it even better.”

For the last decade, the commercial tax area known as the Cumberland Community Improvement District has been proactive in developing a system of roads that improves the traffic flow, Lee said.

“If you look at the Cumberland CID it has the best existing infrastructure of any other corridor like that in Atlanta for access and they’ve been investing for a decade now in trying to be ready for this type of event, for this type of development, so if you look at the long-term vision, their vision is to be built out as a viable work, play, live environment, so they’ve been making the investment for a decade,” he said.

Road projects

Surrounding road improvement projects are already underway, with improvements targeting Windy Hill Road, Cobb Parkway and a new bridge over the Chattahoochee River which county spokesman Robert Quigley says total $72.6 million. Then there is Gov. Deal’s $951 million “reversible lanes” toll-road project along Interstates 75 and 575 through Cobb and Cherokee counties scheduled to open to traffic in 2018.

Lee said the county will be able to place its Cobb Community Transit buses on those new lanes and take commuters to and from Atlanta.

There is also the study the county expects to finish next spring that will reveal whether a bus rapid-transit system connecting Kennesaw State University with Midtown Atlanta is a viable option, Lee said.

“These investments are already in the pipeline to be able to continue to improve what they have, and prepare it for growth in the future because our goal is to have growth in the Cumberland area,” Lee said. “It’s something we’ve prepared for, it’s something we planned for, and we’re moving forward on projects before this (Braves announcement) even came about in anticipation of what we needed to do for the area.”

Being proactive is the Cobb County way, Lee said.

“I believe that we’ve been proactive for the last decade, we’ve been proactive for the last few years in addressing issues for the Windy Hill/75 corridor and with the help of the state we’ve been successful at that with some significant projects, and we’ll continue to do what we need to do to improve flow through and access and mobility while maintaining a high level of safety throughout the entire area, so it’s the Cobb way of doing things which is to be proactive instead of reactive.”

Road projects underway to help Cumberland area

* Windy Hill Road: The county is expanding Windy Hill Road from a five-lane to a six-lane road with three lanes in each direction and a raised, landscaped median from Cobb Parkway to the county’s diverging diamond project, and then from the diverging diamond project to Spectrum Circle. From Spectrum Circle to Powers Ferry Road, Cobb is adding an additional west-bound lane for a free-flow lane from Powers Ferry Road southbound toward I-75.

* Cost: $18.6 million

* Opening date: Early 2017

* Diverging diamond: The Windy Hill diverging diamond interchange redirects traffic entering and exiting an interstate on a path that eliminates the need for stopping at a traffic signal.

* Opening date: Early 2017

* Cost: $20 million

* Chattahoochee River Bridge: The state and CID are moving ahead with improvements to the part of Cobb Parkway that bridges the Chattahoochee River, changing it from four narrow lanes to six, with a raised median and sidewalks.

* Opening date: December 2014

* Cost: $12.6 million

* Cobb Parkway: The state is making improvements from Paces Mill to Akers Mill. This involves expanding Cobb Parkway from five lanes to six, three in each direction, with a raised median.

* Cost: $21.4 million

* Opening date: June 2016

* Reversible lanes: Toll-road project along Interstates 75 and 575 through Cobb and Cherokee counties

* Cost: $951 million

* Opening date: 2018



Comments
(18)
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Ole Man
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November 22, 2013
Why does anyone want the Braves in Cobb? MONEY!! A lot of well connected people will make a lot of money on this Bad Deal. (no pun intended) There are reports of insiders that bought property before the new was released. By the time the "deal" was made public the back room deals were done and the rest is formality. Lee wants the deal done fast because of time issues, Right get it done before the citizens have time to figure out they have been the purser once again.

Parking at Cumberland is a joke. Just tax the businesses then take their customer parking. Galleria and Akers Mill have parking spaces so does the energy center. Who pays to fix the potholes the extra traffic will cause.

Any money spent reworking the roads to accomodate the stadium will be money that would better serve the county if it were used to maintain existing streets and roads.

Government's only "income" is taxes, who pays the counties part of the maintenance bill. They already take money from the water department to fund government, who is next inline for a tax increase?

Talk about a bridge to no where, just how many will walk from Cumberland to the stadium and back?

The money will get the stadium built, and the voters will continue to elect based on promises that are rarely kept.

Go back to sleep sheepeople, the shears are coming again.
CobbCtyCitizen
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November 13, 2013
We do NOT want this stadium in Cobb County. Leave it in Atlanta.

We, the citizens of Cobb County, need to stand up and fight Commissioner Tim Lee, Commission Bob Ott, and County Manager David "Willie" Hankerson - and kick them out of OUR GOVERNMENT. Time for a RECALL of these bums.

Cobb County has been decaying because of these people. It's time we take our county back.

Please check Commissioner Bob Ott's property taxes. They've decreased several times since he's been in office. How much have your property taxes been reduced?

Now he wants US TO PAY for the stadium?

Go back to CT Bob Ott. We don't want you here.
Cobb Citizen Say Yes
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November 14, 2013
We DOOOOOO want this stadium in Cobb County. You are the ones that are promoting decay because you want things to "stay the same." My property taxes have been reduced a number of times. WE will not be paying for the stadium. We do want Ott here. Sorry.
Ryan b.
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November 13, 2013
http://tinyurl.com/kjowjc6

Kane337
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November 13, 2013
When change comes a lot of people tend to overreact. Wait until you get the facts before you panic.
smyrnagirl17
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November 13, 2013
I for one would like to know what they plan to to accomodate the businesses blocks from the new stadium. this area is hevily populated with business complexes and workers who come in 8-5. How are we going even going to get out of the parking deck to go home at 5 on braves game days.
HotinAtlanta
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November 13, 2013
"Lee has been mum on exactly how the county intends to finance the stadium, saying he plans to release the details before the Cobb Board of Commissioners votes on a “memorandum of understanding” with the Braves organization at its Nov. 26 meeting." EXCUSE ME!!! He isn't saying how the "county" is going to pay for this.....in other words, the commissioners are going to keep it a secret that us Cobb County tax payers are going to get stuck with the bill for the stadium and a bridge! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! If our tax $$ are going to be used, we citizens have a right to vote on it. Lee and the other commissioners are taking liberties just like Odumba - "I'll do what I want no matter what the tax payers say." GUESS WHAT COBB COUNTY COMMISSIONERS - YOU WORK FOR US AND YOU DON'T HAVE THAT RIGHT TO USE OUR MONEY ON YOUR WHIMS. This is a huge mistake to put this thing here. Traffic and crime will increase to the point that it will be unbearable to work, live or travel anywhere near the Cumberland Mall area. If Cobb County wants it, move it towards Six Flags. They need the boost and there's plenty of distressed properties that could be knocked down to handle this.
Say What??
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November 13, 2013
Wow all of that and you do not even know what the plans are. I will vote for Tim which will cancel your vote. So now he does not have to shake in his boots. Odumba now that is a new one. Probably his fault anyway.
HotterinAtlanta
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November 16, 2013
I will vote for Tim, so that gives us a one up.
Linoel
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November 13, 2013
13 Days until the vote... We really need to see how much the residents will be paying for their stadium.
Lib in Cobb
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November 13, 2013
The bridge is another ca'ching for Cobb. Tim Lee will LIE to us, given the chance.
Jack01234
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November 13, 2013
@Gringo Bandito, the Cumberland Mall parking lot is half empty 90% of the time anyway! Heck if anything using the massive mall parking lot as a Braves overflow lot would bring more people to the mall and potentially *inside* the mall, which is what Cumberland needs.
TylerCa
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November 13, 2013
No one (intelligent) shops at malls anymore
Say What??
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November 13, 2013
I do, I do. Shop in malls that is. I couldn't take Wal Mart or KMart anymore. I'm also retired and you are paying my salary to post comments. Again, who is the intelligent one??
anonymous
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November 13, 2013
Shuttles and buses are not an acceptable alternative -- this will add another hour to the time involved in attending a game -- and baseball games last too long already. The biggest problem at The Ted was the lack of a rail station that could facilitate thousands of attendees and actually lessen their time investment.
Lib in Cobb
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November 13, 2013
If the Braves were a contender, I would not feel differently. Contender, as in Red Sox. This is going to be a money pit for Cobb, which liar, liar pants on fire Tim Lee and his yes men/women will not admit.

There is only one stadium in all of MLB which was built on private funds. San Francisco Giants AT&T Park.

This $450 million (an early estimate) Cobb expenditure is Socialism at it's finest. How many Republicans in Cobb called President Obama a "Socialist" over the last five years? Answer: ALL OF THEM.

Gringo Bandito
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November 13, 2013
Tim Lee thinks Cumberland Mall should provide free parking for Braves games? I wonder what the mall management thinks of this plan.
Bobplonka
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November 14, 2013
Exactly. If I eat at Cheesecake Factory and leave my car there for three hours after I pay my bill while I'm at the ballpark... That's their plan? I think parking spaces at Costco are pretty much at a premium already
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