Braves to move back start time – but not far enough

Many of the details – assuming there are details to be had – about how Braves fans will get to the new Cobb stadium next season without the use of a parachute remain murky.

As the finest minds in civil engineering no doubt tackle the many problems involved with building a new park at the dysfunction junction of I-285 and I-75 – otherwise known as the 10th circle of traffic hell – we have been presented with one very non-technical solution that at least won’t cost the Cobb taxpayer another spare million or so:

The 7:35 start time for weekday games.

Moving back the time of first pitch by 25 minutes is designed to give some relief from the peak of home-bound traffic. As we savvy local commuters know, at 7 p.m. Atlantans are all at their dinner tables enjoying their pulled pork and the roads magically become as empty as a candidate’s promise.

I certainly hope that the start-time change is not the centerpiece of the master plan for traffic control at SunTrust Park, for that is but the Band-Aid on the arterial bleed.

If you build it, can they get there? (Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com)

If you build it, can they get there? (Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com)

It’s not like Turner Field operates without traffic problems, but those that potentially could afflict the new place just feel like they could be epic. And heaven help us if the Braves ever get good again and there is an actual demand for their product.

Some of the messages that came from Wednesday’s team announcement were a bit confusing. On one hand, we were told that if we get to the game a little later, our ingress will be a bit smoother. On the other, we are encouraged to get there early in order to enjoy the many commercial splendors of the new neighborhood, putting fans right back in the automotive soup.

Let’s be clear: Traffic is going to stink getting to the park, because traffic stinks in Atlanta.

And if the Braves are serious about designing a start time for a window when traffic is manageable they need to think even later. Much later.

With a midnight first pitch, there is a chance – a slim chance – that the roads around SunTrust will be at least partially navigable.

But you’ll need to leave by the seventh inning in order to beat the morning rush.

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
Drexel-Gal
Drexel-Gal

It was customary for MLB night games to start at 8-PM, local time, until the "energy crisis" (remember THAT term?) of 1973-74, when they moved the start times earlier to "save energy" --- even though the stadium lights are on at the beginning of the game anyway (the rule states that both teams have to play under the same conditions).  But that was in the pre-Nomar-Garciaparra days, when an at-bat lasted fewer than twelve minutes, and an 8-PM game could end well before midnight.


And, to those of you who love mass transit (but only if you have a concealed carry permit), Cobb County has already re-thought MARTA ... and has shown that CCT is much worse.  (If you want to see someone who makes a MARTA employee look energetic and efficient, just ride a Number-10 or Number-45 CCT bus during a weekday.  Not counting the three unscheduled stops the driver makes to talk to a homey, you might reach your destination less than forty-five minutes late, if the driver doesn't get lost.)

PBOrr
PBOrr

@Drexel-Gal You are completely full of it. I have ridden MARTA and CCT extensively and your statements are simply BS. I've never even heard anyone raise their voice, and CCT drivers do their routes as they are designed. Devices are installed on the buses to monitor driver and passenger behavior. Bus drivers by and large are great, hard-working people. And I've never felt any need to carry a gun on the trains. I wish you suburban liars would just keep to yourselves.

PomonaCal
PomonaCal

Anyone who thinks that the traffic situation at 75/285 (and especially 75 North and 285 West) isn't much worse than the Turner Field traffic is fooling themselves.

Brian Sims
Brian Sims

Hummer get paid to write this? Weak sauce

LennyP
LennyP

The Braves are already starting Friday games at 7:35. If the season is 26 weeks long, there should be 13 Friday home games, which will not be affected by the change. There should be 26 Saturday and Sunday games, bringing the total not affected to 39. There should be one or two holiday games, and perhaps five weekday day games. Let's say that's 45 out of 81. So we're talking about 36 weekday evenings a year. Of the 36, several will be delayed at the start by rain, which will allow fans to arrive a little later. We're not talking about nightly traffic jams involving stadium crowds, just the equivalent of about nine full work weeks a year out of 52. But even that can be alleviated by pushing the start time back an additional few minutes. Fans who want to take advantage of restaurants, etc. in the area probably should arrive by 5:45, helping to spread out Braves traffic over a couple of hours.


GT71
GT71

Too bad Schultz continues to use hyperbole with a blovious flavor while making a legitimate point.

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

I worked near Turner field and don't understand what people mean when they say I-285 is a jam. The worst part was driving the connector but when I neared 285 and 75, things were much better. There is no where in Metro Atlanta with light traffic. Get over it.

basilisk4
basilisk4

I have worked downtown for 10 years and I don't understand why some people are so committed to the lie that traffic is worse at I-75/I-285 than it is on the Downtown Connector approaching Turner Field.  There are no good alternates to get to Turner Field.


This will be the same as any other stadium -- a pain to get to during rush hour.  Just like Turner Field.

CTATTER
CTATTER

Most fans like to arrive early to watch batting practice, get autographs etc.  Even 2 hours prior to the game, they'll be in a massive traffic jam.  If start times are even moved back to say 8:30 or 9:00 prime time, forget about kids during school hours.  What a mess.

cshudson24
cshudson24

The AJC continues to cry about the new stadium.