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.
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.