Marietta’s mayor has interesting proposal for Braves’ new stadium traffic

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin sees all the attention the Atlanta Braves are getting in Cobb County, and he wants in on the action.

According to a Marietta Daily Journal report, he wants to connect Marietta Square with the new SunTrust Park using a trolley system to get fans to and from games when the stadium opens in 2017.

“Starting up the trolley system could cost about $75,000 to $120,000, Tumlin said. He suggested funding could come from the city’s car rental tax and the Downtown Marietta Development Authority,” the report said.

(Photos: See the SunTrust Park construction so far)

A few things come to mind about this proposal. First and foremost, it’s a good sign that local leaders are looking for new ways to move tens of thousands of people into and out of the stadium. However, there’s no way this will be a “trolley” system on rails and wires, like the trolley that just opened in the downtown area. With Dobbins Air Base between the Square and the new stadium, it’s more than seven miles between the two points, and it would take forever to make that trip on a trolley.

So we can probably assume that this “cheap” “fix” for traffic woes will be a bus system, adding it to the CCT buses that were already going to be added to transport fans. In reality, it’s likely just a quick attempt to get a few more Braves fans to dine in the Square before the games.

Cobb County is still struggling to find a big breakthrough solution for the influx of traffic that’s coming, but the answer might be sitting right under their noses. I drove a few miles up Interstate 75 today and found this:

Northwest Corridor Project

Those massive concrete beams on the other side of the highway are the skeleton of the Northwest Corridor Project – a managed two-lane roadway that will be used to alleviate traffic at peak times on weekdays.

(More: Lewis Black has a hilarious take on Atlanta traffic)

But don’t those concrete platforms look like they could be used for something else? Something like, oh, I don’t know, a train system to carry Braves fans from northern suburbs all the way to the front door of the stadium?

Northwest Corridor Project

See what I mean? Set train tracks right on top of that and you’re good to go.

If the train were run up I-75 and I-575 and made enough stops along the way, it would be a convenient mode of transportation for the biggest chunk of the fanbase. Husbands could drive up from the office, meeting the wife and kids, who just took the train. They could watch a game and all return home in the car together. On weekends, fans could save gas by taking the train, as well as avoiding the hassle of postgame traffic.

Instead, the state is spending nearly $1 billion on adding two more lanes to an already congested area.

Did the city strike out on this plan? What do you think?

Image at the top of the page: Move2Marietta

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