The planned pedestrian bridge that would connect the new SunTrust Park in Cobb County and the Cobb Galleria is slowly moving from idea to reality. According to the Marietta Daily Journal, three companies turned in construction bids with cost estimates to be reviewed by county staff and made public by April 8.
The county has pegged the cost of the bridge at just under $10 million, though that estimate is far below the total cost of the project, since it does not include land acquisition, or an estimated $3.5 million to retrofit a parking deck at the Galleria. All told, the bridge project is likely to eat up over $14 million — more if it doesn't stay on budget.
Right now, the county is planning to pay for part of the project with $5 million from the Cobb Community Improvement District and another $4.5 million from a Federal Transit Administration grant. Another $380,000 will come from the Atlanta Braves organization. (So nice of them to pitch in).
Even with the bridge it looks like the stadium has serious traffic, parking and pedestrian concerns to work through. SunTrust Park will seat 41, 500 people and has just 6,000 dedicated parking spaces. While there is 17 percent less seating compared to Turner Field, there is also 30 percent less dedicated parking, and no car-less options to reach the stadium.
The Braves website says there is "the potential to utilize existing lots nearby," in conjunction with a shuttle system, though the organization has faced a lot of resistance from nearby offices and businesses. Cobb Galleria has 2,000 parking spaces, but stadium goers will be in competition with Galleria events.
From the outside, there doesn't appear to be a firm plan for moving visitors into the stadium. Just an underfunded — and likely to be underutilized — pededtrian bridge, and a prayer on the wind that new spaces will be made magically available.
Without a transit alternative, accessing the new stadium could be a total crapshoot.