Ever since the Braves shocked the Atlanta metro area and the baseball world by announcing that they were moving to Cobb County, one of the top concerns surrounding the new stadium was the traffic situation. There’s been plenty of talk and rumors as to how the team and county would properly address these concerns, but we haven’t really had much in the way of actual, concrete solutions.
Today, the Braves tried to address those concerns by announcing a major change as far as start time for their home games are concerned. Night home games at SunTrust Park will now start at 7:30 PM ET, instead of the standard 7:00 PM start that they had for night games at Turner Field.
There’s no doubt that traffic can be challenging anywhere in the Metro Atlanta area, and that’s why the Braves are moving the start time of home games back 30 minutes to 7:30 p.m.
Moving the start time back enables the bulk of traffic associated with the afternoon rush hour to clear out. When comparing the 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. time window to 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, the result is a 12 percent decrease in the number of cars on the road. When peak rush hour (5:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.) is compared to the 7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. time window, the reduction is even more dramatic at 30 percent.
Although there will surely be skepticism as to whether or not this will have as huge of an impact on traffic in the area, it’s not a bad idea at all. The Atlanta Hawks went to 8 PM ET starts for weeknight games in an effort to make things easier on the late-arriving crowds. Clearly the Braves must think that this worked for the Hawks, since they’re going to a similar strategy ahead of their move to SunTrust Park.
Hopefully the later start does pay dividends. The Braves are promising that there will be “an improved experience compared to traveling to Turner Field,” and if the later start time combined with other transportation options actually pays off, then they may be able to keep that promise.