Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul and Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee met today, June 23, to discuss the fallout from Cobb’s controversial proposal to direct Braves stadium traffic onto local streets.

Paul blasted the plan as a “nightmare” at a June 21 City Council meeting and said Lee had not returned his calls for months. The plan, presented by Jim Wilgus, Cobb’s interim transportation director, would use signage to direct stadium traffic off I-285 at Northside Drive and onto Powers Ferry Road and Interstate North Parkway.

The mayor and chairman’s meeting was announced afterward in a joint city-county press release issued by Sandy Springs. The press release indicated a generally cooperative tone, but only one specific outcome: A series of scheduled meetings between City Manager John McDonough and County Manager David Hankerson.

“We have work to do, but we are committed to collaborating with Cobb County in developing viable solutions that create a win-win scenario for both communities,” said Paul in the press release.

“Cobb County and Sandy Springs have a long history of collaborating on many projects and we plan to add traffic management around SunTrust Park to our record of success,” said Lee in the press release. “I am confident that we will end up with a plan that works in the best interest of both communities.”

Paul and Lee met along with “members of their senior team,” the press release said, adding, “The group reviewed signage, game day and public safety initiatives, with agreement that cooperative efforts have produced a strong base related to operational considerations. The group also discussed systemic issues, specifically the need for significant capital projects to alleviate traffic concerns in and around the New Northside [Drive] area in Sandy Springs.”

That latter point likely refers to the city’s longstanding desire for an improved half-interchange of I-285 and Powers Ferry Road on the Cobb County side. At the June 21 council meeting, Paul and McDonough complained of not hearing a response from Cobb about the status of that idea, and Paul indicated that any agreement on stadium traffic would be contingent on that project moving forward.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.

3 replies on “Sandy Springs mayor, Cobb chairman meet in wake of Braves traffic dispute”

  1. “John McDonough serves as the city manager of Sandy Springs, Georgia and is responsible for the oversight and management of one of the most extensive applications of public-private partnerships (PPP) for the provision of local government services in the country.”

    Oversight and Management has what to do with negotiating with Cobb County? Does Mr. Paul have any role in working on behalf of the City of Sandy Springs to represent and negotiate himself for the people who elected him or is it all just too much for him. We see Mr. Paul in ribbon cuttings and statements about how the overdevelopment is all because people like to live where they work but….. It seems that all things are “not in his authority” which to me translates that he isn’t an elected official because of a strong will to help others and serve the community but more of an ego driven person. How do we call someone Mayor when his role is diminutive and personal at best?

    Let’s hope that the City of Sandy Springs isn’t just a parking lot for the new stadium and Braves owners involvement in the commercial development paid for by the same amount of $$ Cobb put in to build the thing.

  2. An incredibly short sighted plan to move the Braves to Cobb will have negative impact on the area. The traffic in Sandy Springs is already at the brink of intolerable.

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