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.

 

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