Friday, September 3, 2010

Bicycle to the Braves

Last weekend, we got some cheap tickets to an Atlanta Braves game. I'm not much of a spectator sports fan, but it's fun once in a while. I scope out the crowd while The Beau cheers and does all of the special chants and gestures.

The stadium isn't far from my house, which makes it very convenient cycling distance. I would generally recommend bicycling there for any fan... The car traffic gets really bad and parking is super expensive. MARTA is a good way to go, but their buses get stuck in traffic sometimes, too. Walking or cycling to the stadium from Georgia State station is probably the second best alternative, if you live far away. The advantage of bicycling is that you can zip past traffic in the nearby bike lanes, bypass all of the barricades around the stadium entrance, and park at the front door. It's about 5 minutes from downtown Atlanta and 15 or 20 minutes from Midtown.

However, we discovered a problem with parking at the front door. Yes, the racks are horrible "wheel-benders" that you can barely get a U-lock around. Yes, there are only about 20 parking spaces for a stadium that seats 50,000. But the worst part is that they block off the area around the bicycle racks for the Friday night fireworks show. So, you have to leave before the game is over or you're stuck there for the next 30 minutes. There is one small sign that tells you this, but it was nowhere near the rack where The Beau and I were parked. In fact, I think it was hidden behind a promotional booth. Fortunately, an understanding security guard let us grab our bikes moments before the fireworks display started. About a dozen other cyclists weren't so lucky.
If Atlanta ever wants to get serious about bicycle parking, this is a good place to start. It could make car traffic and parking less burdensome on local residents. And it would be good for redevelopment in the area. No one should have to park like this at a major public attraction.

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