Parking changes you need to know before heading to SunTrust Park

- From the beginning, one of the biggest concerns with the new Braves location was traffic. Some are still skeptical, but the team, Cobb County and State officials spent three years planning the best way to move game day and non-game day traffic through this busy area. Listen up Braves fans, one of the biggest differences for you will be planning your parking ahead of time.

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To help move traffic on game days, parking at SunTrust Park is much different than it was at Turner Field.  Gone are the large cash-only lots you could drive up to on game day. Instead, authorized parking needs to be planned out. Parking spaces are spread 360 degrees around the ballpark, which should help fans traveling from any one of the 14 access points.

Since the park is in a busy, commercial area, most lots are private business lots, being managed by the Braves only on game days. "One of the challenges was that a lot of parking here is owned by private land owners and so the Braves had to work out agreements with those private land owners," explains Rob Ross, Vice President of Kimley Horn.

SunTrust Park has about 9,000 fewer seats than Turner Field, but engineers say with those commercial lots, there are actually 5,000 more parking spaces. There will be a few Braves credit card only lots near the park, and a handful of cash lots nearby but The Braves are urging you to plan ahead, and buy your parking when you buy your ticket online.

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"Plan your trip. Buy your parking before you go, that way you know where to go because the parking is very different. It's very dispersed, so if you come here expecting to drive up to some available parking...you may be surprised. You need to plan ahead," reiterates Ross.

One thing to note when you pick out your parking lot online, there might be some restrictions on when they open based on the businesses that own them.

So point is, plan ahead. Next Friday we'll talk about how technology is being used to help speed up your trip to the park. The Braves are partnering with Waze to navigate you straight to that specific parking lot. They're also partnering with Uber on a designated drop off and pickup zone, if you don't want to mess with taking your car at all. In the weeks to come we'll also outline the transportation plan, the three years of work that went into this move and the traffic management plan for game days.

NEXT: Food tour of SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves

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