Sunday, July 26, 2009

Better Instructions

Looking at the Atlanta Dream Directions Page and the Atlanta Dream Alternate Directions Page, it looks like there has been some thought put into how to tell people to actually get to the game.

I think, however, that the instructions can be fleshed out a little bit more. Written instructions can't tell you everything you really need to know. For example, I come to the games down I-85N, and the instructions, such as they are, are exactly right. You take the 248C Williams Street Exit, you turn right on Baker Street and then you turn left on Centennial Olympic Parkway. After you pass Marietta Street, Philips Arena is on your left.

These facts, stated above, are correct. However, there are a few things that the instructions don't tell you.

* They don't tell you how far it is from 248C to Baker Street. It's about five or six blocks. You'll want to be in the far right lane when you finally get to Baker Street.

* Furthermore, when you hit Baker Street you pretty much have to turn right. I don't think you can go straight ahead when you hit Baker.

* When you turn right on Baker...there's not much of Baker left. Just a small lane essentially that "T"s out to Centennial Olympic Parkway, where you can only turn left or right. (Hint: Turn left at the "T".)

* Centennial Parkway tends to curve a bit. You'll cross Marietta Street - it won't be long till you get there, and the signage is clear. One thing you have to think about is that downtown Atlanta has a lot of tourists, who will be trying to cross the street exactly when the light turns green.

* That parking isn't free. Some places near Philips Arena charge $10 for it. Myself, I turn right on Marietta and then left on Park Avenue to go under Philips Area, bending around and ending up in an area called "The Pit", where parking is $5. Keep left whenever you can, and you'll get there.

* If you get lost, can you find your way back? Good question. I don't know what the signage is like to Philips Arena.

They also don't tell you that traffic on days where gametime is 7:30 pm can be tricky. You want to leave early, because Atlanta downtown traffic can be heavy. On the other hand, you don't want to get there too early, because the Arena doesn't open its doors until 30 minutes before tipoff.

If, as readers of this blog, you have

* experiences of your own
* alternate instructions (South I-85, West and East I-20, or MARTA instructions)
* recommendations for parking
* tricky things to watch out for

...then I'd love to read about them. As fans, how can we make the "getting to Philips Arena" experience as quick and as painless as possible for potential new fans?


Q McCall said...

I live about as far away from Atlanta as one can in a major continental U.S. city... but for some reason I found this post interesting. Would be fun to solicit "corrected" instructions for every arena in the league on Rebkell...or maybe I'm just a geek.

But anyway, what struck me was the fact that they don't open the arena to fans until 30 mins beforehand. That strikes me as odd (though clearly not a pressing injustice) -- does that go for Hawks games as well? What's the reasoning?

Anonymous said...

Arena opens 1 hour in advance I think, not thirty minutes....but I could be wrong

Best way to get there is to take Northside Drive to Marietta St if you are coming from 75 side of the city

Scarab said...

Anonymous is correct. Philips Arena opens up 1 hour before Dream tipoff.

Best place to park is The Gulch handsdown. Only $5. The Dream announcer and the dance team parks there. And if you get there at the right time you can see the visiting team arrive in their charter bus.

kansasdreamfan said...

I recently spent some time in Atlanta and attended four Dream games. I did not use the directions on the web site, but rather printed instructions from my hotel to the arena using Mapquest. The directions were great and we got there without trouble, but figuring out where to park was much more interesting. My mother doesn't walk distances well. We ended up across the street from the CNN entrance and paid $12. It worked out fine although it was still a long walk for mom.

I will say that I have traveled extensively and although I am from a very small, rural town I have driven in many major cities without having trouble. Atlanta was a new experience... one that caused us to break down and buy a Tom Tom rather than relying on the good ol' Rand McNally. I've never been in a city with so many streets that twist and turn... I would rather drive in Los Angeles any day!

Ethan said...

Another key point about Baker Street:

This city desert makes you feel so cold/It's got so many people but it's got no soul/And it's taking you so long/To find out you were wrong/When you thought it had everything


Oh, come on, the door was wide open. :-)

pilight said...

Coming from Macon, I usually park at the Lakewood/Fort McPherson MARTA station (where the parking is free) and take the train from there. It's cheaper than parking around Phillips and I get home just as fast.

pt said...

pilight, does the subway lead directly into the arena, and can you get easily from the arena back to the subway? I've never taken the subway to a game. Any insight?

pilight said...

The subway exit (W1) is right at the arena. You're practically at the door when you come out.

afoundingfan said...

Ethan, love the Gerry Rafferty reference. :)

The MARTA (subway) is the best way to go, for some. Pilight is correct; parking at the MARTA stations is free. I think the round trip fare was about $5; you can't beat it and it drops you right at the arena. If you already have your tix and the weather is bad, you can just duck into the first entry door as you come up the MARTA escalator.

I did drive a few times, but fortunately I could hop on Dekalb Avenue although that would not work for everyone. It could be a little tricky coming into the city from there because of the reverse lane, but I'd take that over the highway any day. I'd take Dekalb Avenue, turn left on before Jesse Hill (if I got the light) or left on the first Jesse Hill (not too close to GA State to avoid all the student not paying attention); then take the next right, go past the state capitol and the courthouse on your left, and down to the federal buildings area to the gulch.

If you want to get there a little earlier than the arena opening time (for example, to avoid the worst of rush hour), you can always grab some eats in the CNN Center beforehand. The food is a bit cheaper (and there's more variety) than the arena. They have all kinds of food as well as treats like frozen yogurt and alcohol.

I used to grab an inexpensive dinner there in the food court, and I'd sit and eat while people watching and/or chatting with tourists, with folks on their way to the Braves game, and/or with other Dream/WNBA fans.

(If you are from out of town and coming to the game and have time to kill beforehand, the CNN tour is pretty interesting.)

The Arena also had a Taco Mac which was open prior to gates open.

Kansasdreamfan you are not alone in your experience of trying to navigate Atlanta roads. Whoever designed them and named them obviously didn't want anyone to find anything. :0