New lot at Kennesaw Mountain expected to keep visitors safer

20 Oct 2011

by Marcus E. Howard

The lot will be on Burnt Hickory Road at Old Mountain Road, where a limited number of existing parallel parking spaces are located. However, more parking is needed, and oncoming traffic on Burnt Hickory Road poses a safety risk for patrons exiting their parked vehicles, officials said.

“It’s primarily a safety issue,” said Tracy Stakely, who became acting park superintendent in August. “We have this parallel parking on Burnt Hickory Road, and it’s obviously a very highly used road. A lot of people are parking in the designated spaces, but then also people are parking, when those are full, off just the regular shoulder of the road, which obviously creates a danger for pedestrians and cars alike coming over the hills. ”

There are approximately 25 designated parallel spaces along the shoulder of Burnt Hickory Road. Those will be replaced by the new parking lot, which will have between 60 to 70 spaces and resemble the newer lot at Cheatham Hill. There will also be a retention pond built near the edge of the lot to catch runoff.

Either new curbing or a fence will be built to prevent parking on the shoulder when the new lot opens, Stakely said.

Construction began on Sept. 26 and is expected to be completed by Dec. 28, according to the National Park Service.

The cost of the parking lot is estimated at $428,000. Funding was authorized by Congress, after the project was approved in the repair and rehabilitation budget of the NPS in Washington, D.C.

Because the parking lot will extend into park land, an archaeological survey was conducted before construction, but no significant resources were documented, Stakely said.

An average of 1.5 million people a year visit the 2,923-acre battlefield park.

“The parking out there now is currently pretty much always full in the afternoons,” Stakely said. “Recently, we put in additional parking at the new Cheatham Hill lot that was put in this year; then also the new lot on Highway 41 that the county has put in to try to alleviate some of the parking issues we have. So this is the last parking phase that we have on the schedule for now.”