published Monday, March 28th, 2011

New development could add to traffic woes


by Chris Carroll
An entrance to the CityGreen at NorthShore apartments is located on Dayton Boulevard in the south end of Red Bank.
An entrance to the CityGreen at NorthShore apartments is located on Dayton Boulevard in the south end of Red Bank.

CITYGREEN

  • One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments
  • Leases range from $625-$1,200 per month
  • First 40 apartments ready in April
  • All 282 ready by November

Source: Robb Crumpton

A private housing development scheduled to open for occupancy next month near the Red Bank-Chattanooga border could add hundreds more vehicles to traffic that already backs up both ways on Dayton Boulevard during peak periods.

The developer of CityGreen at NorthShore and traffic planners in Chattanooga said they don’t anticipate that the additional traffic will have a significant impact. But some motorists familiar with the backups think otherwise.

“It’s going to be pretty awful because there’s one way in, one way out,” said Aaron Ayers, 23, a Chattanooga resident who travels the route. “And it’s all dumping onto a road that’s already jammed to hell and back.”

CityGreen at NorthShore will be a 282-unit complex at the intersection of Signal Mountain Boulevard and Dayton Boulevard, Red Bank’s main thoroughfare. The development is scheduled to admit its first 40 tenants in April.

More than 30,000 vehicles pass over the two routes daily, according to state Department of Transportation records.

Robb Crumpton, whose Birmingham-based Red Mountain Development is handling the project, said traffic engineers told him to expect minimal problems.

“There may be a time or two that somebody gets frustrated,” Crumpton said. “We don’t see any negatives, to be honest with you.”

The apartment complex is within Chattanooga city limits, but its greatest impact likely will be on Red Bank and Signal Mountain commuters during morning and evening rush hours.

“Everybody thinks it’s in Red Bank,” said Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey. “It’s not, but I’m still pretty concerned how [drivers] will get out in the afternoon.”

Chattanooga traffic engineer John Van Winkle said the city had “a brief meeting some time ago,” but didn’t have any problems with traffic and zoning plans for the complex.

“To be honest, it hasn’t really been brought to my attention ... because really that is a Red Bank issue,” Van Winkle said.

Dorsey said Chattanooga officials never contacted Red Bank about how the complex would affect both cities.

Two routes

CityGreen sits at the top of a steep hill mounted by a swirling drive. Small signs announcing its presence went up recently at the foot of the manicured landscaping where the hill rises sharply from the road.

Residents who work downtown will have two possible routes — a sharp left onto Signal Mountain Road, or a right on Dayton Boulevard toward an on-ramp to U.S. Highway 27 South and the Stringer’s Ridge tunnel.

“We’ve got two different lanes at our exit,” Crumpton said. “Someone can turn right while another person can go left.”

But either way, traffic can be heavy at times.

A spot just south of the Stringer’s Ridge tunnel had an average daily vehicle count of 13,044, according to TDOT.

And turning left onto Signal Mountain Road from Dayton Boulevard — inching toward Highway 27 and a shorter distance to downtown — the number increases to 17,046, records show.

“If it’s a 282-unit complex, you better believe that’s 282 cars, if not more,” said Ayers.

However, the added traffic congestion could actually benefit Red Bank economically, he added.

Several Red Bank businesses and restaurants, including Mojo Burrito and Crust Pizza, are within a mile of CityGreen.

9
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hcirehttae said...

“Everybody thinks it’s in Red Bank,” said Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey. “It’s not, but I’m still pretty concerned how [drivers] will get out in the afternoon.”

Chattanooga traffic engineer John Van Winkle said the city had “a brief meeting some time ago,” but didn’t have any problems with traffic and zoning plans for the complex.

“To be honest, it hasn’t really been brought to my attention ... because really that is a Red Bank issue,” Van Winkle said.

Impressive. Chattanooga's traffic engineer doesn't seem to know where the city boundaries are. One look at this development and the turns, and a layman can predict significant trouble. Wait and see.

March 28, 2011 at 2:23 p.m.
heneh said...

Is this the Smart Growth we have been hearing about? Don't worry about traffic. With Smart Growth you will be "coaxed" into taking the bus. Chattanooga joined ICLEI to develop the Chattanooga Climate Action Plan. A quote from ICLEI " The pace of global environmental change requires an acceleration of local efforts. Therefore, experts confirm what all of us feel: We must act more rapidly and pursue more radical solutions." Find out more by going to www.FreedomAdvocates.org There is lots more to come.

March 28, 2011 at 4:10 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Add this to a growing list of reasons not to live in Red Bank. Considering all the woes the town is going going through (declining business community / red light camera, and municipal infighting, lawsuits, etc.) it is not at surprising that Red Bank had not made this upcoming an issue earlier with the City of Chattanooga. Perhaps when the door slams Mayor Littlefield in the you know what when his term expires, he can move to the Red Bank and make their problems all the more worse.

March 28, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
champ1 said...

Wow! These articles are so overblown and dramatic. People have very different schedules, but let's say in general that 25% of all residents leave home in their car at rush hour. You're talking an additional 70 cars, or just over one car a minute hitting the road from that community. I don't think that this is quite going to knock the earth off it's axis, but that's the impression you get from reading this article. Places like Red Bank need population density to support their struggling restaurants, retail, and grocery stores, so I really don't get their complaints at all. This is progress. Downtown needs more residency if it's ever going to attract some of the upscale shopping that it wants in that area, and the best way to do that is with well managed high density apartment homes. So could some of you guys please resist your natural inclination to be haters and give this place a chance before you pass judgement?

March 28, 2011 at 8:28 p.m.
heneh said...

Champ 1 You must be counting on lots of people wanting to live in high density areas. Where were any words of hate used in the comments?

March 28, 2011 at 9:32 p.m.
champ1 said...

I was referring more so to the article than to the commentors heneh, but by "haters" I mean people that are overly pessimistic. I am closely affiliated with both this project and property management in general in this town and I can tell you that upscale apartment communities can barely meet demand. Too many people got burned by the housing crisis and now they are justifiably cautious about there next housing purchase. I think that this is a health response to our formerly over-bought housing market, and I don't see this trend turning around anytime soon. Still, there is upside to area businesses and home owners, because higher density in declining neighborhoods tend to bring resurgence. All I'm saying is that change isn't always bad, but the tone of this article appears to indicate otherwise.

March 29, 2011 at 1:38 a.m.
hcirehttae said...

Let me try to be less "hateful" and perhaps more objective in my comments. Traffic from the freeway exit proceeds north down the ramp onto Dayton Blvd., traveling downhill at high speed. There is nothing to make them slow down from freeway speed. Many of them will immediately merge left to turn onto Signal Mountain Rd. People turning left out of the development will have to accelerate into the turn lane quickly, crossing in front of the southbound Dayton Blvd. rush-hour traffic.

People turning right out of the development will be criss-crossing with Dayton Blvd. traffic as they decide quickly whether to enter the freeway or Cherokee Blvd. In my opinion, this adds up an unsafe, not-thought-out traffic situation. It is similar to, but worse than, the two hazardous left turns out of the Bi-Lo parking lot farther north on Dayton Blvd. I don't think, based on the quotes in the article, that the city engineer or anyone else from the city gave this project's traffic impact much more than a cursory look and a rubber stamp.

It appears to me that this undeveloped location is being overbuilt, if the 282 unit figure is correct. "Upscale" and "high density" don't automatically equate in my mind. I'm skeptical of the assertion that developers cannot keep up with demand for upscale housing in the Chattanooga area. If that seems "pessimistic," I accept that characterization.

March 29, 2011 at 6:52 a.m.
champ1 said...

The light at Signal forces you to slow down heading north at Signal Mountain Road, and there is the stop light coming from Signal and Dayton Boulavard heading south, so again, there is ample opportunity to pull out. Plus, we're not exactly talking Gunbarrel Road here. My daughter lives in Red Bank so I am over there a couple times a week, and this is not a very busy location given the infrastructure and size. Last, there have been three upscale (and yes you can be upscale without being a condo) communities built in this city since April 2008: The Haven at Commons Park, Amberleigh Ridge, and Hayden Place apartments. The Haven is 95% occupied, while Amberleigh and Hayden Place have almost no sitting vacant apartments in the final half of their lease up phases. That's not pessimism or optimism, I know those numbers for a fact.

March 29, 2011 at 7:27 a.m.
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