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.
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.