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The Howell Mill Conundrum

March 10, 2014

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I think that we can all safely say that we like going to Howell Mill. There’s a slew of activity at the beginning of the road, in the middle, and even at the end of the stretch. We don’t, however, like TRAVELING down Howell Mill. Some points make it impossible to believe that there could be something done about the corridor. But there is something to really be done that does not involve transportation:

 

STOP THE DEVELOPMENT.

 

I do agree that this is a little conservative for my nature, and totally not in my best judgment, but for the past few weeks, I have seen nothing but new projects in not only the most traffic-choked, but the most densely-spaced areas, whether it be the new Jimmy John’s near Chattahoochee Avenue, the new Elon Apartments opposite White Provision, the new apartments next to Chick-Fil-A, as well as the new apartments Perennial is building near Bishop Street (are we starting to get the picture??) I don’t think a single one of these units will forgo parking infrastructure for their perspective residents nor are there alternative plans for transit vehicles to shuffle people up and down the “sometimes” three-lane artery, but in my perspective, these new developments are going to do nothing but make this area undesirable.

My solution? The mighty Bus Number 12 that heads between Midtown and Cumberland keeps its ridership heavy at all times of the day.  Perhaps a little spur could help entice locals that MARTA might be the DJ that saved their life. Imagine what wonders a Number 12 Spur from Five Points up Marietta then to the Howell Mill spur could do. It might even be MARTA’s next attempt at Bus Rapid Transit if they consider shifting the route from going through residential Buckhead. Seriously, do we know anyone who rides the bus from there? Also, far fetched, but it could be reality, what if there was a light rail line that ran under the road connecting Howell Mil both north and south of the Waterworks? Someone has to un-congest Howell Junction one of these days…

All that I am saying is that Howell Mill, I believe, has met its capacity for the moment.  If we could slow down the development for a while and focus on some alternatives or traffic calming methods, we can see property values actually reflect what they’re worth about now. But right now, Howell Mill is, and until they put in work, will be a hot mess of a road. It will be a REALLY looooong summer. Better have a good radio station on your dial.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Another viewpoint permalink
    May 13, 2014 6:47 pm

    I think your suggestion could have unintended consequences — do we really want to discourage dense in-town development just because there are too many cars on that particular stretch of road? Won’t this just send more development out to the suburbs? Traffic isn’t a problem created by new development. It’s a problem created by a lack of adequate transportation alternatives. Stopping development because too many people want to go there really seems like the pinnacle of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

    • May 14, 2014 12:57 pm

      Not necessarily. I don’t want development to stop altogether along Howell Mill, I want it to slow so that we can explore other options. It won’t send development out to the suburbs because that’s naturally where people moving to this stretch are coming from. But the point I’m trying to make is that this area is generally a through way to get to “the highway” (either 75 or 20) and as such, there isn’t many alternative options that people would feel comfortable taking over their loss of time. It would take years to come up with an alternative transportation solution for this area, but unless there is a true ease of travel to make this area attractive to everyone like the Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Inman Park, etc is to their audiences, it will just become another island that people shy away from. New apartment complexes become ghost villages, foreclosure signs go up, and this area that had potential will have become a twinkle in the sky.

  2. August 16, 2014 2:58 am

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