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Westside Apartment Developments: Is Howell Mill Rd Ready to Handle Increased Traffic?

A look at three apartment developments on the westside along with additional construction coming to the area of the already heavily traversed Howell Mill Road.

It’s the Midtown Patch Question and Picture and of the Day all rolled together as we take a look at development activity along Howell Mill Road on the westside of Atlanta.

The pictures consist of two projects currently under construction and a third that looks to break ground this year. Plus, a shot of an additional construction project coming to the area near Howell Mill and Huff Road.

First up is about a 3-acre property bounded by 9th Street, 8th Street, Brady Avenue and Howell Mill that is currently home to chef Ford Fry’s very popular The Optimist restaurant that opened last spring.

Perennial Properties, which would like to deliver the project by Fall of 2014, has proposed a mixed-use development with 230 apartments and 9,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space wrapped around a multilevel parking deck.

The re-development will add to the 12,000 square feet of existing restaurant and retail/loft office space at the property. Talk is that a new restaurant, possibly featuring Latin-inspired cuisine from Fry, would front Howell Mill at the 9th Street corner.

A few blocks north at the Howell Mill/14th Street intersection, construction crews began work in last Fall on the Elan Westside Apartments project. The apartment project is part of a larger development project known as ‘691 14th Street’ that will ultimately see a joint venture between Prudential Real Estate Investors and Greystar Real Estate Partners deliver a 7-story building with 197 apartments and 11,000 square feet of retail space in late Summer or Fall of 2013.

Also in the last few months about a block west, Walton Communities broke ground on a 4-story, 250-unit apartment project at the intersection of Huff Rd. and Foster Street across the street from the Goat Farm Arts Center and behind the Westside Provisions District.

And there will be further construction between those two developments in 2013 as Westside Provisions District will be expanding at the north end of the shopping and dining district near Huff and Howell Mill. That’s where the freestanding Osteria del Figo restaurant building that for many years served as a liquor package store, will be demolished.

The building removal will make way for expansion including approximately 14,000 square feet of additional retail space, mezzanine spaces and outdoor areas, 95 new parking spaces, a newly graded and paved parking lot, improved driveway aprons, and improved exterior lighting in the north end parking lot.

But can and will Howell Mill Rd. be able to handle all this development? In late November, a sinkhole on the bridge on Howell Mill near Huff caused on-again, off-again road and lane closures for about a week while crews did repairs.

This stretch of Howell Mill regularly is snarled with afternoon rush hour traffic, especially northbound from 10th Street to Collier Road. Spotty sidewalks and the lack of bike lanes also contribute to the traffic congestion on the westside.

Howell Mill traffic congestion isn’t good, but with the addition of these developments to the area, is it about to get a whole lot worse?

Do you make efforts to avoid the area during high volume traffic periods? What will it take for traffic to get better in the area? Share your thoughts and comments in the space below.

Scott Chalk January 24, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Defoor from Howell Mill is now backed up all the way to Collier. Howell Mill at Westside provisions is backed up all the way to 8th St. The city continues to turn the other cheek and let developers do what they want so they can get paid. I am all for progress on the westside. I believe in it and think it's great for the city, but there needs to be some checks and balances about this stuff in conjunction with the DOT. Right now it just feels like a free for all. Quality of life is of major importance as we welcome more people into our neighborhoods.
Alice Pickett March 12, 2013 at 06:49 PM
My current pet peeve is the corner of Howell Mill and Collier. I was so in hopes that McDonald's renovation would not include an exit into Collier at a blind spot in the road, but no, it is now back. OK, I too am guilty of cutting through Underwood and I do feel badly about it, but Huff is impossible as is HM from Huff to Collier. Back to McDonald, I do not think a drive though should be allowed on this part of Howell Mill. We have great weather here. Just get out of the car. Maybe this and some other tweaks would help alleviate the traffic on HM and discourage those of us that cut through neighborhoods, but know its not a good practice. ]
Bakari Height July 08, 2013 at 01:23 PM
The traffic issue will only get worse when development increases. Transit has to be incorporates with this plan. If the developers cannot make their properties easy to allow patrons to easily access buses and possible light rail along this corridor, nothing will be done and Howell Mill will look just like it does now but worse. Transit has to be looked at. There is no other alternative.
Dookie Doo July 10, 2013 at 01:06 AM
I have no clue why the city doesn't conduct impact studies before approving new developments. Howell mill is a mess. Mass transit or intersection improvements should be a stipulation for approval. This is why we need more conservatives in local government. These liberals have no clue what they're doing.
Kyle Montgomery February 28, 2014 at 03:50 PM
I think it would be useful to extend the end of 17th street to cross the water works and intersect with Huff Road. It's a straight shot and would improve traffic flow in the area.

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