After a year of conflict over pedestrian safety concerns, the developer of a Southwest Atlanta warehouse project is now teamed up with two neighborhood associations in a compromise that calls for a new multi-use path and an eventual extension of Murphy Avenue.
The deal — confirmed by the company and both groups — also includes company support for neighborhood lawn, home and streetscape maintenance programs.
California-based Prologis is remaking the 32-acre site of a historic Nabisco snack factory at 1400 Murphy Ave. into a warehouse and logistics complex it has recently dubbed InTown Station. The Capitol View Neighborhood Association (CVNA) and Sylvan Hills Neighborhood Association (SHNA) have opposed the plan’s expected truck traffic impacts.
The project’s traffic study estimates the facility will generate 340 net new heavy-truck trips a day and 454 net new vehicle trips overall. To access the site, trucks would be directed through two intersections about a block away — Murphy and Dill Avenue and Dill and Lee Street. Both intersections are known for tight turns that currently force trucks to drive the wrong way or onto the sidewalk.
The Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT) requested a new, fuller traffic study following local controversy last year. Approval of that plan is the last step before an initial site-disturbance permit is issued.
A draft study and related documents obtained earlier this year by SaportaReport showed Prologis proposing a four-way stop and an unspecified truck-friendly turn at a key intersection. They also showed the developer rejecting ATLDOT suggestions for smaller trucks and ATLDOT officials repeatedly suggesting the removal of sidewalks to make room for the vehicles. That led to further opposition from CVNA and SHNA.
All that changed in recent weeks, according to CVNA President Zachary Adriaenssens, when Prologis contacted the neighborhood associations for a “conversation reset” that led to compromise.
The agreement involves the neighborhood groups supporting the project in exchange for Prologis’s “investment” in local programs and allying with them in the request to the City for the two specific roadway changes outlined by CVNA in a letter to ATLDOT dated Sept. 15 but emailed Sept. 22.
The short-term request is for the City to “formally agree” to spend Prologis’s impact fees — money paid by the developer to support new City infrastructure or services needed for the project — to design and build a multi-use path on Dill under the railroad bridge. Running on the north side of Dill, the path would replace existing sidewalks on both sides of the street, which in part allows trucks room to maneuver. The path would be “protected” from traffic. It could connect to a Lee Street multi-use path that is in the final design phase and an Atlanta BeltLine trail extension proposed as part of the nearby Murphy Crossing redevelopment.
The long-term request is for the City to “agree in principle” to develop a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) “concept report” for rebuilding a roughly 2,000-foot-long stretch of Murphy Avenue that is currently a gap between Victory Drive and Evans Drive. That would allow heavy trucks to access 1400 Murphy Ave. from the south rather than the north and avoid the roadway chokepoints there. The request also calls for the City to fund and build the roadway.
Those requests are in addition to street improvements Prologis has or will agree to with ATLDOT and its prior commitment to improve an entrance to the Oakland City MARTA Station at Murphy and Arden Avenue.
The community “investments” would go to several programs, according to Adriaenssens. That includes an SHNA community garden concept, CVNA programs supporting seniors in lawn and home care and CVNA collaboration with the Murphy Crossing developer on a “community gateway/welcome sign/art piece” at Dill and Murphy.
Prologis spokesperson Mattie Sorrentino confirmed the deal in an email to SaportaReport. “Yes, we are working with and supportive of Capitol View Neighborhood Association and Sylvan Hills Neighborhood Association on improvements near the 1400 Murphy Ave. redevelopment project, including the pedestrian and bike lane and future connection of Murphy Ave. to the south,” she said. “We will also provide resources to help with senior care for lawn maintenance and home repair and streetscape improvements across both neighborhoods.
“I can confirm that SHNA is on board with this,” said Andrew Barrocas, that group’s chair. “… We also appreciate having been able to develop a productive relationship between our neighborhoods, Prologis, GDOT, and the city in the process, and look forward to working together in the future.”
It appears that the request commitments from the City would require agreement by two or more departments. ATLDOT, the City press office and the Atlanta Department of Community Planning did not provide comments.