Apartments approved for intersection of Marvin, Johnston

Changes are coming to the intersection of Johnston and Marvin roads in the Ballantyne area as part of a recently approved apartment complex project that could start next year.

Charlotte City Council voted Monday night, Dec. 17, to approve a 281-unit apartment complex on roughly 19 acres of land at the busy intersection. The project will come with a new traffic signal, which developer Childress Klein Properties and city leaders hope will be enough to alleviate any negative affect complex residents and visitors have on traffic congestion at the already troubled intersection.

“My concern of course is the number of apartments going in,” said Councilwoman Beth Pickering, who voted against the project. Pickering, an at-large member on council, lives in the area. “I appreciate what Childress Klein has done with … the traffic improvements … I only wish that we could get the traffic improvements without the 281 apartments.”

In voting against the project Monday night, Pickering said she was concerned what impact the new complex could have on area traffic seeing as city council voted last month to approve another apartment complex a few miles away. The Lancaster Road Apartments will include 248 units near south Charlotte’s Providence Pointe neighborhood, which will add to traffic on Johnston. That project also will include some traffic improvements paid for by the developer.

Speaking before city council earlier this year, a representative for the developer said the project could make traffic in the area better, not worse. The developer did not speak before the vote Monday night.

“Ninety percent of the feedback we’re hearing (from area residents) deals with traffic,” Colin Brown, an official with K&L Gates, which is representing Childress Klein Properties on this project, said at an October meeting. “This is one of those rare occasions that I’ve been involved with that I can actually say development is going to improve traffic conditions. This doesn’t mean we’re not adding trips, because we are, but there are significant traffic improvements as a part of this petition.”

As part of the project, a traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Johnston and Marvin, and the existing southbound left-turn lane on Johnston will be extended. Also, a turn lane into the complex will be added on Johnston. The developer hopes these additions will help move cars along more smoothly and keep drivers turning against traffic safer. Requests for a full stop light at the intersection, which a number of residents have asked for, was denied by North Carolina Department of Transportation, which manages that stretch of road. A full stop light in all directions could back traffic up more and add to delays at the intersection, though it would provide safe times for drivers to turn from Johnston and Marvin.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation estimates the project will add 1,830 vehicles a day to area roads. Neighbors have said that’s too low an estimate.

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