Atlanta Rd. Marietta Blvd. Study


Community Impact Technical Report 
Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard Study Area 
Please note that the Marietta Blvd. case study only includes the area inside the City of Atlanta and does 
not extend into Cobb County. As part of the revisions to the land use components, this study area will be 
extended past I-285 to include the new developments in Cobb on the other side of I-285. 
Demographics and Environmental Justice Analysis 
One of the most pressing social concerns when examining large-scale infrastructure impacts in 
metropolitan Atlanta is that of environmental justice (EJ). Environmental justice refers to the idea that over 
time, geographic areas with larger-than-average concentrations of minority populations or populations at 
or below the poverty line suffer disproportionate negative environmental impacts. Since 1994, federal 
agencies have been required to identify and address potential or actual disproportional adverse 
environmental effects on minority and low-income populations. Thus it is appropriate to conduct a 
demographic analysis of the five case study areas, with a special emphasis on locating concentrations of 
minority and populations in poverty, in order to address environmental justice issues concerning existing 
and potential future freight traffic impacts. 
To identify areas of environmental justice concern, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), using 
demographic information obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau for the year 20009 for the 13-county 
region, takes regional averages and then uses those averages to highlight those communities which have 
greater-than-average concentrations of both minority populations and populations living in poverty, as 
well as where those two groups overlap. Thus the ARC defines any census block group that meets any of 
the following criteria as an environmental justice-community: greater than 9.1% in poverty, 30.4% African 
American, 3.6% Asian, or 7% of Hispanic origin.  
The ARC does not have specific environmental justice guidelines in terms of the elderly or children. 
However, this demographic analysis will highlight those census block groups that have high percentages 
of people over age 65 or under age 11 living in poverty as compared to the regional average. This 
methodology mirrors the ARC’s methodology for environmental justice which also compares block group 
percentages of specific populations to the regional average of those populations. The following criteria 
represent the regional average for concentrations of elderly and children in poverty: the elderly, 9.6% and 
18.1% for children under age 11. The elderly and children are singled out because these groups are 
typically at greater risk of suffering negative health impacts from freight traffic, because of pre-existing 
health conditions or the development of young lungs and immune systems. In addition, living in poverty 
makes them vulnerable in terms of their mobility and healthcare options.  
Having a larger-than-average percentage of an at-risk population within a block group does not 
necessarily mean that an environmental justice issue is present. Additional analysis must be conducted to 
determine if a significantly adverse impact is affecting the community and if that adverse impact is unfairly 
affecting that population as compared to other populations in the area.10 If it is determined that significant 
adverse impacts are disproportionately burdening an at-risk population, then that population can be said 
 Demographic analysis was conducted using 2000 U.S. Census numbers which are now eight years old and are likely not reflective 
of current populations in the study area. In addition current land use maps utilized in the analysis are also out-of-date as evidenced 
when compared to more current aerial photography revealing on-the-ground development. In all cases, we utilized the most current 
data and maps available.   
 These criteria are set forth by the USDOT. 
Community Impact Technical Report 
to have an environmental justice issue. In the case of this report, the additional analysis consisted of 
reviewing the current land use map of the study area over aerial photography. Block groups that satisfied 
one or more of the ARC criteria for EJ populations were examined more closely to determine if certain 
conditions were present that might cause a negative impact on a surrounding community, neighborhood, 
or housing development.  Conditions include: direct adjacencies of freight facilities and housing units, 
proximity of housing to truck routes, and the presence or absence of transitional land uses or other 
buffering tools such as adequate vegetation. While EJ communities cannot be definitively identified using 
this analysis technique, the analysis points out communities that are potentially at risk.   
This same kind of analysis can also be conducted to assess the potential adverse impacts of future 
projects. However, the demographic analysis in this report is confined to the existing environmental and 
demographic conditions of the five case study areas: Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard, Fairburn, Fulton 
Industrial Boulevard, Gwinnett County, and Henry County. It is recommended that an environmental 
justice scan be conducted as specific freight-based projects are proposed. 
In this report, the demographic profile of each case study area is examined in turn. Each section begins 
with a brief description of the ARC’s environmental justice at-risk populations found in that study area, 
followed by two maps. The first shows the spatial arrangement of the at-risk populations. Areas 
highlighted in green indicate that one EJ criteria is present, yellow indicates two, and red indicates three. 
A table listing all of the block groups for each study area, the total population for each block group, and 
percentages of minority populations and people living in poverty provide additional information regarding 
where EJ issues are present and the percentage of those populations affected. The second map spatially 
locates the elderly and children under 11 living in poverty. If either elderly or children are identified in the 
block group as being in poverty that block group is indicated with one hatch mark. If both children and the 
elderly are identified as living in poverty, that block group is indicated with two hatch marks. The table 
identifies which population is at risk.  
Next the EJ maps are compared to the current land use map for the study area which is laid over an 
aerial image of the study area. This comparison reveals any areas of potential adverse impact from 
freight operations on a particular at-risk community. If an at-risk community group is identified as 
potentially suffering disproportionately from an adjacent freight land use, then it can be called an 
environmental justice community. Such identification allows mitigation measures to be directed to those 
areas to address the existing environmental impacts in addition to ensuring that the community will not 
suffer from future impacts.     
Environmental justice remains a relatively new concern in planning and policy, and strategies to mitigate 
disproportionate environmental impacts on low-income or minority populations are still evolving. Mitigation 
strategies include: ensuring that affected communities have a say in future developments; ensuring 
significant and ongoing public involvement in decision-making; addressing specific community issues and 
responding to community preferences; the provision of environmental benefits to the community such as 
infrastructure upgrades or landscaping and buffering; and providing economic benefits to the community 
such as the creation of job opportunities, guaranteed participation in construction projects, and grants or 
loans for small business start-ups. The goal of environmental justice mitigation is to ensure that 
vulnerable populations that have been receiving an undue share of the burdens of, in the case of this 
report, the freight industry, no longer are unfairly burdened. In addition these populations should receive a 
proportionate share of the benefits of a project.    
Community Impact Technical Report 
Environmental Justice Analysis 
Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard in Fulton County is a sensitive area with respect to environmental justice 
issues, due both to its high concentrations of African-American and low-income populations as well as the 
significant presence of rail within the study area boundaries. Twenty of the 34 block groups that intersect 
or are contained by the study area11 meet both of the ARC’s criteria for African-American percentage and 
percentage in poverty. In 13 block groups, the African-American population is 90% or more of the total 
population in that block group.  
In addition, there are four block groups that exceed ARC specifications for EJ criteria in three separate 
categories (Figure 1). Block groups 88.001 and 89.011, in the north center of the study area, exceed the 
criteria for Hispanic populations. Block group 89.011 has 31.7% of its population of Hispanic origin, 
compared to 5.33% for the study area as a whole (Table 1). Block group 21.001, intersecting the extreme 
south of the study area, exceeds the ARC criteria for both African-American population (69.5%) and 
Asian population (7.7%) as well as population in poverty (43.6%). Block group 89.024, intersecting with 
the study area in the east, exceeds the ARC criteria for population in poverty (16%), Asian population 
(4.2%), and population of Hispanic origin (12.8%).   
Each of these four block groups that exceed the ARC criteria for three EJ categories are located along rail 
lines which run parallel to one another on the western edge of the study area and to the east of Marietta 
Boulevard (Figure 3). Block group 88.001 which includes where the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail lines 
merge into a large rail yard and storage facility has a population total of 1,752 of which almost 60% or 
1,037 are African American, 304 are Hispanic, 583 people exceed the regional average for poverty and 
140 children under the age of 11 live in poverty (Table 1). Block group 89.011 has similar demographics 
although the total population is larger, 3,028 with 1,545 African Americans, 959 Hispanics, 604 living in 
poverty, and 165 children in poverty (Figure 2). Block group 89.024 shifts from a concentration in African- 
American population to Asian and Hispanic although the degree of magnitude of the problem in this area 
is less according to the numbers (fewer people affected). Block group 21.001 in the southern tip of the 
study area exceeds ARC criteria for African Americans, Asians, and people living in poverty along with 
higher than average poverty rates for children and the elderly.  
In addition, all of the block groups that abut the various rail lines all meet at least one EJ criteria, most 
meet two. Block groups 22.001 and 22.002 at the southern tip of the study area tell a clear EJ story. Block 
group 22.001 has a total population of 921 of which 100% are African American, 70% or 646 people live 
in poverty, and 32 elderly and 244 children under the age of 11 live in poverty. Block group 22.002 has a 
total population of 242 of which 236 are African American, over half live in poverty, and 100%, or 22 of 
the children under age 11 live in poverty. In contrast the northeastern portion of the study area, block 
groups 89.016, 97.002, and 97.003, which geographically corresponds to the edge of Buckhead, reveals 
no EJ issues for the nearly 4,000 people who live there. Additionally, the residential neighborhoods are 
well-buffered with vegetation, larger lot sizes, and lower densities against impacts from the rail line that 
runs proximally.   
The environmental impacts of the rail line cause the abutting communities to qualify as EJ communities. 
Although other non-freight environmental issues are also present, it is the purpose of this report to focus 
on freight-related impacts. Rail freight impacts air quality, contributes to noise and light pollution and 
vibration, has impacts where rail intersects the road, has implications for community safety, impacts soil 
and water quality, and can have visual and aesthetic ramifications (see the Freight Impacts and Mitigation 
Best Practices table for more details). In the case of rail, air and noise pollution are the expected primary 
 For this study, demographic data were obtained for each study area using Census data from the 2000 census and gathering and 
analyzing data from the census block groups that intersect or lie completely within the study area boundary.   
Community Impact Technical Report 
impacts on a community, with the remainder of the impacts playing roles to a lesser degree.12 Health 
impacts associated with air pollution result from exposure to ozone and diesel particulate matter. 
Negative health impacts include increased risks of certain cancers, respiratory illnesses, increased risk of 
heart disease, and a compromised immune system, among others. The magnitude of impact has a 
relationship both to the existing health condition of the individual, their EJ status, and their proximity to the 
polluter. Neighborhoods in block group 88.001, which are predominantly African American, high poverty, 
with high percentages of children and elderly living in poverty, directly abut the rail yard where the CSX 
and Norfolk Southern lines come together.13 Research in the public health field has shown that these 
populations are at increased risk of suffering the negative health effects associated with air pollution.  
Additionally, there are health consequences associated with other freight impacts. Noise pollution and 
vibration have both physical and mental health impacts such as annoyance, sleep disturbance, reduced 
productivity, hearing loss and tinnitus, ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and effects on the 
immune system, among others. Light pollution causes such adverse health outcomes as headaches, 
carcinoma and other cancers, sleep deprivation leading to decreased mental capacity, a compromised 
immune system, type 2 diabetes, depression, hypertension, and weight gain, among others. Light 
pollution also has environmental consequences such as disrupting delicate ecosystems by confusing 
animal navigation or changing predator-prey relationships. In addition, it wastes energy, can encourage 
criminal activity when it creates shadows, and can infringe upon one’s sense of privacy causing anxiety or 
Road issues associated with freight movement include traffic congestion at at-grade crossings. Traffic 
congestion has been linked to negative health effects caused primarily by stress—hypertension, 
headaches, weakened immune system. Traffic congestion also increases the exposure of the occupants 
of the car to traffic-related air pollutants. Train crossings can have safety implications particularly when 
drivers try to out-maneuver traffic delays. Rail lines and rail yards have environmental impacts as well. 
Spills from maintenance work and fueling of trains, particulate matter that contaminates the air typically 
from diesel engines and equipment utilized in rail yards, fluids generated from the cleaning of equipment 
that contaminate ground water, and chemicals used for vegetation management that leach into the soil 
and water all have health implications for surrounding communities.   
It is for these reasons that the populations surrounding the rail lines and rail yard in the Atlanta 
Road/Marietta Boulevard study area qualify as EJ communities. They are at-risk by virtue of their high 
concentrations of vulnerable populations and disproportionately suffer the impacts of the rail yard as 
compared to other populations in the study group, primarily the wealthier, predominately white 
communities in the northeastern portion of the study area.           
 It was beyond the scope of this demographic analysis to conduct on the ground research in the case study areas, so all freight 
impacts discussed in this report are based upon extensive literature reviews of respected researchers in the field including the 
Federal Highway Administration and the Transportation Research Board. 
 The land use analysis section discusses this particular incompatible land use situation in greater detail and offers possible 
mitigation solutions. 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Table 1.  Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard Case Study Area 
 Against ARC Criteria Against Regional Mean 
Elderly (65+) 
in Poverty 
(under 11) 
in Poverty 
5.001 1,722 No (9.9%) No (2.7%) No (2.0%) No (7.9%) No (0.0%) No (4.4%) 
6.001 2,736 No (10.9%) 
(18.9%) No (4.5%) Yes (23.2%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) 
7.001 3,137 Yes (88.3%) No (0.2%) No (1.7%) No (3.2%) No (9.1%) Yes (21.4%) 
7.002 449 Yes (48.6%) No (1.8%) No (4.5%) Yes (15.8%) No (0.0%) Yes (22.9%) 
8.003 943 Yes (95.0%) No (0.0%) No (1.4%) Yes (22.8%) Yes (21.1%) Yes (29.0%) 
8.005 586 Yes (94.9%) No (0.0%) No (1.0%) Yes (30.4%) Yes (28.6%) Yes (55.7%) 
10.002 1,448 No (8.6%) 
(41.4%) No (6.4%) Yes (17.5%) No (0.0%) Yes (27.3%) 
10.003 1,916 No (6.7%) 
(19.1%) No (4.2%) No (0.8%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) 
10.004 4,425 No (13.0%) 
(17.8%) No (2.8%) No (3.6%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) 
10.005 1,434 No (11.0%) Yes (13%) No (2.6%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) 
19.001 1,361 Yes (61.4%) No (2.0%) No (2.0%) Yes (36.2%) Yes (55.0%) Yes (40.5%) 
19.002 671 Yes (83.5%) No (2.4%) No (3.4%) Yes (60.2%) Yes (56.7%) Yes (56.8%) 
21.001 1,604 Yes (69.5%) 
(7.7%) No (2.4%) Yes (43.6%) Yes (49.1%) Yes (37.9%) 
22.001 921 
(100.0%) No (0.2%) No (0.4%) Yes (70.1%) Yes (78.1%) Yes (72.8%) 
22.002 242 Yes (97.5%) No (0.0%) No (1.2%) Yes (52.5%) Yes (72.2%) Yes (100.0%) 
23.001 649 
(100.0%) No (0.2%) No (1.9%) Yes (47.6%) Yes (33.3%) Yes (75.9%) 
23.004 983 Yes (98.7%) No (0.2%) No (1.2%) Yes (35.1%) Yes (46.0%) No (15.8%) 
23.006 1,095 Yes (97.6%) No (0.6%) No (0.4%) Yes (26.9%) Yes (53.3%) Yes (27.4%) 
25.001 866 Yes (97.6%) No (0.2%) No (0.5%) Yes (41.0%) Yes (25.4%) Yes (85.3%) 
25.004 728 
(100.0%) No (0.0%) No (1.0%) Yes (38.7%) Yes (23.1%) Yes (62.9%) 
26.001 1,330 Yes (97.1%) No (0.0%) No (1.3%) Yes (30.8%) Yes (19.7%) Yes (38.4%) 
85.001 1,827 Yes (92.7%) No (0.0%) No (0.6%) Yes (24.8%) Yes (34.0%) Yes (26.8%) 
85.003 901 Yes (91.8%) No (0.3%) No (0.1%) Yes (26.4%) Yes (14.2%) Yes (37.3%) 
87.011 312 Yes (93.3%) No (0.0%) No (0.0%) Yes (25.0%) Yes (13.0%) Yes (68.6%) 
88.001 1,752 Yes (59.2%) No (0.3%) Yes (17.4%) Yes (33.3%) Yes (20.1%) Yes (50.9%) 
88.003 1,220 Yes (36.3%) No (0.3%) No (6.2%) Yes (26.5%) Yes (16.3%) Yes (53.8%) 
89.011 3,028 Yes (51.0%) No (1.1%) Yes (31.7%) Yes (20.0%) Yes (36.8%) Yes (25.5%) 
89.012 3,066 No (9.8%) No (2.7%) No (4.6%) Yes (10.3%) No (3.3%) No (0.0%) 
89.016 1,305 No (12.1%) No (1.3%) No (6.0%) No (4.8%) No (9.1%) No (0.0%) 
89.021 2,321 No (16.2%) Yes (8.4%) No (3.6%) Yes (18.6%) No (0.0%) Yes (21.4%) 
89.023 755 No (26.8%) Yes (4.4%) No (4.2%) Yes (13.3%) Yes (16.4%) No (0.0%) 
89.024 1,783 No (13.5%) Yes (4.2%) Yes (12.8%) Yes (16.0%) Yes (29.9%) No (4.9%) 
97.002 1,089 No (3.9%) No (1.0%) No (0.5%) No (1.2%) No (4.1%) No (0.0%) 
97.003 1,595 No (0.0%) No (2.3%) No (1.7%) No (2.8%) Yes (10.5%) No (0.0%) 
Source:  U.S. Census, 2000 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Figure 1. Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard EJ Block Groups 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Figure 2. Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard EJ Block Groups with Elderly and Children 
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Figure 3.  Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard Current Land Use Map 
Community Impact Technical Report 

Current and Future Land Use Analysis 
The Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard area historically has been the site of rail yards and freight and 
logistics facilities with the prevailing land use being industrial. In fact, 27% of the land use in the study 
area is classified as industrial.14 However, 23% of current land uses are residential in nature with the area 
experiencing a renewed interest in residential development. Mixing of industrial and residential land uses, 
while possible, must be planned and designed carefully so as to mitigate the effects of what are 
incompatible land use adjacencies. Otherwise the health, well-being, and quality of life of neighboring 
communities are likely to be compromised. Additionally, the rail and freight entities will probably 
experience increased objection and push-back from residents as they try to reclaim or create a 
“neighborhood-feel” for their communities, devoid of freight movement particularly by heavy truck.     
A similar study area was the subject of a 2005 report for the City of Atlanta entitled Bolton/Moores Mill 
Livable Centers Initiative Transportation and Circulation Study.15 As part of this report, heavy vehicle 
travel routes and impacts were monitored and issues were identified by neighborhoods as being 
problematic. These issues included: cut-through traffic, noise, traffic and pedestrian safety, congestion, 
poor roadway and pavement conditions, and poorly designed intersections. An outcome of this report was 
proposed new truck routes to alleviate the impacts of freight on residential areas. Clearly, this report 
indicates that industrial and residential land use adjacencies have compatibility issues within this case 
study area and freight is considered by the community to be the entity that needs to change in response 
to encroaching residential development (Figure 4). Was community input sought to draw this conclusion?  
The future land use map supports the continued influx of residential development to this largely industrial 
case study area (Figure 5). Three trends are evident from the future land use map. The first trend is the 
up-zoning of greenspace to residential zoning classifications. The second is an increase in the presence 
of mixed-use zoning; the third, an increase in zoning for residential uses primarily in the medium to high 
density classifications. The first trend, converting greenspace to residential uses, is problematic in that the 
few remaining opportunities for adequate buffering between industrial and residential land uses are being 
lost. The potential loss of greenspace is evident after comparing Figures 3 and 5.  
The second trend of incorporating a mixed-use category as a buffering land use between industrial and 
residential uses is good in theory but not necessarily in practice. In Figure 4, the land lots that roughly 
equate to 17-227 and 17-192, and surrounding lots, show a shift of land use classifications from industrial 
to mixed-use. However, land lot 17-227 to the south of the CSX/Norfolk Southern rail yard convergence 
does not buffer the medium density residential classification found in 17-228, formerly greenspace, from 
the industrial rail yard. Land lot 17-192 was primarily industrial and becomes mixed-use in the future land 
use map. However, it slices through industrial uses, runs along Marietta Boulevard a designated truck 
route, and between two major rail yards and rather than acting as a buffer, potentially places future 
residents (should residential be part of the mixed-use) in increased harms way of suffering from freight- 
related impacts.   
Finally, the third trend of allowing more residential development proximal to freight-related uses whether 
the rail yards, rail lines, or truck routes not only places more people at increased risk, it increases the 
likelihood of continued freight-neighborhood schisms. Residential development, such as in Figure 6 that 
shows single family homes less than 100 feet16 from the busy intermodal rail yard and buffered only by 
 All percentages of land uses are taken from Wilbur Smith Associates Land Use Case Studies.  
 The report is available on the City of Atlanta website at Graphics for the report are 
available on the City of Atlanta website at 
 Exposure to air pollution is exacerbated at distances less than 200 meters to a roadway with 10,000 AADT or greater.  
Community Impact Technical Report 
Marietta Road, a designated truck route with approximately 17% heavy truck traffic,17 is according to the 
future land use map, an acceptable and desired development pattern. In fact, such development patterns 
place people in close proximity to heavy polluters, traffic congestion, pedestrian-vehicle safety situations, 
noise, and other offenders for sensitive land uses. Such adjacencies become of increasing concern when 
vulnerable populations are affected as is potentially the case in this instance. Figure 2 shows that block 
group 88.001 has a larger than average percentage of African Americans, Hispanics, and people living in 
poverty, satisfying three of the ARC’s criteria for an environmental justice community. In addition, the 
block group has a larger than average percentage of elderly and children under the age of 11 living in 
Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard exemplifies a highly industrial area (rail and truck) that is experiencing 
the pressures of encroaching residential and mixed-use development. This case study area is also at 
increased sensitivity to environmental justice issues with 30 out of 34 block groups satisfying at least one 
ARC criteria for an at-risk population. Freight-related issues that have been identified by residents in this 
study area include: noise, air pollution, cut-through traffic, road and pavement conditions, inadequate 
intersection infrastructure, and traffic congestion. All of which are typical complaints with freight located 
adjacent to incompatible land uses such as highly sensitive receptors like residential neighborhoods. 
Prevention and mitigation methods for these freight impacts and others can be found in the Impacts of 
Freight and Mitigation Best Practices Table in Section 2.          
 Bolton/Moores Mill Transportation and Circulation Study. 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Figure 4.  Heavy Truck Routes Existing and Proposed 
  Source:  Bolton/Moores Mill Transportation and Circulation Study. Arcadis G&M, Inc. For the City of Atlanta.  
Community Impact Technical Report 
Figure 5.  Future Land Use Map for NPU-D  
Source:  City of Atlanta 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Figure 6.  EJ Community 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Environmental Impacts of Freight Movement and Freight Facilities 
Freight movement and freight facilities can affect the surrounding environment in many ways. The 
buildings and infrastructure of freight facilities and operations can disrupt habitat and can contribute to the 
loss of green and open space.  The movement of freight into, out of, and through facilities and on freight 
corridors contributes to regional and local air pollution.  Fueling, maintenance, cleaning and other routine 
operational activities can lead to pollutants in surrounding surface and ground waters and soils.  
Additionally, the land uses associated with freight facilities and movement often consists of large amounts 
of impervious surfaces which can lead to increased non-point source stormwater runoff into surrounding 
waterways.  These impacts can also affect surrounding communities and populations leading to health 
concerns and decreased quality of life.  While numerous, these impacts can be prevented or mitigated 
through technological, operational, education, planning and design, and policy and regulation efforts.  
This section provides a brief overview of the general effects of freight movement and freight facilities on 
the surrounding environment and also gives a summary of the specific impacts of the study area.   
Air Quality 
Diesel emissions are a primary contributor to ambient particulate matter and gaseous pollution levels.  
These emissions contribute to regional and atmospheric changes that exacerbate global warming, acid 
rain, decreased visibility, and ozone depletion.  In addition, due to high volumes of trucks and other diesel 
vehicles, freight facilities can be air quality hot spots, locales where pollutant concentrations are 
substantially higher than concentrations indicated by ambient outdoor monitors located in adjacent or 
surrounding areas.  The pollutant concentrations within hot spots can vary over time depending on 
various factors including emission rates, activity levels of contributing sources, and meteorological 
conditions.  In areas where residential land uses are proximate (closer than 200 meters) to freight 
facilities or corridors, these hot spots can lead to acute and chronic exposure to elevated pollution levels 
negatively affecting the populations living nearby. 
There are many health effects associated with both ambient and locally concentrated air pollution.  These 
include reduced lung function, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, cancer, irritation of breathing 
passages and premature death with children and the elderly being at a higher risk than the general 
population.  Furthermore, both short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) exposure to particulate matter 
has been associated with increased rates of cardio-respiratory morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) 
including increased lung cancer risk.     
There are several strategies that can mitigate the effects of freight facilities and movement on the 
surrounding areas.   
Land uses associated with freight corridors and facilities contribute to non-point source water pollution 
through stormwater runoff.  Non-point source water pollution comes from many diffuse sources and is 
caused by water moving over and through the ground picking up and carrying pollutants into waterways 
and groundwater sources.  This is in part due to the large amounts of impervious surfaces associated 
with the industrial facilities and infrastructure related with freight movement.  Non point-source pollution 
can lead to a deterioration of recreational uses of waterways, can harm water quality, and can potentially 
Community Impact Technical Report 
affect the health of nearby residents.  Impervious surfaces can also contribute to increased quantities of 
runoff leading to erosion problems, flooding, and increased sediment loads in nearby streams and rivers.   
In addition to environmental impacts, stormwater runoff can also contribute to health effects.  Stormwater 
runoff, especially from industrial land uses, can carry large amounts of contaminants, both microbial and 
chemical, into storm sewers and streams affecting water quality.  Polluted runoff can also contaminate 
groundwater sources.  Polluted stormwater runoff has been associated with outbreaks of waterborne 
diseases implying a link between polluted runoff and public health. Waterborne illnesses can be caused 
by drinking contaminated water, recreational contact with contaminated water, or by eating produce 
irrigated with untreated water. The effects of contact or ingestion of contaminated water are much greater 
in vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. 
Stormwater runoff reduction measures in the construction and redevelopment phases of freight facilities 
could help mitigate some of the negative effects of stormwater runoff associated with freight movement 
and freight facilities.   
porous pavements where appropriate and feasible. 

The land uses associated with freight movement and freight facilities often cause fragmentation in green 
and open spaces.  These spaces are made up of ecologically active lands such as parks, farms, 
forestlands, and wetlands.  These types of spaces provide external benefits such as improved air and 
water quality, wildlife habitat and biological diversity, and social benefits including preservation of 
historic/rural character and aesthetic value and positive health benefits.    Additionally, vegetative buffers 
can benefit both people and the environment.  They can provide necessary separation between 
incompatible land uses blocking excess noise and light and can also mitigate negative environmental 
effects associated with air emissions and stormwater runoff. Green and open spaces can be proactively 
planned as part of greenfield developments or can be undertaken retroactively as brownfield re- 
Green and open spaces provide many benefits to the community and can also be used to mitigate and 
minimize many of the environmental impacts associated with the movement and processing of freight.   

and treatment of stormwater runoff.  

quality issues. 

the urban heat-island effect, associated with large amounts of impervious surfaces, which can 
 The EPA has a publication entitled “Characteristics of Sustainable Brownfield Projects” which covers strategies for effectively 
returning industrial uses to functional green and open spaces.  This can be found at: 
Community Impact Technical Report 
contribute to increased levels of ground-ozone formation and heat related illnesses and death 
(EPA, 2007). 
 In areas of greenfield development, proactively plan for the strategic conservation and location of 
green and open space. 
Community Impact Technical Report 
Environmental Analysis 
The Atlanta Road/Marietta Boulevard study area contains a wide array of environmental concerns that 
should be taken into account when planning and developing freight movement infrastructure and freight 
facilities.  Issues surrounding water quality and proximity to air quality hot spots are the most prevalent 
environmental issues in this study area.  The study area contains wetlands, floodplains, some areas with 
steep topography and is close to the Chattahoochee River.  Future land use plans and decisions should 
require that non-point source pollution from warehouse and distribution areas is minimized.  This can be 
accomplished through the use of both structural and non-structural best management practices (BMP).  
Structural BMPs are those that physically treat runoff at the point of generation or discharge.  Filtration, 
detention, and retention systems are examples of structural BMPs.  Non-structural BMPs are less direct 
methods designed to address the runoff problem through education, design, and open space protection to 
name a few. 
Additionally, there are some locations within the study area where residences are located immediately 
adjacent to rail yards (see the Environmental Justice Section of this report).  There are also transitional 
land uses adjacent to rail yards and other freight facilities that could possibly become residential areas.  
These residences and potential future residences could be in air quality hot spots which could be subject 
to air pollutant levels that are higher than ambient concentrations.  These air quality hot spots could put 
local residents at higher risk for the negative health effects associated with air pollution.   
An overview of hot spot monitoring and mitigation practices is covered in Transportation Conformity 
Guidance for Qualitative Hot-spot Analyses in PM2.5 and PM10 Nonattainment and Maintenance Areas 
published by the Environmental Protection Agency.19   Additionally, the Impacts of Freight and Mitigation 
Best Practices Table, Section 2, contains links to best practices and case studies for managing freight 
uses with respect to environmental concerns. shapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2