Bossier City moves to start building connector between major retailers on Airline Drive

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Bossier City officials are wanting to provide two cross-access drives at Walmart Supercenter and Kroger Marketplace on Airline Drive. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

The Bossier City Council has approved litigation that would see a new path between retailers to reduce traffic on Airline Drive. 

The council voted Tuesday to allow the Bossier City attorney’s office to proceed with filling an acquisition of property and/or institution of expropriation paperwork to construct two cross-access drives between the Walmart Supercenter and Kroger Marketplace store on Airline Drive.

At this time, a chain-link fence blocks pedestrians from moving between the two stores.

Stemming from the current situation regarding the cross-access between the Walmart Supercenter and Kroger Marketplace store on Airline Drive, Sam Marsiglia, director of the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission, addressed the council and introduced an ordinance approving an amendment to the unified development code creating regulations for cross-access easements.

“This will take out the confusion of this cross-access in the future of one party not wanting it and the other does, or vice versa when they change their minds,” said Marsiglia.

Listed below is a portion of the proposed amendment change:

Cross-access easement are internal connections between adjacent properties which allow vehicles and pedestrians to make short trips between the properties without having to renter the public road.

Improving public safety is the chief objective of cross-access between adjacent properties, which along with other benefits can:

  1. Reduce traffic congestion and roadway delays by providing an alternative to using the public road for short trips between adjacent developments;
  2. Improve roadway safety by reducing turning conflicts on the public road;
  3. Enhance the market reach of businesses on major thoroughfares by making their access safer and more convenient.

Cross-access easements between adjacent properties are required for all new developments of multifamily dwellings or nonresidential uses fronting on Arterial or Collector roads, except when waived by the  City Engineer as provided herein.

A finale reading of the proposed amendment change will take place on Sept. 17. If approved, it will not go into effect until 10 days after the finale reading. 

Previously reported by the Press-Tribune last month, Assistant Bossier City Attorney Gordon Mosley said the city started looking into this issue after several citizens asked for an easier way to travel between the two stores.

“We began this project because the public desired a way to access the Walmart and Kroger parking lot without having to travel on Airline Drive,” Mosley said. “We hope that these cross-access drives reduce congestion and decrease the amount of accidents that occur on the busy street.”

“Typically, Bossier City always tries to amicably work things out with private companies and land owners. But in a situation like this, where public safety is the primary goal and an agreement could not be reached, the city will utilize expropriation,” Mosley added.

The state issued its support to Bossier City Engineer Mark Hudson’s request for an opinion on the proposal of a connection between the parking lots of Walmart and Kroger.

“By connecting the two parking lots, it would allow customers of the businesses to travel from one location to the other without having to navigate Airline Drive. The connection would also allow customers from Walmart to access George Dement Boulevard and customers from Kroger to access Melrose Avenue,” said Louisiana Department of 

Transportation and Development Public Information Officer Erin Buchanan. “This would enable a motorist to enter Airline Drive from a signalized side street, or enable drivers to access other local roads such as Plantation Drive and Viking Drive. DOTD believes this would create less traffic conflicts and safer conditions.”

Hudson also told the council that a Walmart representative had offered their support in removing the fence and building the cross-access drive that would be located on their side of the property.