(WBIR-Knoxville) After a 70-year-old woman was hit by a car at a crosswalk on Gatlinburg's main artery through town, local business owners want to see city leaders make safety upgrades on the Parkway.
With millions of tourists visiting the city every year, foot traffic is nothing new for Gatlinburg, which has dozens of crosswalks on Highway 441 alone.
"If I am at the crosswalk, cars are supposed to stop on both sides of the street. But they pay no attention to you at all," said John Packard, co-owner of American Sideshow, an antique shop on the north side of town.
Packard said he's witnessed drivers speeding through the crosswalks on a daily basis.
"I've almost been hit 10 times," said Packard. "It's just horrendous trying to get across the street."
At a city commission meeting this week, Packard and other business owners brought concerns to council members, asking city leaders to take action.
"It's a state highway, so the city can only do so much. We'll work with TDOT, and they'll make recommendations, they'll listen to our recommendations, and hopefully something can be done," said Chief Randal Brackins, with the Gatlinburg Police Department.
GPD said there have only been two pedestrians hit on Packard's side of the Parkway.
"At the north end, they're coming from Pigeon Forge and then the speed limit drops, and it takes them a few minutes to slow down. But they do slow down," said Brackins. "But there is a lot of times, as you know, speeders, and we try to be there and make sure they do slow down."
Brackins said the department has boosted the number of patrol officers on 441, reiterating that safety is a top priority.
"We enjoy the comfort of pedestrians walking around downtown, just strolling around as they can. And it's a very fine line to get traffic through town at a safe speed with the pedestrians who cross the highway," said Brackins.
But, Packard said the fine line needs to be bolder.
"The only way that this can be cured now is police presence. Period. Every day," said Packard.
10News witnessed pedestrians running across crosswalks, with drivers barely slowing down, at multiple spots along 441.
The city commission is scheduling workshop to talk to concerned business owners about possible solutions.
"It could be more signage, it could be more police presence, it could be stoplights," said Brackins.
City leaders said every spring, city crews also repaint the lines on the road to try and make crosswalks more visible.