Knoxville is about to get much more accessible.
At a public meeting on Thursday, architects and city of Knoxville officials presented the results of the Greenway Corridor Feasibility and Assessment Study, a three-year examination of the city's greenway system.
The result of the study is a blueprint for adding 24 miles of connective greenways in 13 different corridors to Knoxville's existing trails.
“We really looked for opportunities to continue to connect neighborhoods to their existing resources such as recreation centers and parks and greenways, but also to new areas that weren’t connected before, so commercial hubs, creeks and so forth," Parks and Greenways Coordinator Lori Goerlich said.
Knoxville currently has about 90 miles of trails. Of these, 40 are paved and 50 are dirt or soft-surface.
City leaders said the new study proposes strategically connecting existing greenways and filling in gaps to create a more accessible town.
“Right now, we have a lot of great greenways," Mayor Madeline Rogero said. "But what we wanted to do was connect them so that you really would have a seamless network of greenways and trails throughout our city.”
Rogero said building these connections is also a way to foster a better future for the city.
“By using alternative transportation, whether it’s walking or bicycling or even taking transit, as an example, it helps us build that healthier community and that greener more sustainable," she said.
And it creates less congestion on our roads.”
The City Council has budgeted $3 million over the past three years to begin work on the projects examined in the study. Architectural and engineering firms involved in the study include Ross/Fowler, Cannon & Cannon, and SM&E.
Rogero said the project could take 10 to 20 years to complete.
"We will do as much as we can in my next 3-and-a-half years," she said. "Then, hopefully the next mayor will carry on."
Officials outlined both projects that are in some stage of development and those that present "immediate opportunities" for the near future:
First Creek Greenway: 0.6-mile stretch between Edgewood Park and Woodland Ave and a separate 0.25-mile section between Glenwood Avenue and Caswell Park
Neyland Greenway: 0.3 mile connector from Third Creek east to Joan Cronan Way
Mary Vestal Greenway: Reconstruction on the 0.5 mile trail that will be extended to Ogle Avenue and Martin Mill Pike
Suttree Landing Park and River’s Edge: Two new sections (0.5 miles total) of the South Waterfront Riverwalk
I-275 Business Park Access: 0.6-mile Greenway component between Fifth and Baxter avenues
Sue Clancy Greenway: 0.7-mile extension from Adair Park to Old Broadway
Williams Creek Greenway: One-mile soft surface trail
Northwest Connector: 0.75-mile greenway connecting Victor Ashe Park and the pedestrian bridge; a future connection will continue the greenway 1.3 miles on to Middlebrook Pike
James White Parkway Bridge: A connector between James White Greenway north of the river and planned South Waterfront Riverwalk sections; plus, a future greenway extension here to the south will connect directly with the Urban Wilderness (Corridor J)
Second Creek Greenway: One-mile greenway connection along Second Creek linking World’s Fair Park and Bernard Avenue (Corridor D)
Fourth Creek Greenway: 0.58-mile Brookview Town Centre section (Corridor C)
East Knoxville Greenway: 1.2-mile trail that would link Williams Creek, Dr. Walter Harvey Park, historic sites and the Five Points community (Corridor F)
Smoky Mountain Greenway: 0.94-mile connection that would link Doyle Park and Underwood Park (Corridor L)