City to add new sidewalks and other measures to promote walkability on South Knoxville waterfront

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suttree landing scenicSuttree Landing is among the South Knoxville waterfront locations that will be connected via an ambitious city streetscaping project.  Courtesy City of Knoxville

Walk it out: Knoxville plans $10m in streetscape, transportation improvements along Tennessee River in SoKno

The city announced March 24 it will soon embark on part of an ultimately $10 million project to improve walkability and pedestrian safety in the burgeoning South Knoxville waterfront community.

The improvements aim to better connect Sevier Avenue with the waterfront, and include sidewalk construction on main neighborhood streets, better lighting and curb and drainage work near Suttree Landing Park, according to a release from the city. It's part of a long-term plan to install and improve sidewalks and bike lanes and generally make the area less dependent on automobiles. Aesthetic improvements such as the relocation of overhead utilities are also planned.

“Connectivity and walkability on and near the South Waterfront are important,” said city Deputy Chief of Economic and Community Development Rebekah Jane Justice. “Here on Waterfront Drive, a privately-developed apartment community is planned, but these public sidewalks and other upgrades will benefit the entire community. It’s a step in the right direction toward making it easier for pedestrians to get between Suttree Landing Park and Sevier Avenue,” Justice said in a press release. 

"In the coming few years, the city will be investing $10 million in a streetscape overhaul of Sevier Avenue – relocating unsightly overhead utility lines and adding bike lanes, improved sidewalks, street lighting, on-street parking and a new roundabout at the Sevier Avenue, Island Home Avenue and Foggy Bottom Street intersection," according to the release.

Here's the rest of the announcement from the city: 

"By the end of the year, new sidewalks will be constructed on sections of Waterfront Drive, Langford Avenue, Dixie Street and Empire Street – a $733,263 project that also will add new streetlights and drainage, curb and utility upgrades in the area near Suttree Landing Park on the South Waterfront. 

Knoxville City Council last evening on March 23 authorized Mayor Indya Kincannon’s administration to execute an agreement with Design and Construction Services Inc., the company submitting the lowest, most responsive bid to do the Waterfront Drive Roadway Improvements Project. 

Work on Claude and Barber streets in the vicinity will be undertaken as funding becomes available. 

This type of project, Justice said, is a good example of the City investing strategically to advance one of Mayor Indya Kincannon’s core priorities – building healthy and connected neighborhoods. 

Oneof those planned private investments is South Banks, an apartment community that Dominion Group hopes to construct by next year off Waterfront Drive. 

Connecting the Sevier Avenue commercial corridor with Suttree Landing Park by improving public infrastructure between the two points is a short-term city objective. It’s the first of much more to come."

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