After some early stumbles, skepticism and pain for local merchants, the Cumberland Ave. makeover is finished, on time and on budget. And it looks fabulous.

Don't believe me? Look at these before and after photos.

Some of the signs are still an eyesore, so the city needs to work on the sign ordinance, but overall it's a huge improvement. Traffic patterns will be interesting for U.T.'s first home football game on Sept. 9th as fans adjust.

According to the City, the project transformed Cumberland Ave. between 17th and 22nd streets into "a safer, more pedestrian-friendly corridor with new utility infrastructure, wider sidewalks, improved traffic flow, a raised median and left-turn lanes at intersections."

Gov. Haslam joined Mayor Rogero and other local officials yesterday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the project's completion.

MORE: The New Cumberland Avenue: Safer, More Functional - and Also Greener

SEE ALSO: Previous discussion...

bizgrrl's picture

Love the wide sidewalks and

Love the wide sidewalks and greenery. Looking forward to the trees to be planted this fall.

Lurker's picture


Has any parking been added? If, for instance, you wanted to have lunch at the Chipotle on the strip where would you park?

Bill Lyons's picture

Parking for Cumberland

Has any parking been added? If, for instance, you wanted to have lunch at the Chipotle on the strip where would you park?

Yes UT has a new garage under construction a block away from the heart of the district. They have worked with us at the City to provide a significant number of spaces for public use. More spaces will be available at minimal charge on nights and weekends.

Knoxgal's picture

Congratulations to the City

Congratulations to the City for completing this project. The street trees will make yet another major step forward.

Unfortunately, we'll have to lose the ugly signs by attrition. A new sign ordinance was put in place two years ago, but existing signs were grandfathered. Under the new ordinance new signs can't be taller than 10'. My understanding is that merchants were asked to change out their big, ugly, signs, but many refused. (Pilot is a prime example).

R. Neal's picture

I figured all those signs

I figured all those signs were grandfathered.

Wonder if the city could say hey, this is going away. You have five years or whatever to adapt.

Or, offer incentives for civic minded merchants. If enough signed up it might shame the others into joining. Except Pilot, of course.

barker's picture

driving it

I got off Alcoa Highway and drove east on Cumberland at rush hour today. The traffic was about as bad as normal at the interchange, where there are lots of lanes. The traffic on Cumberland itself, however, was pleasantly smooth. Lines were a little longer westbound, but eastbound it was relatively smooth sailing. The new configuration seems to be working fine, at least for those in automobiles.

jbr's picture

Lyft's redesigned street concept could fix L.A. traffic

Looks familiar ....

Want your city to fix its traffic issues? It should start by narrowing streets and planting trees where cars currently drive.

Lyft's redesigned street concept could fix L.A. traffic

bizgrrl's picture

We drove down Cumberland on

We drove down Cumberland on game day, maybe Sept. 9. Yes it was very busy. But, it was much more pleasant than before and went very smoothly. We were going west so it was probably a little easier than those going east to get into the ball game.

It was nice to not have to worry about the skinny lanes and someone sideswiping your car. The intersections seem to work better. It is a bit of a problem going east from the Alcoa Hwy bridge to the train trestle, going from four lanes to two. Generally, it doesn't seem like a long wait.

We drove Chapman Hwy the other day to Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, etc. There is a section where they have done something similar. In this section they took it down to two lanes and a center turn lane. We like it so far. A little less worry about someone crossing the center line and you can now more safely get on and off the road. They also reduced the speed limit from 55 to 50. I appreciated that.

michael kaplan's picture

Unfortunately, two of the

Unfortunately, two of the intersections remain disasters: the 17th/Cumberland, and Volunteer/Cumberland. It's almost impossible to exit from the campus at these intersections, even midday when traffic isn't so heavy.

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