Nov 29 2012
02:55 pm

In 2003, TDOT referred the James White Parkway extension project back to local planners in Knoxville. The city formed a task force, headed by Joe Hultquist and Chris Woodhull, that produced a report and recommendations.

Because of renewed interest in the project, the MPC has resurrected the task force report and made it available online.

In summary, the 2005 report recommended moving forward with the project but not before preparing a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The draft EIS is the subject of the Dec. 6th TDOT Public Hearing.

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, in 2005 the powers that

Yes, in 2005 the powers that be in Knoxville/Knox County wanted to extend the JWP. Now, if we can get it taken off the agenda permanently so the next generation of powerful Knoxvillians can't revive the project.

Joe Hultquist's picture

Where we go from here (with TDOT's support)

It's clear from the DEIS that TDOT was unable to comply with the task force's recommendation that the JWP extension be redesigned as a lower impact urban parkway. I've been told by TDOT that they will offer an explanation of why at the public hearing. The alignments presented in the DEIS are far too destructive to be acceptable under any circumstances. Regardless, it would be hard at this point to justify the extension no matter how it was designed, given the cost and negative impact on some of our most precious assets.

That leaves us with the looming capacity issue, which can't be addressed by Chapman Highway improvements alone. I've circulated through some channels a YouTube link to TDOT Commissioner Schroer's Oct. 25 speech at the Middle Tennessee Transit Symposium (which I attended). If you haven't yet seen it, it's (link...). His comments are very pertinent to the JWP question.

What's critically important here is make sure we shift the focus while the issue is hot, and build a consensus around effective alternatives. That may include enhancing the existing network and exploring a transit component.

It's important to note here that there's a potential conflict between increasing capacity on Chapman Highway and making it a great street as proposed in the Chapman Highway Corridor Study. That doesn't mean we can't do both, at least to some degree, but the challenge can't be underestimated.

Now is the time to leverage Commissioner Schroer's position and begin making the transition. Some percentage of the resources that are "on the table" (though not yet allocated) for this project need to be shifted to make good things happen.

Joe Hultquist

michael kaplan's picture

If you haven't yet seen it,

If you haven't yet seen it, it's (link...). His comments are very pertinent to the JWP question.

Sounds to me like a really intelligent presentation.

Joe, under what auspices did you attend the Symposium?

rht's picture

TDOT handout for dec 6 public meeting is online

available at (link...)

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