R. Neal's picture

Even Brian Hornback is

Even Brian Hornback is opposed:


It appears that universal opposition has coalesced. So who will come out for it? Road builders, asphalt/gravel providers, etc.? Should be an interesting public hearing on Dec. 6th.

fischbobber's picture

Hard to follow

I know it's hard to follow and visualize on maps (mainly because I can't find one that has all the plans that tie together in one place), but I certainly hope someone shows up with an alternative plan to tie the South Waterfront public infrastructure and the Urban Wilderness plans together.

That's a lot of funding to leave on the table simply because someone forgot to update a plan for thirty years.

I would hate to be explaining to my great grandchildren, thirty years from now that we had a great plan during the Obama administration, and a chance to fund it, we just couldn't get everyone on the same page.

Plus, the proposed roadway makes great sense as a greenway route tying into the TWRA land and Ijams from an inland route. It provides simple direct greenway access to thousands of residences with a minimum ecological impact.

R. Neal's picture

Pedestrian and bicycle

Pedestrian and bicycle accommodations are discussed at length in the draft EIS, for both the build and no-build alternatives. TDOT proposes to mitigate numerous disruptions of pedistrian/bicycle routes by including a James White Greenway component in the build alternative.

Based on observation of previous TDOT meetings like this, the purpose is to present the draft EIS findings, the build/no-build alternatives, and allow public comment on them. The comments are transcribed, and you can also fill out a form to have your comments on the record without speaking. People can also write up their remarks ahead of time and have them attached to a comment form to save time at the meeting.

In speaking or in written comments, people can suggest other ideas and/or alternatives. The TDOT/NEPA process, though, only considers remarks specific to the proposed project and the build/no-build alternatives. And either way, they generally go in one TDOT ear and out the other.

My impression is that these things are decided by the powers that be as opposed to any public input or suggestions. (The only way public input is considered is when the public organizes and lawyers up.) In the case of the JWP extension, the powers that be and community organizations are aligned against it.

We haven't yet heard, however, from the roadbuilding and convenience store lobby, or the subdivision developers (who at this point don't have much skin to put in the game).

It will be interesting to see who shows up at the meeting to support a build alternative and what possible rationale they might conjure up.

michael kaplan's picture

what possible rationale they

what possible rationale they might conjure up.

Jane Jacobs, in Dark Age Ahead, said that the usual rationale offered by the highway lobby is Job Creation

Treehouse's picture

No money

Actually, there isn't any money committed to this project. But we certainly should push for improvements to Chapman Highway at this point because the focus is on roads in South Knoxville. Getting money for Chapman has been impossible up to now.

Average Guy's picture

The meeting

The meeting should be a catalyst for using the money to improve Chapman.

The hostage taking "no-build" translates into "no soup for you!". But that TDOT position is not their only one..

From TDOT: 

The No-Build Alternative would mean that James White Parkway would not be extended and no other major improvements to existing roadways, including Chapman Highway, would occur.

From TDOT's spokesperson: 

He says other improvements can be made and have been made in the past on Chapman Highway.

"Over the years on Chapman Highway, there have been sections that have been widened. There have been multiple improvements that have been made, including pavement markings and center lane rumble strips," Nagi said.

He also says several projects are in the works for the highway. One is about five miles east of the accident site, where a center turn lane will be added from U.S. 411 to Macon Lane.

Other improvements will be made from Evans Road to Burnett Lane.


Having it both ways much TDOT? 

Stan G's picture

Not Following Your Thinking Here, Fischbobber

You posted this above:

I know it's hard to follow and visualize on maps (mainly because I can't find one that has all the plans that tie together in one place), but I certainly hope someone shows up with an alternative plan to tie the South Waterfront public infrastructure and the Urban Wilderness plans together.

You posted this a day or two ago:

We followed the signage from JWP to the Will Skelton Greenway and back to downtown. The route was straightforward and easy to follow. It was the first time the route from JWP to the greenway made any sense.

Island Home Ave, and the Riverwalk if it's completed that far east, connect the South Knoxville Waterfront with Ijams, and the Will Skelton Greenway connects Ijams with the TWRA Wildlife Management Area and the Urban Wilderness Trail. Don't know that it's available online, however I suggest you find a copy to the City of Knoxville Greenways map of current and proposed greenways

fischbobber's picture

My apologies for rushing the thought

The big picture I was referring to runs from Alcoa Hwy along the river to the dam on the west and south, generally bordering I140 at its border (and connecting with the Blount county greenways there ) and heading back north along any number of usable roads.

From the JWP if one imagines a greenway along the proposed hwy route instead of a road, there is a point where it makes sense to veer east in order to complete a loop, giving one a loop ride instead of an out and back.

I'm familiar with the current greenway situation, but I will start perusing the plans.

I see the current termination of the JWP as a sort of "Greenway Ground Zero." It would be a place, the only place I know of, where scouts could come and accomplish the cycling merit badge


(see particularly requirement 8 and 9)

The current end of the parkway would literally be the destination. At the risk of being overly ambitious, I would suggest some sort of camping area for medium to large sized groups as well as an improved camping area for individual campers. I would point to Indian Boundary recreation area as a model. I would also submit that group areas be multi-use and available for functions beyond just group camping. I would also recommend satellite parking within walking distance for such a venue. I've spent far too much time thinking about this.

Finally, if such a venue was built, I would market it to scouting groups, church groups, conservation groups, high schools etc. The beauty of the place is that non-campers (we've all heard them. Their idea of roughing it is no room service.) can stay five minutes away at the Marriott and if we size the venue properly, we could get 2 to 10 bookings a year to the convention center. And it wouldn't cost 100 million to make it happen.

Sorry I got ahead of myself, but I'm on my fourth or fifth scouting trip for my Cedar Bluff to Ijams ride and every time I go south I see more and more possibilities.

fischbobber's picture

The greenway plan


It is worthy of its own post. If there is a way for funding the JWP section of the greenway through the planning process I'm all for it. I also support this plan. I didn't realize this document existed until tonight and anyone that doesn't think its implementation would make Knoxville a destination just doesn't get out much.

/tmp/PreviewPasteboardItems/park_plan_adopted_2010 (dragged).pdf

Somebody's picture

I'm sure from TDOT's

I'm sure from TDOT's perspective, this is just a proposed JWP extension project. It's not a comprehensive "South Knoxville transportation project." It's really not surprising that for this particular project that there would only be "build" and "no build" options. If you want improvements to Chapman Highway instead, that's a different project. It makes sense that a "build" option might include some work on other nearby roadways to facilitate traffic flow for the extension project, but that "no-build" options would not address those things at all.

Think of it this way. If you asked a landscape architect to design a new half-circle driveway for your house, she might come back with a proposal that includes some different possible orientations for the driveway, and additional grading in your front yard, plus options for sidewalks and stoops to get you from the new driveway to any nearby entrances to the house. You can then look at those things and decide whether you want to hire a contractor to build them or not.

The architect is not going to include a proposal that has no driveway at all, but includes a nice paved path from your back door, through the woods behind your house, down to the nearest greenway. While that might be a healthier and more environmentally-friendly transportation option to get you from your house to other places, that's not within the parameters of what you asked for. If an architect did include such an added alternative and then submitted a bill for some number of hours of time spent designing that option, you would likely refuse to pay that portion of the bill. I know I would.

The JWP thing is and should be "build" or "no build." It seems like there's a lot of consensus for "no build." If that's the ultimate decision, then good, they don't build it. Would you like a project to make improvements to Chapman Highway? That's a different project. Frankly it's probably easier to get such a thing designed if the JWP "no build" decision is made and put to bed. Then there's no need to consider the possible JWP extension when designing improvements to Chapman.

Average Guy's picture

Talking about dollars and sense

I wasn't referring to the projects as much as the dollars.

If TDOT won't, or can't, see Chapman needs simultaneously with JWP wants, then I think you've identified part of the problem.

And if what you say is correct, why does TDOT specifically address Chapman when referring to the "no build" (no money) option?

Somebody's picture

Do you not understand the

Do you not understand the concept of having defined parameters of a project? Why not address Alcoa Highway in the "no build" option? Why not address Pellissippi Parkway in the "no build" option? Why not? Because they're different projects. It's the same as your Veterans Hospital thing. "No build" does not mean "does anybody have any other ideas?"

There is not a pot of money somewhere labeled "Let's Do Something in South Knoxville." The "no build" option for JWP does not free up a pile of money to be spent on "let's just do this instead." That is not how budgeting and project development works.

bizgrrl's picture

The "no build" option for JWP

The "no build" option for JWP does not free up a pile of money to be spent on "let's just do this instead." That is not how budgeting and project development works.

Are you sure?

Somebody's picture

Pretty sure.

Pretty sure.

R. Neal's picture

From the draft EIS

Not a specific pile of money, but, from the draft EIS:

The No-Build Alternative, as the name implies, would mean that James White Parkway would not be constructed and no other major improvements or additional roadway alignments will be constructed in the project vicinity between downtown Knoxville and Chapman Highway. Some Transportation System Management (TSM) related projects, including any projects identified in the 2034 Knoxville Regional Mobility Plan (KRMP), for years 2009-2034 ((link...), KRTPO, 2009) and/or Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for years 2011-2014 ((link...), KRTPO, 2010), may be implemented to improve existing roadways, including Chapman Highway and connecting roadways. Such improvements may include the addition of turn lanes, signal improvements, and other minor improvements to the existing roadway. In addition, improvements or expansion of existing transit systems in the Knoxville region are being planned for the foreseeable future. Such improvements will also occur under the No-Build Alternative.

Rachel's picture

That paragraph confused the

That paragraph confused the heck out me the first time I read it.

But at the SKNBC meeting Tuesday night, one of our members had an email from TDOT's project manager, who had been asked about this.

It basically said that improvements to Chapman Highway are not off the table.

So I'm unconfused.

ma am's picture

I agree with Somebody.

Please see comment below.

Average Guy's picture

I do understand those

I do understand those represented by the road building lobby stand to make a hell of a lot more money building new roads than they do fixing current ones.

But I guess I don't understand if Chapman and JWP are seen independently by TDOT, why does TDOT specifically address Chapman when proposing JWP?

bizgrrl's picture

Not to defend TDOT

Not to defend TDOT completely, but in my experience with them in the Alcoa area, they design solutions to problems brought to them by local government officials, who can be influenced by business owners.

TDOT designed a fix to Alcoa Highway between Singleton Station Road and Hall Road. The local business owners did not like it. TDOT then designed a new Alcoa Highway Bypass, based on input from City of Alcoa officials. TDOT changed their design based on input from the powers that be. Hopefully TDOT will change their fix to Chapman Highway, no JWP extension, based on the powers that be in Knoxville. If only we could get the same kind of consensus in Alcoa to stop the Alcoa Highway bypass.

Rachel's picture

Here's my view: those

Here's my view: those opposed to the JWP extension (and there are obviously many) should emphasize to TDOT what they are FOR rather than what they are AGAINST.

And what they are FOR is the Urban Wilderness and improvements to Chapman Highway.

ma am's picture

DEIS is for JWP

I have experience working with DOTs and DEISs. I think below is an accurate assessment of what the DEIS is supposed to do, not to, and what you are supposed to do as a commenter.

The DEIS is for JWP proposed extension, and nothing else. Chapman Hwy would be a different project, with a different scope, different alternatives, and a different EIS. The fact that TDOT does not include Chapman hwy improvements doesn't mean anything, except that they are out of scope of the prposed project.

It doesn't mean TDOT will never improve Chapman, but if you read EIS closely, it does make the case that improving Chapman will not solve the road capacity problem in the future. The capacity issue is what gives TDOT the reason for the JWP. There are good reasons to improve Chapman, though, and I suggest we need to push our leaders to ask for these improvements. The DEIS mentions these, as R. notes, but essentially states that they are irrelevant for the proejct under evaluation. In other words, if you want to improve Chapman Hwy, you need an entirely different project for the public's review. That our leaders are engaged in opposition to JWP, and some of them are in support of Chapman Hwy improvements, makes this a good time to essentially -- start over. Get a new Task Force together to fix Chapman Hwy, reach a consensus, and then ask TDOT to design a project around what the community really wants. There may already be something like this out there. It would probably involve some high level meetings between TDOT and our community leaders to get the project going. Is there anyone here who can make that case with Rogero and Burchett? SKNBC?

On the DEIS, it is ok to mention that Chapman hwy improvements are what you prefer. This might help make the point to TDOT, but I strongly recommend to address the DEIS. Stay strongly focused on the merits or deficits of the project that is presented in the DEIS.

Treehouse's picture

There is a plan

The Chapman Highway Corridor Study is available although I don't have a link.

R. Neal's picture

Chapman Highway Corridor

fischbobber's picture

Oh Look

My wife's granpa's car lot. Cool Stuff. I miss Surplus City though and wish more people had thought to take pictures of it.

jbr's picture

Sandwiched between the house

Sandwiched between the house with the man made lake and the back of Wal-Mart was a road bed. I did some summer work there when that house was built and told my grandfather about it. He told me his grandfather went there to watch the Union Army soldiers march thru during the Civil War.

The image has this caption "This aerial view, taken in July 2006, shows the commercial development around Governor John Sevier Highway, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot and, in the upper right, two Nova call-centers that are re-using former retail space."

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