Tue
Mar 16 2010
12:07 pm
By: bizgrrl  shortURL

Knoxville's new pedestrian bridge crossing the river to where? A half-mile west of the Henley Bridge to the Thompson-Boling Arena. This location is certainly dependent on growth and change on the South Side. In addition, it appears to be dependent on wanting to access UT.

Why this location? Is this really a good location? Would it be better if it was closer to town?

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bizgrrl's picture

This topic has been discussed

This topic has been discussed before, "South Waterfront February 2006 planning workshop" (2/3/2006) and "Duncan brings home the bacon" (2/26/2009).

metulj's picture

I wonder about the siting

I wonder about the siting too, but it would connect to the Greenway there. as a cyclist, I am excited about MAYBE having a non-harrowing (minus Henley and Gay Street Bridges) way out to South Knox County.

jbr's picture

The new Henley Bridge will

The new Henley Bridge will have bike lanes if I understand correctly.

Rachel's picture

I have been saying since work

I have been saying since work on the south waterfront plan began that this bridge should connect on the north side at the end of Volunteer Landing, just across from Second Creek Greenway. Then folks have a direct walk to downtown via Second Creek or to the waterfront.

Every time I bring this up City officials act like they're deaf. There was apparently an agreement made with UT about this at some time or other and UT wants it at Lake Loudoun Blvd. My guess is that UT thinks there will be huge parking lots on the south side (something that would NOT be in keeping with the south waterfront plan, BTW) and people can walk across the river directly to Thompson Boling.

But that's all conjecture.

Brian A.'s picture

I'm admittedly not up on what

I'm admittedly not up on what the plans are south of the river. But from the use standpoint on the north side, I just don't get it.

I can maybe see value in a pedestrian bridge where the railroad bridge crosses the river, or connecting to where that Walnut Street pedestrian bridge is. But with the plans to enhance the Henley bridge nearby, even that seems like a waste.

Are they going to build big sporting event parking lots on the south side? Are students planning to walk to campus from South Knoxville? If not, then who's going to use the bridge?

We can find plenty of more efficient ways of enhancing the greenways along either side of the river for that kind of money.

sugarfatpie's picture

Where are we on the south waterfront plan?

Where are we on the south waterfront plan? Seems like a great idea with huge potential to redirect sprawl and create some very cool things downtown. However its also just "outside the box" enough that all the sprawl promoters are comfortable assuming its never going to happen. Are they right?

The fact that one major south waterfront project is now in foreclosure probably has all the sprawlers going "see, told ya", which of course they don't say about the many suburban fringe projects in the same pickle.

Rachel's picture

A couple of big private

A couple of big private projects planned for last year didn't happen because of the economy. Because the entire thing is set up as a private-public partnership, the City won't be building new road, parks, etc. until the private $$ are there.

I expect as the economy gets better we will see stuff happen over here. Remember it's a 20 year plan.

Cityview was started before the SW plan, BTW.

jbr's picture

Regarding the Riverfront

Regarding the Riverfront walkway along the river at Riverview, is it that wooden thing I see floating in the river or is it a strip of land along the river's edge? Hopefully it is actual land.

metulj's picture

It's a quay. I am blown away

It's a quay. I am blown away that TVA allowed that thing.

Wondering's picture

Northern terminus

The big question nobody's bothered to ask is -- will students get out of their cars and use this bridge? The northern terminus is pretty far from most classrooms. There are a lot of students at River Towne - has anyone botherd to survey them? I highly doubt students living on Cherokee Tail will use the bridge.

Game day pork is what you're seeing.

Brian A.'s picture

Good point. Many classes are

Good point. Many classes are a good 10-minute walk from where that bridge is supposed to connect to the UT campus. So I think it pretty unlikely that many students would routinely walk from very much further than right along the southern shore. It's a long walk to class.

Bike riding is more feasible, but if they really improved access to Henley Street, I think that would be a viable route to campus. It's not that far.

R. Neal's picture

I highly doubt students

I highly doubt students living on Cherokee Tail will use the bridge

Hadn't thought about the proximity to all that new student housing up there. But as you note, they aren't likely the types to park their cars and walk or ride a bike. And even if they did, it would be pretty dangerous on Cherokee Trail.

Goose Creek's picture

Redirect sprawl

Interesting phrase. So you substitute vertical sprawl for horizontal sprawl. But residents will still get in a car to go to the grocery store or a lot of basic services.

South Waterfront Director's picture

SW Bridge

Just a few comments -
When the SW Vision Plan was being drafted, a lot of discussion went into the idea of connecting the SW to the UT campus. One alternative was to use the Norfolk Southern RR brideg to connect to Volunteer Landing, thus connecting to World's Fair Park via the 2nd Creek Greenway. This alternative was dropped by public preference because it did not connect directly into the heart of the campus. There has been no deal struck with UT officials - they stayed out of the Vision Plan process. I belive the bridge should be viewed as yet another link allowing a river crossing that will compliment the Gay Street and Henley Street bridge crossings. The new bridge may be a very important link to property being planned for public access and use by the Legacy Parks Foundation, and it may eventually be used by students living up in Cherokee Trail housing.

An example of the type of desired impact the bridge could have may be found in Chattanooga. There they converted a former vehicular bridge to a pedestrian/bicycle bridge, and areas across the river from downtown Chattanooga that were underutilized and environmentally blighted only 5 years ago have been reclaimed and completely redeveloped.

As an aside, the riverwalk about to be built on the shoreline in front of Cityview will be land-based. The wooden structures you see there now are part of the Cityview marina that received a TVA permit a few years ago.

bizgrrl's picture

I don't really think you can

I don't really think you can compare the location of Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge to the proposed location of this pedestrian bridge. It is much easier to access Chattanooga's downtown from the Walnut Street Bridge than it will ever be for this location in Knoxville, unless downtown really expands and takes over the SouthSide at Western Blount Avenue and Scottish Pike. Don't see that happening in the next 20-30-40 years.

Stan G's picture

Right on, Bizgrrl, there is

Right on, Bizgrrl, there is no comparison between the Walnut Street Bridge and the proposed Knoxville Bridge. Pardon the cynicism, however it appears to me that at best the proposed bridge could serve as an evacuation route should the UT Steam Plant explode on Boomsday.

(link...)

South Waterfront Director's picture

I think you can make the

I think you can make the comparison to Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge. When first converted to pedestrian / bicycle use, the bridge led to a park with a small strip of shops fronting Manuafacturers Rd. - not much of a destination or draw. It was the connectivity from a more heavily used activity center (downtown) that helped to promote reinvestment and redevelopment on the south side of the river. Certianly UT is a different type of activity center, but it does have the density and level of use that can positively impact improvement efforts in the South Waterfront.

jbr's picture

If our bridge goes to the

If our bridge goes to the stadium it seems more similar to the converted to pedestrian bridge in Nashville that takes you to the Titans stadium than the Chattanooga bridge.

Would a terminus at UT direct a lot more folks through campus that do not have business there?

Stan G's picture

Here are a few reasons why I

Here are a few reasons why I agree with Bizgrrl. First, as you mention, the Walnut Street Bridge was a vehicular bridge before it was converted so there was an established traffic pattern from downtown across the river. Second, as I recall, there was community support to save the bridge. Third, the Walnut Street Bridge is one of many downtown Chattanooga destinations. I doubt that many actually walk across the bridge from end to end instead the bridge serves as a park where kids play and adults read and relax. They also close the bridge to use as a venue for special events. Fourth, look down at Coolidge Park from the bridge on a weekend afternoon and you’ll see a lot of activity. It’s the park that led to the redevelopment of the then existing commercial area, not the bridge. I would hazard the guess that most of the foot traffic in the area drove there rather than walked.

As for the Nashville bridge it also crosses the river from the downtown riverfront park, restaurant entertainment district to the stadium. I suspect there is a lot of pre/post game foot traffic on game days, but have to wonder about other days when there is little reason to cross the river.

Regarding statistics, drive along Neyland Drive or better yet walk along the Lake Loudon Greenway and note how few people make use of the greenway. Many who do are riding bikes. Then look at the rendering I posted. It appears to be an elevated walkway suspended between two towers that no doubt will include elevators. It doesn’t appear to be a bicycle friendly structure. I walked to the proposed UT access area today and it’s a mighty small footprint.

And in my mind, there is also the question of safety. Is the city planning to provide a fulltime police officer to patrol the bridge? For the most part, greenways are safe, but the bridge is different. You’re walking across the bridge; do you have any idea who the person approaching/following you is? What’s your escape? The elevators, the stairs, call 911 and wait for the police to arrive. Certainly, there are betters ways for TDOT and the city to invest the money such as the completion of the First Creek Greenway to and through the Old City.

bizgrrl's picture

It appears to be an elevated

It appears to be an elevated walkway suspended between two towers that no doubt will include elevators .

Doesn't seem too greenway friendly if it has to have elevators.

Brian A.'s picture

This alternative was dropped


This alternative was dropped by public preference because it did not connect directly into the heart of the campus.

The present proposed location only makes sense if the vast majority of users are students/staff/faculty en route to class. Is there evidence that such traffic will materialize? I'm skeptical.

jbr's picture

Any statistical estimates on

Any statistical estimates on the origin and destination of users of the bridge? That seems like it should have a big influence on its placement.

Although with bike and pedestrian improvements to Henley Bridge, and Gay street having the barrier protected sidewalks and Buck Karnes with the pedestrian walkway, maybe it is logical to sandwich something where it is proposed, That would space four bike/pedestrian routes over the river.

jbr's picture

Any statistical estimates on

Any statistical estimates on the origin and destination of users of the bridge? That seems like it should have a big influence on its placement.

Although with bike and pedestrian improvements to Henley Bridge, and Gay street having the barrier protected sidewalks and Buck Karnes with the pedestrian walkway, maybe it is logical to sandwich something where it is proposed, That would space four bike/pedestrian routes over the river.

Goose Creek's picture

Elevators

I just don't see elevators working particularly well for a bike path. I'm sure people would use them becaue the time of transitioning through an elevator is less than detouring to the next bridge but I don't see elevators handling a large volume of traffic.

Another question - would this bridge be wide enough to accomodate motorized chairs as well as bike traffic? I guess ADA says it would have to be. The cynic in me says I'll be in one of these before the bridge gets built, but more likely I'm thinking about my Dad who would love to be able to motor over to the ecology dept and pester the youngsters.

sugarfatpie's picture

I think the bridge is OK

I think the bridge is an OK idea, though Rachel's proposal sounds more sensible.

If the bridge does indeed provide good access to UT then a lot of students could end up living in apartments in the South Waterfront. Even so, its a long walk, and I imagine most will be on bike.

Regarding the elevators and stairs problem for bicyclists (who on a daily basis would more than likely be the main users of the bridge), would a spiral bike ramp be possible?

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