Nov 8 2012
07:05 am

What: Public hearing: James White Parkway Extension
When: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 5:00pm
Where: South-Doyle Middle School

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will host a public hearing for the proposed James White Parkway (SR-71) extension project in Knox County on Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the South-Doyle Middle School located at 3900 Decatur Road, Knoxville, TN 37920.

This public hearing is being held to discuss the findings of the approved Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and preliminary Section 4(f) de minimis impact determination for potential impacts to the extreme northern boundary of the City of Knoxville’s William Hastie Natural Area. The hearing will provide the public an opportunity for input on the project prior to selection of a preferred alternative and/or completion of the final environmental document. A brief presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

More info...
TDOT project page...
Draft Environmental Impact Statement...

Rachel's picture

This is important folks.

This is important folks. Please come and let your views be heard, either pro or con.

I've got a map of the proposed route. If you don't want to wade through the entire EIS, message me and I'll send it toy you.

michael kaplan's picture

This is important folks In a

This is important folks

In a nutshell, why?

Rachel's picture

I really am not in a position

I really am not in a position anymore to discuss this much publicly.

Read the draft EIS and/or come to the meeting if you want to know more.

Gail--Grew up in South Knox's picture

please send so that I may see this...

Hello Rachel. how do I message you to receive this important information. THank you.

Rachel's picture

First you have to register

First you have to register here. Then you will have the option of sending me a message.

jbr's picture

The best article I have seen

The best article I have seen on JWP was in the Metro Pulse in 2002 as a cover story, but I cannot quickly locate it in their archives. I will look later when I have more time.

Jack Neely wrote another good article on it.

Some links regarding this project ...

TDOT to Pave Over Mayor

May not be related, but looking who owns the property at the proposed intersections would be worthwhile
Urban Logging in South Knoxville

Some other related links.

Roads Gone Wild

Living Near Highways Can Stunt Lungs

Air pollution takes a toll on young lungs

How air pollution hurts your kids' lungs

Study: Living Near a Highway May Contribute to Autism Risk

Breathing dirty air may lower kids' IQ

Diesel Exhaust Inhalation Stresses Your Brain

I would like to get Gary Toth, from Project for Public spaces, to give an analysis of this project, and what would be ideal for this area.

Gary Toth profile

bizgrrl's picture

I'm against it. Maybe I'll

I'm against it. Maybe I'll get time later to explain.

bizgrrl's picture

Fix the existing

Fix the existing infrastructure. A new road is not needed. Closing the Henley Street bridge was practically a non-event.

Stan G's picture

Got That Right, Bizgrrl

I traveled the James White Parkway just about every day at varying times of day during tax season and never did notice a substantial increase in traffic. The parkway is a connection to I-40, not to downtown.

Unlike Up Goose Creek, I don't remember Sevier Ave. as being a thriving commercial neighborhood. I recall a small White Store and an service station, perhaps another storefront or two that I don't remember patronizing, but it was a commercial neighborhood center and one of the few in Knoxville. What I do remember were the number of house on either side of Sevier Ave that were demolished to construct the parkway and that changed the character of the neighborhood without generating new economic development.

michael kaplan's picture

I've driven between So Knox

I've driven between So Knox and No Knox via JWP and Gay Street over 300 times in the last two years - at all times of day and night - and have never encountered major traffic problems. As Jane Jacobs said (in reference to an attempt to bring a 4-lane highway through downtown Toronto) "If you don't build it, they won't come."

Mykhailo's picture

I am waiting for the day that

I am waiting for the day that quoting Jane Jacobs will be akin to quoting Baron Von Hausmann.

The day when quoting Jane Jacobs gets a "Jane who?"

After consulting Wikipedia, wouldn't Von Hausmann be the Robert Moses of Paris instead of the Jane Jacobs?

Anyway, wow, extending the JWP is a terrible idea.

Rachel's picture

She's also really hard on

She's also really hard on planners. But I think in her mind planner=Robert Moses, so I can't really blame her.

R. Neal's picture

Just for the record, when I

I don't remember Sevier Ave. as being a thriving commercial neighborhood.

Just for the record, when I was growing up on Sevier Ave. in the late 50s and early 60s, there were two grocery stores (White Store and Kings), or three if you count the old Parker's country store. There was the Sevier Hardware and Variety. There was Kent's Drug Store. There was a beauty shop (my Mom's). There were three full service gas stations that would fill your tank, wipe your window, fix a flat or sell you new tires, rebuild a carburetor, or whatever. There was Rose TV and Radio repair, who would come to your house and fix your TV or sell you a new one (my Dad bought our first color TV there, as I recall). There was Bondurant Bros. appliance and electronics wholesale and showroom. There was an RC Cola bottling company. There was a Sunshine/Nabisco distributor. There was a printer (Vine Printing, I believe) where the local businesses could get all their flyers and stuff printed. There were two taverns where you could get ice cold beer and place a bet. There's still an elementary school. All of this was within a five block area in easy walking distance for people who lived and worked there. The only reason to go downtown was to shop for clothes or furniture, or to go to a movie.

Obviously some of those types of businesses don't even exist any more, and economies of scale along with shifting demographics led to the general decline before the JWP came through.

The JWP project didn't completely wipe it out, but it did take some of the properties and left a big ugly gash that divides South Knoxville communities and affected property values.

bizgrrl's picture

Even in the mid-late 70s,

Even in the mid-late 70s, there was a White Store, drug store, gas stations, hardware store, Bondurant Bros., and at least one tavern (you could still place a bet and get an ice cold beer). The RC Cola bottling company and Sunshine/Nabisco distributor may have still been there. That I do not know.

Treehouse's picture

A highway through our homes

Agree with Stan that the current JWP destroyed part of a neighborhood in South Knoxville. The current JWP makes it easy to get to the interstate without having to drive through downtown. But it's an ugly highway through small neighborhoods. We don't need to extend the blight across the caves, ravines, and beautiful natural areas that are making South Knoxville a destination for eco-tourism and healthy opportunities for local folks to enjoy. I say fix Chapman Highway instead.

Stan G's picture

Note: It appears you can't

Note: It appears you can't edit a comment once you log out. For those who noticed, it should be houses rather than house.

No need to read the 400 plus page DEIS, support the preferred alternative:

No-Build Alternative
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.

jbr's picture

There could also be

There could also be improvement to Old Sevierville Pike. And other roads in the area.

bizgrrl's picture

Exactly. That is what keeps

Exactly. That is what keeps being said by those in Blount County opposed to the Pellissippi Parkway extension. But noooo. In addition, putting a big road through an area makes the other roads in that area more accessible even though those roads are not meant, at this time, for increased traffic, e.g. Sevierville Road/411 from Maryville to Chapman Highway.

R. Neal's picture

A big new road also has exits

A big new road also has exits for Pilot stations.

Stan G's picture

Didn't mean to insult the Old

Didn't mean to insult the Old Sevier folks. For the record, I did live on Sevier Ave for about a year in the 60's, but being in the military and without a car, we did what many low-income folds did; we shopped at Cas Walkers. When we did shop at White Store, it was more than likely after the other businesses closed and they went unnoticed.

I acknowledged that it was a neighborhood commercial area, but was it thriving in comparison to Frazier Avenue and will it ever be. I like to think that the South Knoxville Waterfront can attract some neighborhood retail to the area; however, I have serious doubts that it will become a destination retail district. It certainly wasn't in the 60's when you had most everything you mentioned available downtown assessable by public transportation.

bizgrrl's picture

I wouldn't have considered

I wouldn't have considered Sevier Avenue a "destination" when it had lots of retail. The stores served the South Knoxville community, from the river/Sevier Avenue to Island Home to Sevierville Pike around South Haven.

Where is Frazier Avenue?

We can only hope, as discussed in the Chattanooga thread, that the South Knoxville Waterfront can be a destination retail district, along with a big wonderful park.

R. Neal's picture

Agree it was not a

Agree it was not a "destination" commercial/retail district. I was responding to "thriving." It was thriving in the sense that it served the surrounding neighborhoods that had enough population and income to support it, similar to lots of other neighborhoods before the advent of shopping malls, supermarkets and big box retail. The only limited "destination" might have been Bondurant Bros. for specialty supplies and equipment.

Stan G's picture

Where is Frazier Avenue? We

Where is Frazier Avenue?

We can only hope, as discussed in the Chattanooga thread, that the South Knoxville Waterfront can be a destination retail district, along with a big wonderful park.

Frazier Ave is the commercial area of North Chattanooga connected to downtown Chattanooga by the Walnut Street Bridge.

Not certain that enough space has been included in the waterfront plan for a big wonderful park similar to Coolidge Park, but I for one am pleased to see the city move ahead with Suttree Landing as a public project rather than waiting on a private/public project.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Sevier Hardware was certainly a destination from the far west end of Scottish Pike. There were many hardware stores in S Knox and downtown but it was the best. Kent drugstore was convenient if you were there anyway.

These days I see everything mushrooms and Borderland studios becoming destinations from a wider area.

R. Neal's picture

Pavlis opposes JWP extension

Knoxville City Council member Nick Pavlis is circulating the following statement on South Knox discussion forums:

Hello to all. The buzz this week is obviously about the upcoming TDOT meeting set for December 6th. I am receiving phone calls, emails etc. I want to make my thoughts transparent to you all. First off, this is a very politically charged issue because there is strong sentiment on both sides, but I cannot support TDOT's plan to proceed for these reasons.

1. I feel the trail system and the Urban Wilderness theme is South Knoxville's future. It has branded us, and we can capitalize on it in many ways. This attracts folks to South Knoxville to live, work, and play.

2. Because of the trails, an estimated 2 million dollars in private real estate have been purchased in South Knoxville.

3. I have seen first hand the devastating effect that the diversion of traffic from Chapman highway has had on our merchants due to the Henley Bridge closure.

4. Thousands of private dollars, along with donations from many organizations, have been given. Continuation of the present plan would certainly be a disservice to these donors.

5. Lastly, about the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club's efforts: I have never seen such dedication to a project. Literally 1000s of hours of sweat equity have been donated by the men and women of this organization to create these trails, not to mention their individual cash investments.

The JWP extension project had merit in its conception, but since that time everything South has changed for the better with the Urban Wilderness theme and multi-use trail system, and for that reason I oppose the current plans. I look forward to working with the City Administration and TDOT to find a better solution.

I know this will not please everyone, but my decision is to support the long term betterment of South Knoxville and Knoxville as a whole.

Thank you,

Nick Pavlis

bizgrrl's picture

Some group was doing a phone

Some group was doing a phone survey in Knox County regarding the James White Parkway. A close relative lives in South Knox County, Alcoa Highway side, and an automatic phone bot left a message asking their feelings are about the extension of the James White Parkway. I wonder what residents were targeted for this survey. To someone living around the proposed affected area does it matter what someone in the Alcoa Highway Area thinks about the project.

Up Goose Creek's picture


I got surveyed and live between Chapman and Alcoa Highways. I would be interested to hear if anyone E of Chapman highway got the survey.

Stan G's picture

William Hastie Natural Area

This afternoon I drove south on Sevierville Pike to the Lake Forest section of South Knoxville. It’s the first time I’ve driven further that The Roundup in years and I had forgotten how rural the area is. Parked the car and hiked the perimeter trails of the William Hastie Natural Area. I’ve always felt the Knoxville was fortunate to have an accessible area like the Third Creek Greenway close to downtown; however, for a wilderness experience close to downtown, it doesn’t compare to South Knoxville. I probably hiked close to two hours and with the exception of two mountain bikers, I had the area to myself. It’s a little difficult to find the entry points, but well worth the effort. The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club has constructed several challenging, but not extremely difficult multi-use trails.

Came home and took another look at the JWP DEIS. And again, more emphatically, I say NO, NO, NO Build. There is a short trail between the natural area and View Point Drive. It’s a series of switchbacks. From the top, the view of the French Board Valley is spectacular. There is a major elevation change from Moody Ave to View Point Drive with a substantial change between East Redbud and View Point. All three alternatives are plotted to go between the natural area and View Point Drive. I’m not an engineer; however, it appears to me that it would require a major cut with steep retaining walls to route a four lane parkway through that section. It would destroy the area and not benefit folks who live in the area.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Since this is clearly a jobs & road builder profit program - a tunnel would create a lot more jobs....

Just kidding.

A park and ride would create jobs for bus drivers but I expect they aren't as well represented in Nashville. Perhaps new parking lots for commuters could be a consolation prize for the road builders.

Stan G's picture

Can't Argue with Park and Ride

But in South Knoxville/County, I'm thinking cable cars rather than buses.

Actually, it appears that Chapman Highway already has a park and ride system with two large parking areas near John Sevier Highway, a direct bus route to downtown, and thirty-minute bus schedules during rush hours. What I suspect it doesn't have are many riders who take advantage of it.

fischbobber's picture

Pouring over maps

Trying to visualize a project of any sort (or the rejection of such as the case may be) is somewhat difficult because the various maps one might consult (greenways, right of ways, and project maps for instance)






don't overlap. So, like my previous sentence, it can be difficult to imagine a cohesive project in the area based on best use practices, because no one has stepped up and put a best use forward. Here is the official city map, but it doesn't have greenways.


If you've actually taken the time at this point to look at all these maps and go Hmmm.......
you will have noticed a point the Rachel made about the Gay Street bridge being the best/most obvious commuter route to downtown to be true. You will also notice that it spurs from the greenway to do so. This is an obvious plus for a multi-use system since it allows the bicyclist the option of going to center city or continuing on the lower density green ways. It also allows the city a selling point for both businesses and tourists. It allows real estate agents a marketing technique for whole neighborhoods south of the river and it allows businesses access to a potential stream of customers (For example, rather than go downtown for lunch during an all day ride, Frussies can market its access to the greenway as a reasonable alternative.).

The obvious problem with the south Knox Greenspace is the lack of strategic parking and access to restroom facilities. If one was to consider the road plan a potential greenway trail and put parking and facilities and the south side of the JWP bridge and at the field near Decatur and Moody, it seems that we would have a best use proposal on the table.

It would provide an ongoing destination for tourists. It would provide vendors the opportunity to generate economic activity. It would allow restaurants and retailers along the spur a revenue stream. It could provide part-time jobs in landscaping and maintenance for the Fleniken Housing project. And its cost would be significantly less than 100 million dollars.

Just a thought and my 2 cents.

Rachel's picture

I'm going. Are you?

I'm going. Are you?

michael kaplan's picture

South Knoxvillians broke new

South Knoxvillians broke new ground by addressing the proposed extension through the work of the task forces. Everyone, including TDOT, acknowledges that. We can't go back to the old way of doing business now. We can build on our unique legacy and collaborate to find creative solutions, engaging the community and all of the stakeholders. TDOT and the community are focused on this issue, so now's the time to take the necessary next steps. We can't afford to let this unique opportunity slip through our fingers.


Rachel's picture

Consider the author.

Consider the author.

R. Neal's picture

Letter to the editor in today's paper

John Bohstedt: TDOT needs to join us in the 21st century

(If I'm not mistaken, John Bohstedt is a U.T. history professor and a Rhodes Scholar with a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.)

Rachel's picture

He was also one of the guys

He was also one of the guys who took down the UU Chuch shooter.

And is my face red. After posting this reminder, turns out I can't go tonight after all. I woke up this morning with a monstrous migraine (do did the spouse; must be the weather), which I've finally wrestled into submission.

But I planned to spend the day studying for my physics final, which is in the a.m. Now I've got to do that rather than go to the meeting.

Will get a report from my better half, but sure hope some of you report as well.

Dave Prince's picture

Seriously, hope those who do

Seriously, hope those who do go take notes and share them for the benefit of those who have migraines. Or finals. (Or both in my case, the way this day is going. Who schedules a Geography final for 5-7 pm, anyway.)

Dave Prince's picture

I leave you this nice

I leave you this nice low-hanging fruit and this is how you play it?

bizgrrl's picture

Estimate 500 people

Estimate 500 people registered attendance at this meeting.

bizgrrl's picture

"Will kill progress in

"Will kill progress in SoKno."

bizgrrl's picture

61 vacant buildings along

61 vacant buildings along Chapman from town to john sevier.

Gary & Nancy's picture

paveing paradise and puting up a parking lot

We live on Morton Ln.standing in our front yard now you can hear birds singing,you may see a large buck deer and a doe or two,we have flocks of wild turkeys,coons, squirrels ,chipmunks by the hundreds, doves, box turtles all kinds of wild crittres you would have to go to the Smokeys to see.
The songs of the birds ,the chirping of the chipmunks the barking of the squirrels and the sounds of the critters scurrying and rustling around will all be changed once this huge screaming gash of noise and certain road kill is installed in our little quiet corner of nature we have been so lucky to have.
I've been told Chapman Hwy has an air polution problem.Why do we need two problems. One around an existing highway and send another through quiet forest? Is this really progress?

R. Neal's picture

Mayor Rogero

Still at meeting, more later...

bizgrrl's picture

Victor Ashe bought land for

Victor Ashe bought land for Mary Myer park to block jwp ext.

bizgrrl's picture

League of Women Voters

League of Women Voters against JWP Ext.

bizgrrl's picture

Hultquist: SoKno paid a heavy

Hultquist: SoKno paid a heavy price for the existing 1.2 - 1.5 miles of JWP.

michael kaplan's picture

Joe's bottom line: we need to

Joe's bottom line: we need to build a parkway rather than what TDOT is proposing.

Driving to the meeting, I made a point of going south via James White Parkway. Some parkway: not a tree on the center median, and barely a tree on the edges. Looks and feels like an Interstate to me ...

Rachel's picture

Just heard from spouse. He

Just heard from spouse. He says he counted 700 seats in the auditorium, and although all the seats weren't taken, there were folks standing around the walls, so he figures close to 700.

The Mayor and Councilman Pavlis spoke against. Sentiment is apparently strong on both sides, with the "nos" outweighing the "yeses." The "pros" apparently booed some of the "antis." I do hope the anti side was more polite. (Update: just heard from 2 sources that they were/are. Good.)

He also said 60 people signed up to speak and they are only at around 25. Wow.

So sorry I missed it, but I've been working physics practice tests since 4 and just got to the point where I feel reasonably comfortable. So I'm glad I stayed home to study.

Looking forward to Randy's report.

Stan G's picture

Parking Was At a Premium

They may have been more, but since they scheduled the meeting when South Doyle Middle School played a home game, the parking lot was filled to capacity with folks parking on the grass. No telling how many might have left rather than attend.

Average Guy's picture

Chapman traffic

It would be interesting to know Chapman traffic by hour.

With the vast commercial expansion in Seymour and Sevier since JWP was proposed, there is likely fewer folks in the area driving to Knoxville for shopping and eating.

If Chapman's heaviest flow is work related, better use of traffic lights from 7-9am and 4-6pm could ease congestion.

michael kaplan's picture

I thought the most

I thought the most interesting revelation of the evening was that 75% of the traffic along the corridor to Knoxville is to access I-40 and I-75. In other words, JWP is an access ramp.

The most articulate "pro-Build" comment was made by a PhD. (Doctor something ..) who argued that his business near Seymour on Chapman Highway was hurting because of inadequate access to Knoxville and the interstate.

Average Guy's picture

Where and when are they going?

I thought the most interesting revelation of the evening was that 75% of the traffic along the corridor to Knoxville is to access I-40 and I-75. In other words, JWP is an access ramp.

Okay, so using a 40k car per day average, 30,000 travelers per day are either going to Lexington/Chattanooga, Nashville/Asheville or work.

Work travel is four hours a day and could be manageable with road improvements, better timing of traffic lights and mass transit. If the fix for getting people to work faster is to forsake the businesses employing people on Chapman, it doesn't seem like much of a fix.

As for the Doctor, he could have paid more for property closer to the interstate. He didn't.

Stan G's picture

I also found that statistic

I also found that statistic interesting. As was mentioned, the original plan was to connect the bridge to I-40 at Cherry Street. TDOT being TDOT wanting to bisect East Knoxville with an expressway and the neighborhoods rejected the plan. During the public meeting to discuss TDOT's alternative connection north of the river, Sylvia Woods, I assume Joe Hulquist--didn't know him at the time, and others insisted on a direct connection from the east side of Chapman Highway to the interstate. The Henley Street Tunnel was either complete or under construction at that time, but it was not considered to be a direct connection and was rejected as an acceptable alternative.

Since the JWP doesn't appear the connection of choice from South Knoxville to the interstate based on my observations. It appears to me as many vehicles access the JWP from Neyland Drive as well as the South Knoxville Bridge. And since the Henley Street Bridge has been closed, one would assume those vehicles are accessing the interstate by way of the Gay Street Bridge and Main Street or have found an alternative. Neither appears likely.

Doctor something's comment is in my opinion ridiculous, but apparently I left before he spoke. I doubt Walgreens, Lowes, Kroger, Food City, the funeral home and professional offices that have been built in Seymour were built in anticipation of Knoxville/interstate business.

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