City of Knoxville, TN

12/06/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/07/2018 06:07

Checking in on the North Central Street Project

The $6.15 million North Central Streetscape Project that broke ground nearly a year ago has already met several milestones and is on its way to a spring 2019 completion.

Following KUB's $1.85 million upgrades to gas lines, water main and fire hydrants, the 13-block streetscape project began in January 2018 at Depot Avenue and has reached the Anderson Avenue intersection. Many new and repaired sidewalks, curbs, curb cuts, bulb outs, and openings for landscaping and planters have already transformed the appearance of North Central Street and provided a preview of things to come.

The North Central Streetscape project design follows the model of 'complete streets,' meaning the thoroughfare serves the safety, comfort and accessibility of all kinds of travelers: drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, people who use wheelchairs and walkers, etc. Several sections of new sidewalk, as seen below at the corner of N. Central Street and Baxter Avenue, are much wider than before and more accommodating of area neighbors, workers, shoppers, joggers, dog-walkers, etc.

This crossroads of Baxter and Central is also the site of the project's exciting final stage and its most neighborhood-transforming element: a linear park. New York City's High Line is arguably the most famous linear park, but, whether they know it or not, Knoxville residents have already experienced a linear park in Volunteer Landing. Tucked between the Tennessee River and the railroad tracks, Volunteer Landing connects the Neyland and James White greenways with a wide promenade offering great views of the river, plus green space, swings, benches, fountains, planters and natural landscaping; and, of course, it is home to the Vol Navy.

North Central's linear park will turn excess roadway into green space including street furniture and landscape featuring a mix of native, naturalized, and ornamental plantings with size considerations made for nearby structures and power lines.

Moderate temperatures will be key to launching the landscaping phase, scheduled to happen after roadway and sidewalk construction concludes. Trees' roots and bedding plants get a more favorable start when they're planted during cooler weather rather than the heat of summer.

In the meantime, traffic on North Central will be maintained throughout construction. Keep tabs on the project at NorthCentralStreet.com; on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.