April 13, 2010 - The City of Knoxville will host a public meeting to present and discuss three potential concept designs for the Cumberland Avenue Streetscape Project at 6 p.m., Monday, April 19, at the University Visitors Center.
The center, formerly the University of Tennessee Faculty Club, is located at 2704 Kingston Pike. The meeting is also being hosted by Vaughn & Melton Inc., the city's consultant on the Cumberland project.
The goal of the meeting is to give interested parties a chance to review - and comment on - the concept designs before moving to detail design of the roadway. The City has received a notice to proceed with detailed design from the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) after 18 months of work for environmental clearance of the project.
The concept plans were developed after reviewing the vision plan that was adopted by City Council in 2007. They were further developed from meetings between city officials and the consultants, TDOT, merchants, surrounding institutions and stakeholders.
"What we hope to get from this is a general consensus of which concept we should move forward with," said Anne Wallace, the city's Cumberland Avenue Project Manager. "We really wanted to give everyone one more opportunity to voice their opinion on the design options."
In addition Wallace and representatives of City Engineering and Vaughn & Melton, will also talk about the background of the project and update the urban design plans for the corridor including moving the utilities off the street, possible zoning changes and the project's construction timeline among other things.
"The presentation is a brief summary of how we got here and the options we have, what that road could look like as we move forward," Wallace said. "The goals of the project are to create a more attractive, economically successful, vibrant and safe Cumberland Avenue."
The design options include modified versions of the existing conditions and the proposed road diet plan presented in the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Plan. These options are based on additional traffic studies, project constraints and the surveyed right of way.
It's hoped the changes would make Cumberland Avenue more of a destination rather than a place people pass through on the way to someplace else.
"Right now it tends to be restaurant-oriented and we'd like to see a variety of retail," Wallace said. "The intent is to see more year-round business rather than just focusing on the student population."
None of the design options would increase the speed of traffic moving through Cumberland, but would allow vehicles to move smoothly and safely in a more urban, pedestrian-centered environment along the street.
The city has funding for the detailed design phase which should last approximately 12 months. Federal money for the construction has been allocated, though it hasn't been obligated. That won't occur until completion of the detailed design phase and other steps required by federal and state officials. The University of Tennessee and Covenant Health have also been financial partners for the implementation of the project.