August 19, 2013 -
I appreciate that Commissioner Schroer has extended the comment period regarding the James White Parkway extension in order to hear from the public about a modified parkway design vs. the no-build option.
A parkway with lanes for biking and walking is definitely preferable to an interstate design, and I appreciate TDOT’s willingness to make those design alterations in response to local concerns.
However I remain firmly opposed to any extension of the James White Parkway through our growing urban wilderness area. The Urban Wilderness has already achieved national recognition as an outdoor recreation destination and is a key economic development and tourism opportunity for our city, region, and state. The proposed parkway will bisect this regional asset and plow through the existing and proposed trail network and wilderness assets. It will divert traffic from Chapman Highway businesses.
I support major safety improvements and enhancements to Chapman Highway, Alcoa Highway, and other existing roads and highways that serve our region. We should work together regionally to create the future we want through smarter development and transportation patterns, rather than destroy this wonderful economic and environmental asset on the basis of projected future traffic needs.
I strongly encourage everyone to study the alternatives; to think of our future as a city, county, and region; and to respectfully and unambiguously express their opinions during the input period.