Walk, bike path coming to Chapman Highway

By  | 
View Map

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The city of Knoxville will receive nearly $1 million to build a pedestrian and bike path off the side of Chapman Highway.

The project, slated to begin construction in 2022, will stretch between Stone Road and Woodlawn Pike.

“This is a section of Chapman Highway where people are walking and biking on a busy, high-speed road, and there is little space outside the traffic lanes,” said Jim Hagerman, City Engineering Director. “So the completed project will make getting back and forth from home to the grocery store or work safer for residents. It will also make traffic safer for motorists."

"Chapman Highway is a deadly road." Amy Johnson, with Bike Walk Knoxville, said. '[Cyclists and pedestrians} are our most vulnerable."

The new pathway would be similar to a Knoxville greenway. City officials said it would be at least 15 feet from the road itself.

The project will also create pedestrian crossings at three intersections with Chapman Highway: Stone Road, Fronda Lane and Woodlawn Pike.

Those spots already include signal lights. Construction crews will just add a designated cross walk.

"People underestimate the number of pedestrians and cyclists who already use Chapman Highway," Johnson said. "It's a great way to get around, get downtown, and not have to bring your car, or fight for parking."

Additionally, the project will improve four Knoxville Area Transit bus stops.

The pathway stems from a 2015 study aimed to improve Knoxville's bike-friendly areas. The city won a state grant for $950,000. City officials said it had to be used for bike and pedestrian infrastructure on a state roadway.

The city will add another approximately $850,000 to complete the $1.8 million project.

The Metropolitan Planning Commission is also doing its own traffic studies as they look to improve the road itself for traffic.

Johnson hopes the pathway will encourage more people who commute from South Knoxville to downtown to bike or walk instead of drive.

"I want parents, who both work, to feel comfortable sending their kids, who are old enough, to walk to school or bike to school by themselves, knowing it's safe for them to do that," she said.

The project should be completed by early 2022.