If you've read this week's cover story by Jack Neely, then you know that Henley Bridge is in seriously bad shape and needs to be rebuilt. TDOT intends to widen the bridge in the process--but do we really need to make room for more cars? Many concerned citizens at a recent public meeting thought otherwise, and suggested that we instead add bike lanes with the extra room.
And now the city has confirmed that it will make that very recommendation to TDOT: "...the City Administration intends to recommend to TDOT that the expanded roadway deck be striped for five traffic lanes and two bike lanes, in addition to the sidewalks."
There will be a public meeting to share more details about the recommendation on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 5:30 p.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City-County Building.
Full press release on the jump.
The City of Knoxville intends to ask the Tennessee Dept. of Transportation (TDOT) to provide for bicycle lanes on the Henley Street Bridge after the bridge is rebuilt.
The City has scheduled a second public meeting to share the details of this anticipated recommendation and to gather any final public comment before sending the recommendation to TDOT. The meeting will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27, in the Small Assembly Room of the City-County Building.
Currently TDOT is planning to dismantle and rebuild the 80-year-old bridge in a project that would require closure of the bridge for as long as 24-36 months. The earliest possible date for closure of the bridge is early 2011.
TDOT's current design calls for expanding the bridge from the five current traffic lanes to its maximum possible width -- six traffic lanes -- while retaining the sidewalks at their current width. The question before the City Administration and the community is whether and how to utilize the sixth lane for bicycle lanes.
A variety of factors have to be weighed in deciding what to recommend to TDOT regarding bike lanes. These factors include projected increases in traffic on the bridge in future years, adherence to national highway/bridge design and safety standards, the need to move forward with the project as expeditiously as possible, the pedestrian- and bike-friendly goals of the South Waterfront Plan, and widespread public support for bike lanes following a previous public meeting last month.
Based on these parameters, the City Administration intends to recommend to TDOT that the expanded roadway deck be striped for five traffic lanes and two bike lanes, in addition to the sidewalks.
At the Jan. 27 meeting, the City will recap the history and constraints of the project, explain the reasons for its decision to recommend bike lanes, address questions from the general public, and seek further public comment.
The City will take public comment about the roadway deck design through close of business on Friday, Jan. 29. Public comments may be made to David Massey, Office of Neighborhoods, City of Knoxville, P.O. Box 1631, Knoxville, TN 37901, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The letter of recommendation to TDOT will be issued on or about Feb. 2, and that letter will be shared with the public at that time.