What's going on with the streets of downtown? Glad you asked!
First of all, some bad news -- well, inconvenient news, anyway. As construction on the new top layer of the State Street Garage swings into high gear, lane and street closures are ramping up. To wit, here's the latest from the city:
BLOCK OF UNION AVENUE BY STATE STREET GARAGE CLOSEDBecause of the ongoing construction work at the City's State Street Garage, Union Avenue between State Street and South Central Street will be closed to traffic for a week beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 13. This will also block the Union Avenue entrance and exit for the garage.The closure is expected to continue through at least Tuesday, Nov. 20. Other street and lane closures around the garage are expected as work continues during the next several months.
Basically, if you regularly park in that garage, be prepared for a lot of detours over the next year.
Second, we bring you news that will also involve more detours and lane closures and who knows what else -- this time on North Gay Street. Following the fancy streetscaping that's already taken place on a couple of blocks up there, the city is unveiling plans for the 400 and 500 blocks on Wednesday.
We asked if the city has any pretty pictures of the project yet, but it turns out even city officials have yet to see the designs. So if you go to the meeting on Wednesday, you'll be one of the first.City to Unveil Ideas for Improving Two Blocks of Gay StreetThe City of Knoxville and its consultants, Vaughn & Melton Engineering in partnership with Hedstrom Designs Landscape Architects, are prepared to show their concept plans and receive comments on proposed streetscape improvements for the 400 and 500 blocks of North Gay Street.A public meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 14, at Auto Technicians, 523 North Gay. Call 522-8972 for directions.This proposed work would complete streetscape work on North Gay from Depot Street to Emory Place as identified by a public process in 2008-2010 for Downtown North. Additionally, this work will complete the streetscape work on the entirety of Gay Street from the historic Gay Street Bridge over the Tennessee River to the street's northern terminus at Emory Place.The concept plans call for narrowing the road to maintain a through lane in each direction, repair or replacement of sidewalks (as necessary), providing landscape areas for trees, and maintaining protected on-street parking.These plans are consistent with the work that was constructed on the 300 & 600 Blocks of North Gay in 2011, and they continue the city's efforts to link the core of downtown to Downtown North by using complete streets concepts, along with consistent street furniture and landscaping.