The Daily Pulse:

There is Life Beyond the I-40 Underpass

It's easy to forget that Gay Street doesn't just dead end at the end of the 100 Block, but rest assured, the street continues (as North Gay St.) under I-40, and the city wants to make it look as nice as its southern counterpart.

The plans aren't too radical, but they have been in development since 2009. The $500,000 project was just approved for this year's budget by the city council, though, and Bob Whetsel, director of the city's office of redevelopment, said he hopes the section of N. Gay from Depot Ave to Emory Place looks like the drawn up plans by this time next year. Bids on the redevelopment, he said, will hopefully take place by next summer.

The city wants to condense the current four lanes of traffic to two wider lanes to make it easier for them to be used by both cars and bikes.

"We've definitely taken into account that this is a pretty heavily biked route from the northern neighborhoods to get downtown and into UT. So that's the reason for having the wider lanes," said John Wisinger, a Hedstrom Designs landscape architect working on the project. "And by reducing the lane widths, crossing becomes easier for pedestrians as well."

The sidewalks will also be widened or redone, utilities will be put underground, and there will be some new plant life along the street (which is pretty much all asphalt right now). Wisinger explained the pretty simple plans, and said some of the plants will include poplar trees, dogwoods, Carolina silverbells, knockout roses, and a type of sage called perovskia

The city is also working on similar plans for N. Central Street, but those plans, Whetsel said, look like they're about a year behind the N. Gay's.

Here's a graphic of what the city has planned.

North Gay plans.png

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