KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville says it is answering residents’ calls for more sidewalks and sidewalk repairs.
WATE discovered that people wanted more sidewalks after a social media post asked what was needed in Knoxville.
When driving around Knoxville, you may notice some disparities when it comes to sidewalks. While some areas feature neat, winding pathways, others have ones that are cracked, covered in weeds or have abruptly ended.
According to Knoxville’s Head of Engineering Harold Cannon, part of the problem stems from the clashing of different times.
“You’re starting to see the City of Knoxville truly having a lot of growth outside of what I would call the core downtown area,” Cannon said. “Downtowns have had sidewalks for a long time. Out in the rural parts of our city, which aren’t so rural anymore, that wasn’t a necessity.”
However, sidewalks seemingly became a necessity, and the city says it is working to meet residents’ demands.
“We have a budget that upgrades or repairs our existing sidewalk system,” Cannon said “We also have a segment of sidewalks that are considered our new sidewalks for given areas.”
There are also plans to consider sidewalks during future road projects.
“We are committed to multimodal,” Cannon said. “Any new roadway projects that we have, the bike component as well as the pedestrian component must be a part of that plan in order for the project to go forward.”
According to Cannon, initial estimates for citywide sidewalk projects settled around $1.5 billion. With construction inflation, estimates are closer to $2 billion. Because of that price jump, the city is working to get the biggest bang for its buck.
“It’s a systematic approach to do as much as we can with the dollars that we’re allocated,” Cannon said.
It is important to note that sidewalk-related progress has been made. One example of progress is the Texas Avenue sidewalks project.
More details about current and upcoming sidewalk projects are expected to be talked about during a city council workshop on Aug. 18. However, Cannon said if all of the projects go according to plan, residents could expect to see repaired sidewalks, wider sidewalks and brand new sidewalks.