KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One block of Knoxville‘s busiest downtown thoroughfare will become a vehicle-free area for pedestrians in the coming weeks as part of a pilot project announced on Monday.
The 400 block of Gay Street from Wall Avenue to Union Avenue will be turned into a vehicle-free public space for four weekends across November and December. A release from the city said information gathered during these weekends will help leaders decide if the closures should occur on a regular basis and/or if other streets could also be included in the pedestrian-only zone.
The trial weekends are Nov. 10-11, Nov. 17-18, Dec. 8-9. and Dec. 15-16. All closures will be from 7:00 p.m.-4 a.m. During those weekends, parking will not be allowed at any time in the 400 block of Gay Street.
“This block is always bustling and full of people,“ Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said in the statement. “By opening this up for pedestrians it creates another community space much like Market Square.”
Kincannon compared the project to other vehicle-free zones such as Broadway in Nashville, part of which becomes pedestrian-only during weekends.
“This is not a new idea, cities across the world like Paris, New York, Nashville, and New Orleans are taking back their streets and turning them into safe spaces for pedestrians,” Kincannon said. “We are excited to see how residents and visitors utilize this space during these pilot weekends.”