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Bike Trails
Bicycle and Walking Trails

Knoxville Trails

About the Project

In 2014, a Community Survey collected from Knoxville residents showed a need for more extensive bike and walking trails throughout the city. Healthy trails systems are seen as a major benefit for young families and professionals looking to move to a new town, and Knoxville wants to remain appealing to its current and future residents. Regionally connected trails also provide economic development opportunities for local businesses. In response the the community support and known benefits of extending trails through Knoxville, City Council voted to approve a proposal from Snyder and Associates to design a new master plan.

In 2005, the City adopted a trails master plan to be built on the south side of town along Competine Creek in seven phases. The first phase was built in 2005, which starts at the Marion County Park and ends at Knoxville Hospitals and Clinics. It has remained a popular route for runners since it opened. However, due to a variety of circumstances, construction on the remaining six phases was never completed.

The original trails master plan started on the west edge of town by the Marion County Park and followed Competine Creek to the eastern city limits. It primarily served the south side of town. City administration would like to extend the original plan and create a loop around town. This way the system would better reach most residents, provide safe routes to school, and also connect to downtown businesses and the racetrack.

Process and Timeline

Snyder and Associates has proposed the following process and timeline for planning, leaving the City time for Fall grant applications:

trails process schedule.JPG

Two committees have been created to bring forward ideas to public meetings. The first is the Internal Review Team (IRT), comprised of City administration and department heads. The second group is the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), which involves dedicated community members and local leaders.

These two committees first met on May 12, 2015. Representatives from Snyder and Associates were on hand to provide information on various types of bicycle facilities beyond regular trails, and inform attendees of the master planning process. Both the IRT and BAC were then provided with aerial maps of Knoxville that were overlaid with the original trails plan, and asked to mark where they would most like to see trails in town. Those in attendance were also asked to vote on some graphic designs that were provided by Snyder as a branding effort for the planning process and possible future use during and after construction. 

The second meeting, which took place on July 27, 2015, was dedicated to the analysis of a citizen survey posted to the City website and social media pages. The survey had over 350 submissions leading to good data for planning. Snyder and Associates also provided a preliminary draft of a citywide trails network incorporating both on- and off-street paved facilities. Those in attendance were provided the opportunity to make adjustments to the maps provided.

The final public meeting took place on October 1, 2015. This gave residents the opportunity to see the final draft of the map before it was sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. Snyder and Associates also laid out an implementation plan, including addressing the "5 E's" (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation and Planning). 

The Master Plan was unanimously approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on October 13, 2015, and adopted by City Council on November 2nd. The plan can be read in its entirety here.

Funding

A common question is how will Knoxville pay for this project. City Council approved a $700,000 bond to be used as local match dollars for grant funding. The City will aggressively pursue grant opportunities to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent as effectively and efficiently as possible.