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The City of Knoxville’s Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project was named a state award recipient by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association at the organization’s annual conference held in Kingsport, Tenn. on Thursday.


The $25 million project sought to improve safety for all users, increase economic investments, and provide vibrancy along Cumberland Avenue from Alcoa Highway to 16th Street. A road diet including medians, designated turning lanes, wider sidewalks, a furnishing zone and stamped asphalt crosswalks were used to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety.


Knoxville Police Department records show that the project’s improvements to Cumberland Avenue have yielded an estimated 40% reduction in vehicle collisions along the half-mile corridor.

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Prior to the project, vehicular and pedestrian/bicycle accidents averaged six to seven accidents annually; the most crashes per mile of any corridor in the City. Since the project’s completion, there have been no reported vehicular accidents with pedestrians/bicycles. The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization reported this significant outcome in July with the release of their interactive crash maps.


Finished on time and under budget, the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project has led to approximately $190 million private investment in six private developments, which also brought approximately 1,400 new residents to the corridor.


The public investment of $25 million was a combination of Surface Transportation Program funds from the Federal Highway Administration, managed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and a match from the City of Knoxville. Knoxville Utilities Board also invested in the replacement of underground utilities; which included new gas, water and sewer lines along the corridor.


 In addition to changes to traffic flow, safety improvements, and economic development opportunities, major environmental improvements were implemented.


A new storm water quality device now collects and filters storm water runoff from Fort Sanders and removes litter before it enters the Third Creek watershed, which feeds to the Tennessee River. Over 90 street trees were planted and serve as natural storm water filters and will soon provide enough shade to help reduce the heat island effect along the street. In addition, new City-provided trash and recycling containers along Cumberland Avenue are receiving approximately 3,000 pounds of trash and 1,100 pounds of recyclables weekly.


The state award announced Thursday fell under the “Outstanding Project/Program/Tool” category. By winning at the state level, the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project will also be submitted for consideration of a national American Planning Association award.


“This project represents incredible team work across multiple City Departments, our local, state and federal partners, consultants, contractors, merchants and the community,” said Anne Wallace, project manager and Deputy Director of the City’s Office of Redevelopment. “Given the time, talent and efforts invested in this project, this award is a collaborative honor shared by all involved.”

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