Sun
Oct 28 2007
10:09:am

My bad. I have not been following the CAPPE issues real closely. Yesterday I watched a news report on local TV regarding the proposed PPE. I was surprised to see two options for the PPE. It was a graphic, not well explained, but appears there is one option with a direct route to 321 and a second option with a curved route. Interesting, I thought. What is this about? Thus, I decided to review the previous BlountViews post regarding the TDOT public meeting held October 25th.

In reading the post I was stopped cold.

CAPPE (Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension, Inc.) must NOT pit one bad project against another.

From the CAPPE post here at BlountViews:

Alternative (1) is preferred, as there are other higher priorities for transportation improvements in our county. The Alcoa By-Pass will do much more to address safety and Level of Service, as will the Montvale Road improvements.
...
Let’s use our limited highway funds for projects like the Alcoa Highway By-pass that will ensure safety for many, not for a project that will exacerbate our transportation problems.

(Emphasis added by the author.)

The Alcoa Highway By-pass is a horrible idea. It will add a scar to a unique, "planned" community developed nearly a century ago with direction toward community and green space. Has anyone seen what the James White Parkway has done to South Knoxville? I guess it is now time for the citizens of Alcoa to create their own corporation to fight not only TDOT and whatever other government organizations looking to add an Alcoa by-pass, but we appear now be forced to fight an organization that was trying to do good things for the community. I am appalled!

Oh, and by the way. CAPPE's statement regarding the proposed R&D park off Maryville Pike, "The campus-like atmosphere of the Research & Development Park at the Jackson Farm will be disrupted by building an interstate highway through it. Give us a break. The R&D park was plannned with the knowledge of the proposed PPE. If the planners thought it was a bad idea, they should not have invested in it.

More to come.

Turf wars

meanwhile the Planning Commission is wanting to open up the 1101 Growth Plan. Watch the target to be 411 South to become Maryville all the way to the county line.

Turf wars indeed.

I tell you what. I won't

I tell you what. I won't transfer my problem to 411 S.

Regarding PPE, here's why it

Regarding PPE, here's why it will get built:

(link...)

100 wealthy future homeonwer and three or four wealthy investor families want it for easy access to their own little private nature preserve.

Yes, Mr. Neal this is

Yes, Mr. Neal this is exactly why it will be built.

This is apparently a standard TDOT tactic

This is apparently a standard TDOT tactic. The Montvale Rd. "improvement" pitted two neighborhoods against one another with the proposed options. This forced a compromise of doing something while leaving the "do nothing" option off of the table.

The traffic situation in this county is peanuts compared to the larger sprawling, southern cities such as Atlanta and Nashville. We are blessed with the status quo.

I admire and respect CAPPE'S tireless efforts against so-called progressive transporation solutions, but I hate to see it get sucked into the neighbor-as-adversary game.

Alcoa By-Pass

Bizzgirl, this Alcoa By-pass was decided upon several years back by the powers-that-be because of the urging of a group of businessmen on Alcoa Highway. I can't remember the name of the Association that they had formed, but essentially, it was those who owned the Motor Mile Dealerships if memory serves. I think the other option was to build a couple of roads on either side from which you could access the businesses while making Alcoa Highway of much more limited access. I thought that was a good plan, but those businesses fought it off. The story was well-covered in the Daily Times. I remember it, because I was p.o.ed at the time that TDOT would respond better to commercial concerns than to the residents and farmers along the PPE route. My only solace is that they will get what they deserve: if TDOT by-passes Alcoa Highway, it ain't going to be too good for business.

So, someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but this is sort of already in the works. UT's Dairy Farm was going to be disturbed by the project, which led them to purchase the farm at the corner of Old Walland Highway and Ellejoy Road (near River Ford) a couple of years back.

So CAPPE may be have formed their statement around a foregone conclusion, rather than thrown that area under a metaphorical bus to save themselves.

We went to the TDOT public

Bizgrrl and I went to the TDOT public hearing on the project. From the old blog, July 2, 2004...


Public participation: how it works
7/2/2004 7:56:00 AM

Matt Edens has an interesting article in Metro Pulse about public participation in local government. He talks about the problem of apathy and has some ideas for cures.

The reason there is public apathy is because the public doesn't feel like anybody listens to them. And many times they are right.

Here's a case in point. TDOT held a "public input" meeting on a proposed Alcoa highway bypass project in Blount County. This project will bypass about three miles of U.S. 129/Alcoa Highway between the dangerous intersection at Singleton Station Road, past the airport, to Hunt Road. The new "parkway" will be a winding 5.5 mile stretch of six lane highway. The intent is to relieve traffic on this "heavily congested" stretch of Alcoa Highway.

A previous plan to widen Alcoa Highway, build frontage roads and turn lanes, improve dangerous intersections, and install traffic signals was rejected. Why? Because the Airport Motor Mile Association and other businesses along the route felt it would disrupt their business during construction. And no politician wants traffic signals on Alcoa Highway.

So instead, TDOT is proposing a $100 million (!) project to build 5.5 miles of road that will channelize a mile-long stretch of creek bed and destroy the associated riparian habitat, require three bridges to cross the creek three times (instead of taking a straight line that would have only crossed the creek once but put the route through a future EPA Supersite at an Alcoa toxic waste dump that nobody wants to dig up or even talk about), eliminate Pine Lakes Golf Course, and take several other homes and businesses. Oh, yeah. It will also open up several large tracts of vacant land for commercial development (and increased tax revenues for the City of Alcoa).

They had a nice PowerPoint slide show explaining the "process". The summary bullet points went something like:

• Feasibility study, planning and design
• Environmental impact study
• Public hearing <-- You Are Here
• Right of way acquisition
• Construction

The meeting was the public's only opportunity to provide input for the "No-Build" v. "Build" alternatives, and comment on the four (or five?) proposed "Build" alternatives which differed only slightly with respect to some of the interchanges.

The reality is that a "preferred" alternative has already been selected, the project is already funded, and construction is already scheduled.

We have unfortunately not been paying much attention to this $100 million project. We went to the meeting mainly to see the maps and what was going to happen because we live near one of the affected interchanges.

There were about 100 people at the meeting. Mrs. Bubba asked for a show of hands, and about half were concerned residents. The rest were business people or government employees.

TDOT officials and their private engineering firm consultants listened politely to the few who were actually prepared with facts and figures and good questions about the alternatives, the environmental impact, noise abatement, and so on. TDOT responded with boilerplate non-answers and moved to the next question.

They had a few copies of the 150 or so page environmental assessment available for review. It was some interesting reading. Unfortunately, they don't have it on the TDOT website, and weren't sure when it would be. Maybe in a few weeks they said. Hey, it takes about ten minutes to upload a PDF file. What's the big problem?

It is interesting, though, what you can find out talking to low-level TDOT employees in casual conversation "off the record". Such as one of them saying he has seen plans for commercial development on the site of the soon to be former Pine Lakes Golf Course, even though TDOT publicly says there are no official plans for it. Or another who said that improvements to Alcoa Highway itself would actually be a better, less expensive plan and involve significantly less environmental impact.

So basically, "public input" for a TDOT project is a farce. Comments are dutifully recorded by a court reporter, response forms are cheerfully handed out, and the bulldozers roll in.

To me, this is a pretty good example of why the public is apathetic about participation. Everything is all already arranged. "All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused."

OK, then.

That's how I remembered it

I don't think CAPPE is saying they are in favor of the project, just that it was a done-deal from the time the Motor Mile Association formed against a strategy that would have solved the REAL problem instead of creating more problems. Because it would have inconvenienced them temporarily. Forget hundred year old farms and the like...

Now, how can we get the Motor Mile Association out in opposition to the PPE???

P.S. Would this by-pass benefit the R&D Park? I'm guessing it would and that the developers had that info. And if you look at a measure Finney got passed to increase the height of buildings along the PPE, you'll notice it is beneficial to the R&D Park, too.

P.P.S. It has long been rumored that a Walmart would sprout on or near Morningside Baptist Church on 321 where the PPE pops out onto the existing highway. Hopefully, this won't be a 3 Walmart town.

Re. Sen. Finney, this was

Re. Sen. Finney, this was posted at KnoxViews before we knew about the Technology Park:

(link...)

SERIOUSLY, Mr. Neal

You really need to establish a "breaking news" and/or "heard here first" department on these here websites of yours!

how about just tagging it as

how about just tagging it as such?

Link... A TDOT status report

(link...)

A TDOT status report on these projects from Oct. 2006:

6. Alcoa Highway Bypass, Pellissippi Parkway and Alcoa Highway Project Update
Presenter: Mike Russell, TDOT
Item Summary: An update on these projects will be provided by TDOT.
Background: TDOT last provided a status report on these projects at the March 23, 2006 Executive Board meeting.
Minutes - TPO Executive Board – October 25, 2006 4

Mike Russell, Project Manager from TDOT for the Alcoa Highway Bypass, stated that TDOT has asked a consultant to look at another alternative that would move the alignment further north to avoid the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experimental Station at Singleton Station Road.

TDOT’s environmental office will work with the consultant and will also meet with the Airport Authority to ensure it does not conflict with their plans. The timeline may be a year away from beginning the project.
TDOT is negotiating with a consultant about traffic counts and Origin and Destination numbers for the Pellissippi Parkway extension. They will begin charettes next year.

Concerning Alcoa Highway, TDOT has been waiting for a response from TVA. The TDOT environmental office is also working with the Marine Station for a land swap and will be conducting public meetings as the next step.

Larry Waters stated that Sevier County Transportation Board discussed plans for an extension from Pigeon Forge to McGhee Tyson Airport. They have submitted this request to Commissioner Nicely for future consideration to improve better access to the airport from Sevier County.

Eddy Ford asked when motorists will be able to go from Pellissippi Parkway to Townsend without going through Maryville. Mike Russell stated that TDOT is currently in the Environmental phase and conducting the NEPA process. This should take another two to three years. Then the Design phase of the project should take one year.

After Design, ROW should take 12 to 18 months. The project is funded through the right-of-way part only. It may be seven years or so to get to the construction phase.

There has been little if any

There has been little if any public opposition to the Alcoa By-Pass and it has sailed along within the TDOT planning process. The project has little "dangerous" opposition and much support from The Powers That Be. it makes sense to me that people who have succeeded in halting TDOT in their tracks for seven years about the PPE might reasonably suggest that diminishing funds be allocated to the Alcoa By-Pass instead of to opening up NE Blount County to all that will follow the completion of the PPE.

Ragarding the R & D Park and the PPE, the developers have hired a land planning firm to help them design the park and instructed that group to plan both with and without the PPE, so they obviously do not think the PPE is necessary for the Park. Some of them privately admit that the idea of an interstate through the park does seem a bit odd. They park developers are on a tighter timeline than can be accomodated by TDOT's Environmental Impact Statement timetable, so they are going to have to start work without knowing for sure what is going to happen, or when.

As noted by R in an earlier

As noted by R in an earlier comment, approx. 50 people attended the 2004 meeting to protest the new bypass. I do not believe there has been a meeting since then.

I had heard that the bypass was on the back burner and there were doubts it would ever happen. In my research today (note: I am not the best at research), I have not found any definitive Alcoa Hwy bypass project with TDOT or the City of Alcoa. I did find a list of Alcoa local projects on the TDOT web site for a bypass with no estimated start date. I did find a long range plan from the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization with a bypass project planned for 2014. Nothing definite anywhere though. Oh, and the same lrp has a 2020 plan to 4-lane Maryville Hwy (Old Knoxville Hwy) from Hunt Road to the Knox County line.

There is a lot more definitive information about the PPE happening in a lot more places than there is about a bypass. I, again, think the bypass project is being used by CAPPE and maybe others to stop the PPE.

Some of them privately admit that the idea of an interstate through the park does seem a bit odd.

Again, the I-140 extension was in the plans long before the R&D park.

BECAUSE of CAPPE

There is a lot more definitive information about the PPE happening in a lot more places than there is about a bypass.

The reason you hear more about the PPE is because CAPPE exists for that purpose. They demanded that all laws be adhered to. Remember, TDOT hadn't even done an Environmental Impact Statement and probably never would have if not for CAPPE. They educate the public on all aspects of this. In short, they keep it in the news.

Why not start a similar group for the Alcoa By-Pass if you feel so strongly?

Baffling

What I find absolutely amazingly stupid about any Highway, By-Pass, Interstate expansion programme, is the FACT that as Gasoline Prices sky-rocket, the need for paved roads of any type diminish. How many of us here have increased our driving habits over the past 7 years? Very few, I'd imagine. Misguided priorities. Gasoline will never get cheaper. Michigan will never produce any alternative fuel vehicles (noticed this latest Ethanol Hype? it requires the use of Gasoline-=-can't burn pure ethanol). If our Blount County leaders cared about the future of our area at all, they'd be looking into getting us a Light Passenger Rail system going.

viva Evo Morales

the FACT that as Gasoline

the FACT that as Gasoline Prices sky-rocket, the need for paved roads of any type diminish.

Good point.

Light Passenger Rail system

Doubt this will happen any time soon. However, Blount to Knox definitely needs a public transportation system. Maybe just vans for specific businesses or destinations.

Blount to Knox

BizGrrl:

Don't you think CSX would willingly share ?their? line with our Passenger Line?
Clover Hill to Vestal
viva Evo Morales

CAPPE had as its speaker at

CAPPE had as its speaker at its 2006 annual meeting the head of the Knoxville Area Transit Authority for the specific purpose of learning about how decisions are made to fund rail and bus systems. Federal funding formulas are the key factor and residential density is a major component. Blount County is not even close to the residential density needed to get light rail money. The irony is that we have to wait to become urban in order to avoid becoming sprawled to death.

If TDOT has a meeting and forty people object to something and nobody does anything else (organize and maybe even sue), TDOT has a blank check to proceed.

The most recent prioritization of area road projects by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) has the Alcoa Parkway listed ahead of the PPE. CAPPE has no influence with the TPO.

Acronym Confusion

I'm sorry but after years of working on Aircraft: VORs, ADFs, DMEs, IFRs, etc., acronyms tend to close my thinking process. Could you expound?

CAPPE = ?
K-Trans = Knoxville Area Transit Authority?
TDOT = Tennessee Department of Transportation?
TPO = Transportation Planning Organization
PPE = ?

If TDOT has a meeting and forty people object to something and nobody does anything else (organize and maybe even sue), TDOT has a blank check to proceed.

I don't follow. Do you mean if no one organizes or sues The TN Dept. of Trans., then the Dept. goes ahead with their plans, regardless of the number of voices of protest they hear?

Could a Light Rail system operate without Federal Funding? Once established, could it then receive Federal Funding? It is apparent that Freight haulers wouldn't appreciate sharing 'their' roads with passenger traffic, but can they influence the decisions on Federal Light Rail funding? Where does one go, to find out how much construction of an 'Army Corps of Engineers specification' approved Rail Depot, Locomotive, siding, switching, and Passenger Cars cost? Would Diane.Davidson@state.tn.us be the person to ask?

viva Evo Morales

Alcoa By-Pass and PPE

CAPPE = Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension

PPE = Pellissippi Parkway Extension (from Old Knoxville Highway to US 321)

First and foremost, IMO CAPPE is not trying to support another road project to derail the PPE. What CAPPE is referring to (IMO again) is the assertion from TDOT that the level of service (LOS) (which is a "scientific" way of evaluating the safety of a road by traffic counts, accidents, sight clearance, etc.) for certain roads that will be positively impacted by the continuation of the PPE (Alcoa Highway, Washington Avenue, US 321) will be helped by buidling the PPE. Level of Service for roads are given a letter grade from A (best) to F (worse). Less cars on Alcoa Highway, US 321, etc., due to the PPE makes justifying the PPE OK in engineers eyes. But the fact is these roads have a poor LOS already and the PPE will do nothing to improve them. Hence the engineering arguement is out the door. So what CAPPE is saying (IMO) is that there is an Alcoa By_pass plan and a Montvale Road improvement plan on the books (and in the local planning projects) that will do more to improve the LOS on these roads than the PPE. Building the PPE will not help local traffic circulation in the area - period. As noted before, this interstate will be to serve the few and mighty that live in Walland and ex-governors and TDOT commissioners that live in Townsend (yes, Sundquist and Saltzman).

About the Alcoa By-Pass thingy - I attended that meeting and I argued that nowhere in the Environmental Assessment was there an option to improve Alcoa Highway. the choices were build the by-pass or leave Alcoa Highway as is. What's screwed is the fact that TDOT said they could make Alcoa Highway a limited access highway (which means having exits to a service road) for $50 million (half less than building a new road). Business leaders were screaming that the limited access would hinder their business but creating a new road and making Alcoa Highway a lovely boulevard would help business. Hopefully TDOT is rethinking this horrible thinking.

Building the PPE will not

Building the PPE will not help local traffic circulation in the area - period

Just an example of how "locals" can put a differnt argument on this.

I would beg to differ that the PPE can definitely help local traffic circulation in the area.

One prime way will be to get tourist traffic off Alcoa Hwy from PPE to the airport throught town. You see lots of out of state tags heading towards the mountains, not just the few and mighty rich.

There are several large neighborhoods off 411 that the PPE will help relieve traffic off many dangerous backroads.

The population living off 321 north and south of the proposed PPE will then also be able to access Knoxville without going "back" through Maryville (saving gas) and without driving on dangerous back roads.

With PPE there is a plan, a vision. There was a vision to provide Blount Countians easy access to the new "center" of Knox County (West Knoxville). The growth area of the region for jobs. There was a vision to provide easier access to the masses trying to visit the natural side of the smokies. It has been a forgone conclusion for years. The built these massive bridges and roads from I-40 to US 129. The continued I-140 to SR 33. Once they continue I-140 to US 321 the vision will be complete.

There is not a "vision" for an Alcoa Hwy bypass. There have only been reactions to traffic build up and increased accidents. All of that can be fixed with a different plan that will just be spread from Alcoa's and Maryville's already existing plan in place further down the road. Traffic lights (or roundabouts/rotaries). Traffic comes to a screeching halt at the first traffic light be it at Louisville Rd or Associates Blvd. We will promote just moving the traffic slow down north on Alcoa Hwy a mile (or two or five). We will promote creative traffic planning and routing techniques. There will be no need for an Alcoa Hwy bypass.

So, CAPPE (Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension, Inc.) DO NOT pit one bad project against another.

Now you've got my goat

Bizzgirl,

Maybe I missed something, or your cheek is firmly planted in your cheek and I just haven't had enough coffee yet to have a good sense of humor about it, but it sounds to me like YOU are tossing the people in the pathway of the PPE under the bus to save those in the route of the Alcoa By-pass. I was thinking that your interpretation of CAPPE's comments as doing the same in reverse is what started this discussion.

There was a vision to provide Blount Countians easy access to the new "center" of Knox County (West Knoxville).

Do you know why the "new center" of Knox County is in West Knoxville? Because of the Pellissippi Parkway. Before it was put in, people used to live, work, and shop in Blount County, except for maybe twice a year special shopping trips at the first of the school year and then at Xmas.

Do you think that the expressed "vision", as you call it, of the Pellissippi Parkway was to create such sprawl that you can no longer distinguish Knoxville from Farragut? No, but that has happened, and in a very short time. Part of Knoxville nearly died when the growth fled to the other side, by the way. You see revitalization of downtown, now, but it didn't used to NEED revitalized. I submit that the Pellissippi Parkway is what created a bedroom community out of Blount County. Our mall nearly went belly up. The only thing that sustains it now is the burst of growth down south in the county. Far too easy for people to get to Turkey Creek now, and Knox County keeps our money. And you witness for yourself the traffic on Alcoa Highway at "rush hour."

The population living off 321 north and south of the proposed PPE will then also be able to access Knoxville without going "back" through Maryville (saving gas) and without driving on dangerous back roads.

How about those people living on "dangerous back roads" just don't buy houses there, if they don't like it? And the ones that want to save gas should by all means, move closer to work.

Just an example of how "locals" can put a differnt argument on this.

Looks like those people who want to work in Knoxville and live out here in the Blount County "sticks" want to pave over the rest of us locals to get to work faster. I'm sorry, but that's just not okay with me.

One prime way will be to get tourist traffic off Alcoa Hwy from PPE to the airport throught town. You see lots of out of state tags heading towards the mountains, not just the few and mighty rich.

I really don't care if it takes tourists longer to get to the Smoky Mountains. They can stop off in Maryville and eat at the Foothills Mining Company, or Sullivan's or Capital Coffee and spend some money. Maybe make up for all that shopping at Turkey Creek we do. It isn't like the Smokies are hurting for more tourists, you know.

There is not a "vision" for an Alcoa Hwy bypass. There have only been reactions to traffic build up and increased accidents.

Take up your complaints about the Alcoa Hwy Bypass with the group that basically created it, thinking to save themselves from short-term inconvenience: The Motor Mile Association. (A different group than CAPPE.)

The continued I-140 to SR 33. Once they continue I-140 to US 321 the vision will be complete.

OH NO, THE VISION FOR A DEVELOPMENT MECCA WILL NOT BE COMPLETE AT MORNINGSIDE BAPTIST CHURCH ON 321. Sorry, now I'm yelling.

Have you not heard of the Southern Loop? The termination of I-140 is just the START of that lovely wheel around the entire freaking county.

I once heard a local say, "let the little inconveniences of country life protect it from destruction like the thorns on a lovely rose bush."

The point is: people move here for the scenery, the slower pace, the proximity to nature, not the convenience. Don't expect us to sit idly by and watch the place turn into newer versions of the many cities that folks fled to get here. We (locals and thoughtful newcomers alike) demand planning for the future, not immediate gratification for needs based on mere convenience.

Jumping off my soapbox now.

Population - Blount County

1990 - Approximately 83,000
2007 - Approximately 115,000

Our County is not small any more, the service business in the County can not support the population. Just a thought...

BeyondLeft asked: Do you

BeyondLeft asked: Do you mean if no one organizes or sues The TN Dept. of Trans., then the Dept. goes ahead with their plans, regardless of the number of voices of protest they hear?

IMO, the answer to that is yes. TDOT's job historically has been to ask Chambers of Commerce and their political
"leaders" what they need. The answer, of course, is "more roads." Then TDOT delivers the roads and claims that the "need" has been legitimately established because the Powers That Be are assumed to represent "the people." I do not see evidence that this is any less true in the post-Sundquist era than it was, but TDOT has gotten better manners and pays slightly more attention to what the law says (having been sued and only then deciding to follow the law by doing an Environmental Impact Statement instead of an Environmental Assessment).

The head of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce testified in public (at a session that was part of a "study" of the PPE done by UT)that CAPPE had engaged in an "undemocratic" act by "resorting to the courts" instead of just letting the state ignore the law (and trusting the Chamber, a voluntary and private membership organization, to represent the community).

Transportation Committee of the Chamber of Commerce

This Chamber of Commerce action makes sense when you look at the people they have now and have had in the past on their "Transportation Committee." That is, the Committee that advocates for new roads...

The head of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce testified in public (at a session that was part of a "study" of the PPE done by UT)that CAPPE had engaged in an "undemocratic" act by "resorting to the courts" instead of just letting the state ignore the law (and trusting the Chamber, a voluntary and private membership organization, to represent the community).

$3.00 / gallon = more driving?

Again (and I appreciate BizzGrrl's comments on this), I don't understand why one would need more roads when folks are driving less often and to fewer places. It's reverse logic. When there is less traffic, there should be less demand for new roads. Automobile Fuel prices will never go down again (this current Federal Texo-based Regime has made certain of that, by ticking off every OPEC Nation on the Planet), so an argument that when fuel prices come down, we'd need the new roads--is a myth and moot point. Therefore, based on Facts and Reality, the only reason I can think of, that we'd need new roads, is if Pavement Contractors, who are used to constant income from Federal, State, and Local coffers; want more from the till. How that would serve the general populace here in the county, is beyond me. Maybe someone else here, could illuminate a better reason for more roads in Blount County.

Evo Morales <-Click Here
Have to wait thru commercials before the Jon Stewart interview begins

Well, it isn't exactly a "better" reason for more roads

The price of fuel really isn't going to make much difference in the amount of traffic on the roads, IMO - it isn't so much that individuals are driving more than ever - it is that more and more people are coming into the area, and more people = more drivers = more cars on the road. This is compounded by the fact that new housing is being built on cheaper land farther out in the county - and by definition, people who live out in the country have to drive farther to get to town than people who live closer...so more growth out in the countryside will continue to encourage more and more gasoline consumption.

OTOH, if more growth is encouraged within the urban growth boundary, people will not have to drive as far (and it would be fabulous if we could plan growth in such a way as to encourage biking and walking as modes of transportation).

Living away from Work

I just saw "more Gas stations" in description of the PPE. Which again, astounds me. What will they be selling at these Gas Stations? Corn Oil? You are correct. Folks are moving further and further out into the country, here in Blount County. I am NOT a prophet, and maybe a gloom and doomer, but, when we do run outta Oil, the folks that opted to move way out there'd better have a plan on what to do for a living, for the transportation costs are about to wreck the free wheelin' dream. The only break we've seen in Auto Fuel prices was just before the '06 elections--merely a ruse to get Big Oil Bob Corxxon in office. It ain't gonna happen anymore. Folks go out and buy Humvees, Double King Cab Macho Trucks, etc. because they have some twisted idea that we'll be able to steal enough resources to make Gasoline $1.00/gallon again. Ain't gonna happen. Again, I plea that if any roads be built in Blount County, they be of standard gauge & ties, for that form of transportation supports the infrastructure of the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich, in getting transportation to and from work. Other countries are spending like mad on Passenger Rail, Cars, and Locomotives; while we are waving the banner of Ethanol plants in Vonore, to appease the Auto-Makers from having to re-tool, and the Texxons in keeping their fluid in our tanks.

viva Evo Morales

Dear Bizzgrl

You must work for the chamber of commerce or be a member. Do you live in Blount County? TDOTs own documentation for the environmental assessment states that the Level of Service for the roads that are currently used (versus building the PPE) would not be improved. These roads, Alocoa Highway, Washington Street, US 321 have their own traffic dynamics. Most of the traffic on Alcoa Highway is commuter traffic and a vast majority exit onto the 129 bypass. Most traffic on US 321 goes from Lenoir City to Townsend. The two roads are heavily used and diverting a small amount of traffic by building a brand new, expensive road will not alleviate that traffic. In fact, Washington Street, the road between Alcoa Highway and US 321, is hardly ever crowded. I rarely have to wait for two turns of a traffic light unless people are dropping kids off at school. And, in fact, more people will be using US 411 if the PPE is completed than there is now. Just think of all the commuter traffic coming from the Montvale Road area that will go to 321, turn onto Washington Street, then turn down US 411 to get to the PPE. And the PPE will bring more development, which will mean more traffic, which means the existing streets will be more dangerous. If you want to address the "dangerous back roads" then we should make those back roads wider and safer before we build an interstate style highway that will actually increase traffic on those "dengerous back roads".

The original intent of the Pellissippi Parkway was to connect Alcoa Highway to I-40. Back when this plan was envisioned West Knoxville was stopping at Westtown Mall. This new Knoxville Center you speak of Bizzgrl was not around when the original intent of the road was envisioned. Developers and politicians want this road built so more open space is easily accessible and a few people won't be inconvenienced by having to drive an extra 10 minutes through Maryville.

The Pellissippi Parkway is not a gateway road into the Smokies. US 321, Chapman Highway, and Highway 66 serve most of the traffic from the north, south, east and west. Extending the PPE will serve Knoxville residents who don't want to bother driving through Maryville.

So please Bizzgrl, whose vision is it you are supporting? Blount Countians have continually said they want to preserve the rural character of our lovely county. We are working hard to have smart development. The PPE will not only bring development to rural areas it will change the face of US 321. An intersate intersecting with a major federal highway will bring service stations, retail boxes, and other businesses that will muck up the gorgeous view from the now uincluttered road. And I will save you from all of the environmental impacts building a new road will create.

In my opinion, if the feds and state want to do some real traffic planning they should focus on making SR 33, US 411, and Alcoa Highway better, safer roads before they even consider building the PPE.

So, Bizzgrl, we are not pitting on bad project versus another. IMO Alcoa Highway needs improving much more than building a PPE. Whether it be reconfiguring the existing Alcoa Highway or a new Alcoa By-Pass, that road, I'll killya hihgway, needs improvements much worse than building the PPE. Building the PPE will NOT make Alcoa Highway safer.

So keep your vision to yourself. It's not everyone's vision - OK?

Dear local_yokel

I think I'm in love.... ;)

Why, Farmer John:

That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me ALL day!

So keep your vision to

So keep your vision to yourself. It's not everyone's vision - OK?

That works both ways.

Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what point bizgrrl is trying to make. She's not here or I would ask her. But a couple of things.

You missed the last part. "Don't pit one bad project against another." That was the starting point for this, and was repeated here a second time.

It looks to me like that because there is some backlash against that original thought (objection to CAPPE saying AHBP would be a better project to spend money on), bizgrrl is simply trying to show that she can make make a similar agrument that, for good or ill, PPE is a better planned and thought out project. I don't think she's advocating for it, just making a point.

In fact, I won't speak for her but I've heard her say that what needs to be done is to fix Alcoa highway, force trucks off off Alcoa Highway around the dangerous Timberlake and Montlake and Singleton Station interections by way of I-140, encourage airport traffic to use the same route (signs currently point to 129/Alcoa Highway) fix some of these dangerous secondary roads, especially Sevierville Pike, and that she's not all that keen on having a straight shot for tourists to Townsend because it will turn into Pigeon Forge, and doesn't want to wipe out vast swaths of the countryside for either PPE or AHBP.

And she doesn't work for the Chamber of Commerce. But y'all are doing a pretty good job of divide and conquer, basically doing the GOB network's job for them. That's been a pretty effective tactic for local, state, and national politics for a couple of decades now.

So maybe everyone ought to back up, take a deep breath, and start over on how to fight both of these projects AND come up with some ideas for workable alternatives.

One other thing. She's done some checking around and I'm sure she will have more on this, but contrary to some status reports the Alcoa Highway Bypass is far from a done deal.

Not a done deal?

She's done some checking around and I'm sure she will have more on this, but contrary to some status reports the Alcoa Highway Bypass is far from a done deal.

Glad to hear it!

Well R. Neal

I understand Bizzgrls comments, but why did she make the statements she did? I'm all for discussion, but when someone passionately defends the PPE I will passionately argue against it. I agree that CAPPE shouldn't pit one project against another, but Alcoa Highway is in much dire need of improving than building the PPE. CAPPE has every right to make that point. And no, we are not trying to divide and conquer. That's about the stupidest thing I've heard you type.

The hardest thing is organizing a group to oppose a state project. CAPPE is one of the most well-informed, organized TDOT opposition group I have ever met. Not too many grassroot organizations can stop a project supported by powerful politicians to make sure all of the federal regulations are followed. Now is the time to organize a group to oppose the Alcoa by-pass and start pleading with TDOT and the local govet bodies to support enhancing the existing road, not build a new one. As I noted earlier, TDOT originally wanted to make Alcoa Highway a limited access road but the powers that be (who are not traffic engineers) wanted a new road, they lobbied TDOT, got it on the TPO books, and now it's being studied. Lobby now before the ink dries.

That's about the stupidest

That's about the stupidest thing I've heard you type.

OK, then.

I meant that

with the deepest respect. I do appreciate everything you and bizzgrl do for the blog world.

The question is "who decides what our future looks like"?

Definitely you should avoid the dividing-and-conquering thing. These two projects are apples and oranges.

The Alcoa Highway needs modification because it is an existing road carrying a lot of traffic under sometimes dangerous conditions. People drive too fast, dart out into traffic, and often drive like maniacs. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly been creamed in the Green Acres area alone. Yes, it needs to be changed - but the important point is that it needs to be changed because it is a public safety hazard.

The PPE is in a different category - it is not a pre-existing hazard. It could be (and IMO should be) viewed as a mechanism to direct growth and development in Blount County. It is a means to an end. It is simply a given that if it is built as proposed, that end of the county will be open for development, from a gas station on every corner to numerous subdivisions, etc, etc.

What we need to do as a community is evaluate - and PLAN - where we want development to occur, and plan roadways accordingly - TDOT and a few wealthy landowners should not be allowed to decide where to locate future subdivisions and gas stations on our behalf. That is the real issue with respect to the Pellissippi Parkway Extension - the real question is DO we want subdivisions and mini marts out in the rural areas? What impact will that have on our quality of life? Do we want to be a "bedroom community" for Knox County? Do we want to have more development inside the urban growth boundary, where there is infrastructure support, or do we want to have more development out in the country, where the infrastructure doesn't exist (and providing it will cost the taxpayers more). These are legitimate topics for discussion. As a community we should discuss and decide - but simply rolling over and allowing the PPE to be built means that we are allowing a few to dictate the future of the county for the rest of us.

Maps! I need MAPS!

Could someone show on one single map where all these roads plans are projected?

I never use Alcoa highway unless I have to take someone to the airport so I can't really understand the issues with this.

Thanks.

Map of the Southern Loop

Here's a map of the approximate route of the proposed Southern Loop, which would START at the termination of I-140 and Hwy 321. Found it at the Raven Society Website. It was actually one of the main issues that spawned the development of the Society: (link...)

just saw the map... I think

just saw the map...
I think I'm going to toss my lunch..
Hey if they build this road we can put houses, Mcdonalds and Easy Stops all along the way, and somebody can make lots of money.... we don't need all those farms and green trees and grass. Nobody gets rich on farms and grass. All the rich guys will have their preserves in Millers Cove anyway.
I better get back to work so we can pay for all this pavement.
Heck, let's pave the whole county while we're at it. It will save on lawn mower gas emmisions.

the Map

Now if the grey line had some perpendicular hash marks on it (denoting a Rail), I'd go for it. But I'm certain the planners of this catastrophe had asphalt in mind instead. Repairing Alcoa Hwy is much more important than spewing Exhaust Pipe gasses throughout Southern Blount County. Either way, IMO I hope the PPE and Alcoa By-Pass By-Pass both fail. There's enough asphalt.

Food for thought: If the Alcoa By-Pass By-Pass, would in the future require another By-Pass, would it then be called the Alcoa Tri-Pass?

viva Evo Morales

One issue with Alcoa Highway

One issue with Alcoa Highway is that lots of people die on it (including many friends of bizgrrl and her family) because there are too many intersections and accesses yet the traffic moves too fast because nobody wants to be delayed getting home from work or to the airport.

I still say roundabouts at Maloney Road and Singleton Station. Not sure what to do about Wright Road and Air Base Road. (Can you build a roundabout that big?) And probably another one at Louisville Road.

Roundabouts and the new road

You can build them as big as you want, the cost will go up and some businesses may fight it. Roundabouts are great, they slow the traffic pace, yet keep it flowing at a reasonable speed, and they continue to work during power failures. Traffic lights should be outlawed.

Has anyone made a plan to redesigning I-140 extension, and make it a scenic highway instead of an Interstate? The citizens of Gatlinburg lost their fight on the 321 four lane extension, but got it redesigned like the Spur. If the extension was divided into two separate roads and designed for a max speed of 45 mph, it would be better than a super highway designed for speeds over 100 mph.

R. Neal is correct in his

R. Neal is correct in his analysis of my post.

Mello, I will try to get a map or make up something for the proposed, not in the works, Alcoa Hwy bypass.

RE: Bypassing the bypasses for more bypasses.
I never understood exactly why they call the current "bypass" a bypass. I guess they are bypassing downtown Maryville. It has been there so long I can't remember how we used to get to the co-op.

Yes, I live in Blount County. I care about Blount County and all of East Tennessee. I also care about the City of Alcoa, the historical Springbrook neighborhood and park.

How many CAPPE or Raven's

How many CAPPE or Raven's use the pellissippi? Or have they ever? Well that's just a starting point. The Southern Loop has been scraped by TDOT's meeting they had at the library 2 months ago. Only 4 citizens showed up and 3 were officials. So to be honest here, everyone has used the PPE sometime or another. As for the saving of 10 minutes driving through blount county. haha now thats funny. It's a shame but we all have to plan some extra time in waking up or driving somewhere or anything else in life. Not for or against the extension finishing. I doubt in my lifetime that it ever will be done to 321.

I'm so impressed!

There are three out of four chances, folks, that OUR VERY OWN ANONYMOUS is an "official."

It's a shame but we all have

It's a shame but we all have to plan some extra time in waking up or driving somewhere or anything else in life.

That's a great point. One I have been making about Alcoa Hwy from Kingston Pike/Cumberland (Knox County) to the 129 bypass/Louisville Road intersection. I drive the speed limit on Alcoa Hwy 50 mph in some places, 55 mph in others, a 45 caution around Court South (Knox County). I am passed by almost every vehicle on the road. I discussed this with an acquaintance whose daughter was killed in the Court South area. He was very angry at Blount County drivers and how they have no concern for the people living in the neighborhoods along Alcoa Hwy.

And to note, many of these neighborhoods were there before Alcoa Hwy was even a four lane road. I know this for a fact, I lived in one.

Please, Blount County drivers, SLOW DOWN. You are endangering many people to save five minutes. Get started earlier or be five minutes late.

kudos

I may read and comment but as you have said and others, and going along with those statements, just stating what you think is true or right. It just so happens that alot of it is true but not to that extent. Sure we go to meetings and sit and listen and then complain on here or other blogs is not constructive critizism. I listen and research what someone says or writes to me. But to get bashed by you all the time is sad. It can't go the way you wanted the vote to go. It may be the right vote in your eyes and/or others but what the regualtions state is what you go by. So changing the regs is one way to correct any problems for the future. The old way is what created what you see now. But in 20-30 years is what the reasoning on the changes. Just tired of all the negative and bashing when you are trying to do whats right for the future not what you see now. Now is what was done many years ago. It took alot of people and thier hindsight in recent years to push forward what to protect and keep with what everyone likes here. So get off your soapbox now and keep less flies from the cowpatties that you are laying.

Speaking of laying cowpatties

Anonymous Troll, (link...)

You seem to have some deep-seated hurt feelings here. If you are surprised that people in a clearly-marked "progressive" discussion site aren't happy with what goes on in your particular niche of bureaucracy, why not try trolling on some homebuilder and developer discussion sites? I'm sure they are just thrilled with what they see. Might cheer you up a bit.

They certainly seem happy with your performance. Or at least until you explain to them that all that glitters for them was the result of the people that came before you and that you aren't the least bit responsible, like so:

The old way is what created what you see now.

This is the fourth time you've made an attempt to identify a blogger in this site. Why are you soooooooooo desperate to shut up one individual? If you don't like what people say, then for heaven's sake, don't read their stuff. And if you aren't a "progressive," don't frustrate and sadden yourself by haunting discussion groups you just ain't going to agree with. It's plain scilly. I mean, silly.

Enter some doom-and-gloom...

My spouse calls me a doom and gloomer for paying too much attention to what I am about to share, but I think it is appropriate to the discussion. Check out these websites:

http://www.kunstler.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1ZeXnmDZMQ
http://www.theoildrum.com/

Kunstler is a longtime and articulate critic of our suburban adventure.The Oil Drum gets into the "Peak Oil" realm. You don't have to agree with all of this, but it will make you think about the futility of some of our efforts.

One of our Anonymouses

One of our Anonymouses wrote:
How many CAPPE or Raven's use the pellissippi? Or have they ever? Well that's just a starting point. The Southern Loop has been scraped by TDOT's meeting they had at the library 2 months ago.

What does whether someone uses the current Pellissippi Parkway have to do with whether the Extension is needed? If I supported the US involvement in World War II, does that mean I have to support Vietnam and the Iraq wars?

The Southern Loop is still on the TDOT and Knoxville TPO's long range plans, so if you want to think it is "scraped," help yourself, but it is not.

speaking of the southern loop

I will ask this question again.

That portion of new State Highway 95 in Loudon and Blount counties from the Fort Loudon Dam to its intersection with U.S. Highway 129 at Morganton Road

TDOT assured me there is no portion of State Hwy 95 in Blount County. So why is this wording in the state scenic highway list?

The Southern Loop proposal,

The Southern Loop proposal, which led to the formation of the Raven Society, was/is to continue the extension of the Pellissippi Parkway frpm US 321 around the southern part of the county to connect with US 129 somewhere near the Topside/129 intersection. See (link...) and click on Map.

What's wrong with the Southern Loop

You people claim to be progressive. But you really aren’t.

The guy who said “why build more roads when fewer people are driving” is a moron. You apparently do not have an 8-5 job like the majority of us taxpayers do. People are driving more now, that’s why new/better roads are needed. It’s not rocket science.

The CAPE people are a bunch of nuts. They really are the monkey wrench in the gears of progress. Have you any idea how much traffic congestion would be alleviated if drivers from Walland, Townsend, and the entire western part of the county had a straight shot to Alcoa Highway without having to stop at every single traffic light in Maryville and Alcoa?

The Southern Loop would be wonderful. It was pointed out earlier that the most traffic on 321 is due to commuters traveling between Lenoir City and Townsend. Anyone actually has to drive to work in the mornings know that ALL the traffic on 411/129 is due to people trying to get to Knoxville. Have you ANY idea how ALL the congestion in Maryville/Alcoa would be alleviated if there was an interstate highway carrying traffic around the city?

What you folks need to wake up and realize is that the county has already grown and is still growing. The question is not to figure out how to return to yesterday. The question is to figure out how to deal with out problems today. Many of you falsely believe that interstate highways create traffic congestion. This is a bizarrely ignorant belief as we currently HAVE traffic congestion and HAVE NO interstate highway. You need to realize that interstates are good. Interstates do not create congestion, they alleviate congestion.

The only thing that would make the Southern Loop better is if the section of Alcoa Highway from Pellissippi Parkway to I-275 north in Knoxville was turned into an interstate highway as well.

It would be nice if you so-called progressives actually embraced progress.

Lester

Nuts: Pot calling kettle black?

Been to Atlanta lately, Lester?

And did you see how well their loops and tollways solved their traffic problems, or were you passing through at 3 a.m.?

If memory serves, there are something like 20,000 property owners in the path of the Southern Loop. Progress would be to institute a master plan for this community that would help us match infrastructure to growth, not to hack and dig a freeway through the outer reaches of the county to facilitate harry carry development that benefits noone but the developer.

And what is this plan?

The population of the metropolitan Atlanta area is greater that 5.1 million; over 40 times greater than the population of Blount County. I would hardly referrer to this as a just comparison.

The notion that we should not solve our traffic problems because a lot of people live in Atlanta is insane.

Lester

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

The question is not to figure out how to return to yesterday. The question is to figure out how to deal with out problems today.

How about dealing with tomorrow's problems today. That way we wouldn't be putting off tomorrow for today would we? That would meet the definition of progressive, I think.

I remember when the L. Alexander Pkwy was going to free up so many bottlenecks across town. Didn't happen. Way back when the so-called 129 bypass was going to allow quicker access to Knoxville from West Maryville, worked for a little while.

What followed these plans was commercial development, more intersections to allow access = more traffic lights to create more bottlenecks.

I'm not implying that the commercialization of 411 South will do anything like that. I fully expect it to.

The cities and the county need to do a better job TODAY of managing the traffic flow into, across, and out of the cities. Underpasses and overpasses to create primary routes through the cities incorporating the existing infrastructure would alleviate a majority of the headaches of today, tomorrow!

Interstate Lovers

"The guy who said “why build more roads when fewer people are driving” is a moron."

Yay! I've reached the level of Moron!! Progress is progressive only if you lay more asphalt. Hmmmm. Nice concept. So is it progressive to put up more Gasoline Stations so more folks can buy more Gasoline, that they cannot afford? A lot of local Restaurants are minimizing now, for lack of folks going there. When given the choice of paying for Fuel, to get to work, versus Eating Out, which would a Progressive choose?

viva Evo Morales

Solutions?

Then what do you do? Do you pass a law denying any new businesses the ability to open up on 411S from the current city limits to the county line? Is this “freedom?”

You say, “The cities and the county need to do a better job TODAY of managing the traffic flow into, across, and out of the cities.” Could you be a little more vague? How do you get this done? How do you manage more traffic, more often without building better roads?

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying, and no offense to that yokel guy but no one who complains about the Pellissippi expansion project and the infamous Southern Loop offers any solutions to the real problem of traffic congestion. Don’t just be critical, offer solutions. Such vague terms like controlling infrastructure growth and commercialization are big words and make you sound like you know what you are talking about but it doesn’t speak to the problem.

You people don’t want the Pellissippi expansion or the Southern Loop. Fine. But, at the same time, you will not offer any solutions to the problem. It is a fact that the Pellissippi expansion and the Southern Loop will fix current traffic problems and, if designed properly, will fix traffic problems into the future. The reason you do not support these two plans is because you do not believe they will be a permanent solution. Therefore, you are willing to do nothing now. What is frustrating to me is you cannot see just how insane that position really is.

We have a traffic congestion problem in Maryville and Alcoa. The only thing that solve traffic congestion problems is less traffic. A southern loop would take cars out of the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and put them on a freeway traveling around them. Thus, congestion in Maryville and Alcoa is reduced. It’s not rocket science.

You don’t want the southern loop. So what do you do? More traffic lights? Contrary to popular beliefs, stopping traffic does not help the flow. I have never arrived at where I was going quicker because I stopped more often.

You’ve got to deal with the traffic problem. Asking people to stay home is simply not an option.

Lester

We have a traffic congestion

We have a traffic congestion problem in Maryville and Alcoa.

Really? Where?

Seems to me like what we have is speeding, inconsiderate drivers, and expand at all cost government. I agree we don't need more traffic lights that make gas hogs sit and idle and waste gas and pollute the atmosphere. What we need is fewer cars, maybe some public transportation of some kind, and maybe some better designed existing roads. Alcoa Highway is a mess because it wants to be both a major throughway but still run through a commercial strip mall parking lot. Can't have it both ways. But frontage roads and roundabouts and other solutions could be found.

The only thing that solve traffic congestion problems is less traffic. A southern loop would take cars out of the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and put them on a freeway traveling around them. Thus, congestion in Maryville and Alcoa is reduced. It’s not rocket science.

Where are all these people going who need to travel around Maryville and Alcoa? Do they not know about I75 over there?

Anyway, the real solution that you and most other folks don't want to hear is to slow down growth. Maybe even stop it. Maybe even reverse it. What's so bad about that? Now that I'm here, of course.

Please don't run for office.

You apparently don’t have to be to work in Knoxville at 8 am. Good for you. The rest of us working stiffs do and we know precisely where the congestion is.

“Where are all these people going who need to travel around Maryville and Alcoa? Do they not know about I75 over there?” – So instead of coming up through Maryville, I should cut across to Lenoir City and come up I-75? What a brilliant solution: drive 25 miles out of the way.

“Anyway, the real solution that you and most other folks don't want to hear is to slow down growth. Maybe even stop it. Maybe even reverse it. What's so bad about that? Now that I'm here, of course.” – And that is why I vote and will do everything in my power to keep people like you out of office.

Lester

Don't worry. I won't be

Don't worry. I won't be running for office.

You apparently don’t have

You apparently don’t have to be to work in Knoxville at 8 am. Good for you. The rest of us working stiffs do and we know precisely where the congestion is.

Allow me to suggest you move to Knoxville if it is such a freaking problem.

And that is why I vote and will do everything in my power to keep people like you out of office.

Allow me to congratulate you on the lovely wins you all pulled last election.

Allow me to also wish you a fast and safe trip back to the land of freeping.

The notion that we should

The notion that we should "solve" our "traffic problems" the same way Atlanta (and Jacksonville and Dothan, Alabama) tried to and failed is the kind of failure of imagination and thinking that too often characterizes how Blount County does things. Once there is a beltway around Maryville and Alcoa, the circle will fill in and then the same people who thought the first one was a good idea (phinney and the people who made money building the road and all the houses) will say we need another one. Meanwhile, the characteristics that make BC attractive and, so far, not entirely "developed," are paved and built over.

The real issue is what kind of a county do we want to be? Bedroom for Oak Ridge? Three Wal-marts? Why not four? Higher property taxes and even more overcrowded schools? Even most of the people who favor the PPE agree that those will be consequences of the PPE and Southern loop but many do not really mind, since there is money to be made and five minutes travel to be saved from Townsend to Knoxville.

If one thinks "progress" looks like what has happened at and near the exits off the Pellissippi in Knox County (Westland, Northshore) and likes that kind of use of land, then I guess one would want that for us. Motion and development are not necessarily "progress," though. Why should we let TDOT and the Chamber of Commerce define what "progress" is? Why should we mess up a quarter of the county so some people can get to Knoxville slightly quicker?

Let's solve what traffic problems we have by focusing on where those problems are. East Broadway too slow? Make center turn lanes and fix the Wildwood Road/Lincoln/Broadway mess. Sevierville Road dangerous? Make shoulders and turn lanes. Hitch Road too slow? Straighten it out. Smart people have already and for years known where the problems are and no one wants to spend local money to fix them. So we leave them and use state and federal money (where do you think THAT comes from?) to build an interstate that will just make those problems more frustrating while making NE BC just like the areas down South near, you guessed it, the new Wal-Mart.

We do not have to become what many of us are here to avoid.

If people want to or must

If people want to or must spend all day working in Knoxville, they could move there. There is nothing in the Blount County Policies Plan that says BC strives or wants to be a bedroom community for Knoxville.

phinney claims that: "It is a fact that the Pellissippi expansion...will fix current traffic problems." That is absurd. There is no data that building a north-south road will deal with east-west traffic problems. It is not Washington St. - Hall Road that is the problem in Maryville and Alcoa. Rather, it is east-west routes SR 33 (Broadway and Sevierville Rd.). Hunter Interests growth strategy for Maryville made several sensible recommendations for dealing with east-west congestion by using streets and roads that already exist to make circular traffic flow. People who say "nobody has other ideas than the PPE" are incorrect; check out the Hunter recommendations. Lots of people at the TDOT public meeting also offered alternatives.

TDOT itself recently changed the split where Alcoa Hiway and the 129 By-Pass split by shifting the two lane option from the Hall Rd. side to the 129 side, accurately reflecting their own study that most of the Alcoa Highway traffic southbound is going to the Wal-Marts and west BC, not through Alcoa and Maryville toward the hospital.

I'll live where I please, thank you.

So all the people who work in Knoxville should move there? Some of you guys are arguing like college kids. Your intentions are good; you’re just not well informed.

What I actually said was that the Pellissippi expansion along with the Southern Loop (southern loop is the key) would alleviate traffic congestion. If the majority of traffic inside Maryville/Alcoa is just passing by then clearly having it travel around the cities instead of through the cities would eliminate the congestion inside the cities. It’s not rocket science.

I would hardly classify as significant the addition of an exit lane on 129S. Now we can get to the red light in front of the Wal-mart faster. What joy.

What, specifically, about the “Hunter recommendations” make any sense? Keep in mind that utilizing existing streets to make circular traffic flow does not work if traffic still has to stop. Many cannot grasp the simple concept that stopping traffic does not increase the flow.

Lester

Phinney

Good Golly, Lester, did your mama never tell you that you could catch more flies with honey than vinegar? You've called us all "insane" at least ten times.

You maintain the right to live where you please, sure. We all recognize that. But in exchange, I want you to tell me why your need for a faster, smoother commute to Knoxville trumps the right of thousands of other Blount Countians who live in the path of the Southern Loop to choose where THEY live. Or even the hundreds of folks in the path of the Pellissippi Parkway Extension.

You obviously care nothing about the fact that your choices deny other tax paying citizens of their choices.

Are you an elitist who believes everyone else should bow and scrape and give up their rights for your convenience? It sure sounds like it.

When you choose to live in a different town than you work in, you choose the commute. You can't expect the rest of us to gaily sacrifice our family farms, homes, and history to accommodate you.

Well said.

Well said.

When we were looking to move to Blount County, we looked in a community off of Sevierville Pike around Davis Ford (I think). We did not move there for several reasons, two of which include the fact the existing roads are so dangerous (skinny, curvy back roads) and it would be ten or so years before PPE would be complete and we did not want to be one of those people pushing for its completion.

Another reason was, I choose to not be that far from a grocer, dry cleaner, restaurants, office supply, etc. Someday maybe, not today.

What I actually said was

What I actually said was that people who live in BC and work in Knoxville COULD, not SHOULD, move.

The point about Hall Road was not to celebrate an exit lane but to say that the change reflected the fact that the traffic is going toward Wal-Mart(s), not Townsend. The "congestion" that seems to annoy a lot of people will not be addressed by the PPE. And according to TDOT, the levels of service on existing roads will NOT be significantly improved by the PPE.

What "congestion," exactly, within Alcoa and Maryville are you referring to, phinney?

Phinney

In Knoxville they built I-640, I-140, added four lanes to; Middlebrook Pike, Peters Rd, Ceder Bluff, Lovell Rd, Campbell Station, and others. Ask anyone living in southwest Knoxville if the traffic has improved. Development started as soon as the roads were planned. The Halls Crossroads area exploded as soon as 640 was opened.

When the new loop is planned, development will be there ahead of the road, and only because of the planned road. Your new road will be a traffic jam just like Knoxville, since folks from Knoxville will move to Blount County just to get out of the rat race. Can you name any road in this area that was built to relieve traffic that never had development and traffic jams within three years.

You asked for solutions, so here is mine. With oil at $95.00 a barrel, we need to plan ahead for expanding our public transportation system. If the state gasoline tax was increased by fifty cents a gallon and used strictly for public transportation, we could quickly provide a reliable and fast system. I've used public transportation in metro areas that have a good system, and it worked better than driving.

If you want a new high speed road to commute, try moving to Montana where you can drive 100 mph during rush hour. Otherwise get use to traffic, no matter how many roads you build.

Alcoa Highway Bypass

The status of the Alcoa Highway By-Pass was mentioned on WVLT news tonight: ((link...)). Spurred, no doubt by the recent spate of deaths there.

They also got a quote from Senator Finney stating that we are "back to square 1" on the Pellissippi Parkway Extension.

Interesting.

The status of the Alcoa

The status of the Alcoa Highway By-Pass was mentioned on WVLT news tonight:

Thanks for the info. I guess I'll send a note to Mark Johnson, the highway commissioner, and the governor. I will be fighting this all the way.

Bill Dunlap, the Blount Co. Highway superintendent says, "all the businesses that has sprung up along the route of Alcoa Highway, the crossovers, it's an accident waiting to happen."

Gee. Who let that happen? Although, many of these business have been there quite some time. Traffic has increased and drivers are less capable. Be careful out there.

Hey Bizgrrl: What do you

Hey Bizgrrl:

What do you propose be done about whatever it is that makes Alcoa Hiway a risky place? If it is unsafe now and the bypass idea is not a good one, what are you advocating? Most of the southbound thru traffic that passes the airport, according to TDOT's traffic studies, is going down the 129 by-pass toward the Wal-Marts (and not thru Alcoa toward Townsend).

The story on Channel 8 seems

The story on Channel 8 seems to have prompted Joel Davis of the DT to do a story on the Pellissippi. (link...)

As you may remember, TDOT in October had a work session seeking input about the "purpose and need" for the PPE. It was at that meeting that TDOT acknowledged that its traffic projections did not predict any meaningful improvement in traffic flow if the PPE were built. TDOT also acknowledged that it did not know what the costs to Blount County would be of the substantial residential development that will follow construction.

Now TDOT seems to think that local officials can tell TDOT what those costs will be. Except the law that requires the Environmental Impact Statement says that the EIS is supposed to provide that information.

TDOT now wants the same people who want the PPE to reveal its costs? In theory, the point of an EIS is for there to be an independent and scientific examination of the impacts of a project. So TDOT now wants Mark Johnson and Greg McClain and Jerry Cunningham to tell them what the costs will be?

Goes to show us, again, that this process is about how the local politicians and their friends at the Chamber of Commerce can skip over any serious consideration of the purpose and need for a highway project and avoid serious analysis of the costs and consequences of highway construction.

People opposed to the Alcoa Bypass should take notice: opposing these people takes time, money, and lots of work and "I'll fight this" rhetoric will get you nowhere.

Remember

Remember that the Transportation Committee of the Chamber of Commerce pushed for the PPE and the Southern Loop. By the way, don't they (the chamber) receive money from the county to operate? Is it kosher to lobby the gov't that funds you?

Also, I think some of our elected officials are members of that same Chamber of Commerce and guess who pays for their membership so they can go lobby to themselves?? You and I do.

Senator Finney's

Senator Finney's understanding of transportation policy matters has never been informed by much accurate information. That does not really distinguish him from the other local politicians, except for Tom Taylor of the Maryville City Council, who actually knows what an Environmental Impact Statement is and who thinks politicians should have information before they make decisions.

Tom Taylor

Tom is an exceptional public servant!

Alcoa Hwy

They should focus more time and attention to improving Alcoa Hwy than created and developing a by-pass. wouldn't those businesses along the motor mile loose business if traffic is deferred onto a proposed by-pass?
Besides one never knows, an Alegent air pilot may try to land on one of the two highways runway 23R or 05L.

What is out there?

No, really. The last time I went shopping on Alcoa Highway we ate dinner at the family style log cabin restaurant and shopped at the ALCOA outlet shop and then I think we stopped at a health food store. That was in um... 1981 I think.

What is out there that would draw shoppers other than the auto dealerships? Burger joints so folks can get a bite to eat before they drop someone off at the airport?

You are right to some

You are right to some extent, there is no "shopping" except for car dealers and mobile homes, until you get to Green Acres flea market. There are restaurants, Ruby Tuesday, Appleby's, El Sazon, Shoney's, Chinese, etc. in addition to the fast food places. There are 4 or more gas stations. There are banks. There are 5 or more hotels. There are medical offices just a block or so from the highway. This is in addition to the many people who turn left going South at Cusick and Wright to get home (they could use Hunt Road or Pellissippi instead).

Just curious....

How many Banks are too many?

How ever many we have

How ever many we have already.

How many walmarts are too many?

The banking question really is a good one. I have never lived anyplace that there were so many banks in one area. I swear, we have the two closest WalMartSCs in the country and I think we have more banks per capita than any place else in the US. How could we confirm this?

In a slowdown, how do they function?

There are several “new” banks I pass frequently and I rarely ever see customers at them. If they are not being supported by the general population, where is the money to keep them open coming from?

Bad place to put a business

I seriously don't do ANY business on Alcoa Highway, except we do use the airport and the service department at a car dealership once in a blue moon. It really is too dangerous. I take back roads and come out on Singleton Station, just before the Montessori School and the Flea Market to get to Knoxville. A long time ago, we used the Montessori School and decided to quit before we got killed getting on and off the highway there.

I would never eat anywhere along there, unless the restaurant was on the side of the road I was at that moment driving on.

I think there should be frontage roads with limited access on and off the highway -- definitely some stop lights at those.

I'm no engineer, but it would take that to get me to do business there.

yellowdog: What do you

yellowdog: What do you propose be done about whatever it is that makes Alcoa Hiway a risky place?

As said before, widen Alcoa Highway and make it look more like a boulevard (i.e. beautify), build frontage roads and turn lanes, fewer access points, improve dangerous intersections, roundabouts (rotaries) and install traffic signals.

They are proposing to spend $100 million to by-pass approx. 2 miles of Alcoa Hwy. Ridiculous. The by-pass would dump out on the 129 by-pass and come to a screeching halt at the Louisville Road (Wal-Mart) traffic light. Ridiculous.

commissionerwalker: How many Banks are too many?

There are never enough banks. And, actually, referring to my previous comment, I am only aware of one bank along this stretch of Alcoa Hwy.

Dumping Ground: If they are not being supported by the general population, where is the money to keep them open coming from?

Private investors fund banks. There is a minimum they must raise to open a bank. Many new banks depend on commercial depositors at the beginning while building name recognition.

another bank, where?

There are a lot of banks, there are also a lot of mexican resturants and gas stations. too many is what we have now.
as far as the by-pass goes from what I heard it's suppose to end somewhere south of Hunt Road near the split perhaps even into the south plant property which should be commerical by then.

We can never have enough

We can never have enough Mexican restaurants!

I only count 6 Mexican

I only count 6 Mexican restaurants; Los Amigos, Cancuns, Margaritas, El Sazon, The one at Brown's Creek and Pancho's. The real Mexican restaurant is La Lupita but mostly Hispanics eat there with the exceptation of a few Americans who come in with their employees or co-workers. Like me, today at lunch. Beefsteak tacos con queso...mmmmm.

La Lupita

I'll second La Lupita. Real meat and real sugar in the sodas. Not the greasy byproduct and high fructose corn syrup others serve. Go check out the new renovations. A warm smile and a hola amigo(a) will result in good service.

I recommend the spicy pork or beef burrito. Muy bueno!

There are a lot of banks,

There are a lot of banks, there are also a lot of mexican resturants and gas stations. too many is what we have now.

I only count 6 Mexican restaurants; Los Amigos, Cancuns, Margaritas, El Sazon,

I thought we were talking about an approx. 2 mile stretch of Alcoa Hwy and the possible by-pass.

Left Turns on Alcoa Hwy

Another By-Pass will give us more Left turns which will in turn give us more traffic fatalities, which will again in turn create more traffic jams. Circular. Diversify your transportation, and the congestion fixes itself. Round-a-bouts save fuel.

viva Evo Morales

Round-a-bouts save

Round-a-bouts save fuel.

After our visit to New England, where roundabouts are everywhere (they call them "rotaries" up there), I'm for eliminating traffic signals, etc. and putting roundabouts everywhere. They really do work great, with a minimum disruption of traffic flow and no wasteful idling. Plus they tend to slow things down to a more safe and sane pace where it's needed.

YES!

I grew up with those round-a-bouts. Once we get them, then we can commission out of work artists to create lovely sculptures for the middle of each of these.

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

(link...)

Getting back on the subject

A LTTE in todays DT as the paper plays make up with the local good ol boys
(link...)

Improving the existing Alcoa Highway

I believe TDOT said it would cost $50 million to make the two-mile strectch of Alcoa Highway a limited access highway and $100 million to build a new by-pass. Pretty fiscally responsible eh? Alcoa Highway should be limited access with on or two exits and access roads that serve each exit. Parts of the access road are already there. I remember one "concern" was walls would need to be built for the overpasses for the exits and it would block people's view of the existing businesses.

Bizgrrrrrl, I'm with you 100% in fighting this by-pass. In the scoping meeting awhile ago improving the existing Alcoa Highway was not even considered.

two words for ya: CAR POOL

The proposed loop runs right through my house-literally-I am not sure how old this loop plan is but there are ALOT of houses now in the area they want to plow through-if they went out a few more miles-they would save alot of folks from losing their homes. I am assuming this is pretty old because our subdivision -which is 10 + years old-is not even on here(nor the road it is on)

Whoever posted the census stats-an increase of 22,000 in 17 yrs is not that remarkable compared to many other TN counties-Rutherford County has seen an increase of over 25% population from 2000 to 2006! (link...) 115,000 in a county this size is not overpopulated. The traffic-yes, it has increased-but even at rush hour we do not experience the wrecks, the delays and the snarls that other cities have. Seems like alot of hulaballoo about it taking you 5 minutes longer to get to your destination now than 10 yrs ago. Yes, sometimes traffic is backed up-but ever drive on a CA freeway? Atlanta? DC? Nashville? Practically anywhere in the Northeast? I mean, come on, those people would have a good laugh at the talk of traffic in this county. I wonder if these folks complaining of traffic snarls have ever driven outside of Tennessee.

We moved here-instead of Knoxville-where my husband works-because we wanted a quieter, more small town place to live.

I would like to see TDOT spend some funds on improving existing routes (widening Alcoa HWY-controlled access anyone?), improving back roads (so many of them are so narrow-that 2 cars can barely pass) than spending 100's of millions on making us a subdivision of Knoxville. All these "connections" to Knox county will = more people moving here= more traffic. It's cyclical.

Alcoa HWY is dangerous-period. Something needs to be done about it-so the business owners would have biz interupted for a bit to fix it? SO WHAT-tell that to a parent who had a child die in a wreck on that road. My husband calls it "I'LL-KILL-YA" Highway. Sad, but true.

As far as any light rail system here-come on-cities like Chattanooga, Nashville, Knoxville do not have passenger rail service-you think we would get something like that here? Seattle is finishing work on their elevated public rail system-SEATTLE. This is Blount County. I would like to see at least some busses-some type of public transportation. Heck, I'd ride it if they had it.

$0.02 per ton-mile

"As far as any light rail system here-come on"

My Dad used to ride the Passenger Train from Madisonville to Maryville every other weekend to come visit his cousin. We HAD Passenger Service here. I watched in agony in the 70's as they tore up the Friendsville Line. The Spend-All-Want-for-Nothing days of the 50's, 60's, and 70's helped destroy our Passenger Rail Service. Go to Mentor Road, behind the Airbase. The Old Passenger Depot Foundation is still there. It COULD be done. As described above, the current equations don't allow Federal Aid for a County our size. Passenger Rail WILL come back, it's just, as Michael Dukakis (for those of you old enough to remember him) said, it's too bad we don't spend on it now, because when we wait until we're forced to spend on it--it'll cost twice the price. Just Logic. I guess it doesn't pay to think too far in advance, because folks write you off as a lunatic, but the Passenger Airline industry is on its last legs, and without an alternative, this country starts getting a lot bigger. Seen any Aircraft runnin' off Bio-Diesel, Ethanol, Electricity, or Hydrogen lately?

viva Evo Morales

I would like to see TDOT

I would like to see TDOT spend some funds on improving existing routes (widening Alcoa HWY-controlled access anyone?), improving back roads (so many of them are so narrow-that 2 cars can barely pass) than spending 100's of millions on making us a subdivision of Knoxville.

Thanks, shutterbutter. I hope you're with us when we start the project to convince local government as well as state government the suggested "loop/bypass" is a ridiculous idea.

A simple question

Let me ask a simple question. Why is this project not put to a vote in Blount County? If the citizens want this road then lets do it. If not then scrap the idea. Why are these type projects not voted on? By the way, I have never heard anyone say they wanted this road.

Bizgrrl Definitely-really, I

Bizgrrl

Definitely-really, I cannot understand the thinking behind this not already being done. It is a heavily traveled route w/ no controlled access-it is dangerous, but yet we want to pour money into a road to make it easier for tourists to get to the other side of the county.

Re: rail system

Beyondleft-I am NOT opposed to public transportation or a rail system(in fact I would love to see more pub transport all over the country!) but the thought money would be spent on this here, in a county of less than 150K when metro areas like Nashville do not have one, is dreaming. I think energy could be better spent fixing some of the things we have a chance of fixing.

Why is this project not put

Why is this project not put to a vote in Blount County?

There is something to be said for your suggestion. I disagree, though. Sometimes majorities do not vote for what is best for minorities and get their way. There are only 8,000 thousand or so people in Alcoa. This massive loop/bypass affects this small town. I do not think others in Blount County will care how much it negatively affects Alcoa. People in Blount County/Maryville/etc. (not Alcoa) just want to get through. You can tell this now by how they drive on Alcoa Hwy. They don't care about the "locals".

Bizgrrl I think you have a

Bizgrrl I think you have a good point about referenda on roads. Just as most Blount Countians may not care what the effects are of the Alcoa Bypass on Alcoa, many Blount Countians could care less what the effect is of the Pellissippi on the northeast quadrant of the county. It is similar to how the "leaders" of the cities of Maryville and Alcoa advocate the Pellissippi, which will screw up the county, not either city.

screw up the county???

you people really crack me up with your left wing omg PP stuff.

What, you don't think it would screw up the county??

Johnnyo, you must work for the Chamber of Commerce: (link...)

I think it is pretty incredible that Tutt Bradford believes the future of the county should lie in THEIR hands. Talk about a Special Interest Group...

No I don't

Just more pavement for me to ride my Harley on.
No I don't work for the Chamber of Commerce but your close...

Whoa Johnny. I've been on a

Whoa Johnny. I've been on a Harley in my time too and I want to ride some curves and see some scenery not just glide by McDonalds and BP stations. The Southern Loop would run through some of Blount County's prettiest areas. The connection to 321 will bring more tourists to Townsand, paving the way for a new Pigeon Forge. Is that what you want for Blount County?

employed by..............

Don't use your when it calls for you're

(link...)

hate changing gears

then for than always bothered me as well. Incentative for incentive has made its way into the Corporate Media--watch for it on Television, it happens quite frequently.

viva Evo Morales

Mc D's and BP's...

Riding interstate highways isn't my cup of tea anyway. When I ride I try to get out on the rough one and a half lane backroads to get away from traffic and all the a hole drivers in town. No of course I don't want to see Townsend Forge happen no more than the rest of us. But growth will happen new families are merging everyday into Blount County. We are growning pretty darn fast. I think Townsend can control itself pretty well. Taking PP to 321 will not automatically flip the switch to all the lights and other junk that PF has in Townsend. "southern loop" old news.

Johnnyo: Who suggested that

Johnnyo: Who suggested that any single act would "flip a switch?" The point some of are making is that it is exactly the incremental consequences of a series of acts that is encouraging the process you accept as inevitable. It is true that the plan for a Southern Loop is old news, but it is still in the plans of the Pavers. As FarmerJohn pointed out, the very "old news" story you found for us makes exactly the point that the Pavers understand that they must work one act at a time to get the whole deal done. What is so hard to see about this? Which parts do you not believe?

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