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nativetenn

Knoxville Transit Thread

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While proponents of light rail in my hometown of Nashville scramble to develop another plan, I have decided to have a little fun with my imagination.

Before I begin, keep in mind that this is NOT a serious proposal. However, I welcome any comments, concerns, and criticism. (Or laughs, because it's ridiculous and virtually impossible to implement this plan.)

 

What I've sketched below (credits to Google Maps and MS Paint) is my imagination of what commuter rail in Knoxville would look like. This assumes all of the following happen in the future:

1) The University of Tennessee swells to a total of 50,000 undergraduates, postgraduates, and faculty. There is now a huge influx of commuters to campus and major increase in student residential complexes in South Knoxville. Knoxville's roadways south of the river are swelled with traffic, causing morning commutes to last 30 minutes or longer.

2) Viable demand for unhindered transit among the middle income demographic residing in urban neighborhoods (South Knoxville, Old Sevier, Mechanicsville, etc.)

3) Knoxville's CITY population experiences unprecedented growth over the next two decades (this does not pertain to Farragut, Maryville, or any suburbs in the Knoxville MSA). Knoxville's current population is approximately 190,000. For this to be slightly reasonable, Knoxville needs 250,000 to 300,000 residents.

4) Gas prices skyrocket and outpace fuel efficiency, creating public demand for mass transit. Currently, it is most convenient for Knoxvillians to commute privately. Being a low to middle-income city, these attitudes would change if gas prices increased to $4.00/gal or more in today's dollars.

5) Businesses and neighborhoods are willing to allow light rail lines in their districts. Progressives outnubmer NIMBYS in the wealthy neighbohoods (e.g. Seqouyah Hills)

6) Existing rail lines, including those crossing the Tennessee River on bridges, are able to be rehabilitated/converted into commuter rail while not interfering with commercial rail.

7) Technology that could solve traffic is far from production, and other means of reducing congestion on roadways are more expensive than funding commuter rail. Roads are unable to expand without harming businesses and blocking off residential driveways.

8) The City of Knoxville has managed its money well, downtown is vibrant and thriving, talented young people have been the primary factor for growth, and businesses are moving in. In essence, people are happy with the condition of their local government, and have faith in its efforts to improve their quality of life.

 

9) All of these events are reality by the year, give or take, 2040, and the funding for this project will not burden taxpayers.

 

Lastly, here's an article from last month (Apr '18). Turns out I'm not the first to play around with the idea of light rail, and a lot of Knoxvillians like the idea.

https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/local/2018/04/10/knoxville-legislators-pushing-rail-transit-downtown/499543002/

 

 

whynotlightrailforLOLZ.thumb.png.bfc11393027298bf5d85ba4e2121407b.png

 (Credits to Google Maps and Microsoft Paint)

 

Edited by nativetenn
grammatical errors
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saw your post on the Nashville page,  here are my recommendations.

Ditch the weird hook at the eastern end of Red.

Extend blue (most people don't know magenta) east along  Cumberland through downtown, than follow Howard Baker then MLK to somewhere around Spruce St, then dog leg over to Magnolia at least to Chihowee Park.

then extend purple(most people don't know magenta) north  via Cumberland then north on Gay,  the dog leg over to Broadway north of the old City.  Follow Broadway past Murder Kroger to about Chickamauga Ave. 

Green and orange don't do much, the entire section of green south of the river would not have enough riders to justify the cost. but the south part of Orange might, if instead of a loop it extended a little further down Chapman Highway.  have it cross the Henley Bridge, which I believe after the rebuild a few years ago can accommodate light rail. then east on Cumberland to maybe 20th .    if you must go into the fort, take 20th up and over the hill to get all the apartments on the far side.

you were right moving purple away from sequoia hills, those people would not allow anything.  but you cannot follow the railroad tracks.  you need to follow Southerland instead.

keep in mind that you cannot put light rail on Heavy rail lines.  so all of the freight lines are off limits, no matter how little used they are.   even not being serious, keep it feasible, that way, you never know, it might become serious. 

when I last lived in Knoxville 7 years ago I made a map myself. but I don't know what hard drive it is saved on. if I can find it I'll share. 

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7 hours ago, volsfanwill said:

saw your post on the Nashville page,  here are my recommendations.

Ditch the weird hook at the eastern end of Red.

Extend blue (most people don't know magenta) east along  Cumberland through downtown, than follow Howard Baker then MLK to somewhere around Spruce St, then dog leg over to Magnolia at least to Chihowee Park.

then extend purple(most people don't know magenta) north  via Cumberland then north on Gay,  the dog leg over to Broadway north of the old City.  Follow Broadway past Murder Kroger to about Chickamauga Ave. 

Green and orange don't do much, the entire section of green south of the river would not have enough riders to justify the cost. but the south part of Orange might, if instead of a loop it extended a little further down Chapman Highway.  have it cross the Henley Bridge, which I believe after the rebuild a few years ago can accommodate light rail. then east on Cumberland to maybe 20th .    if you must go into the fort, take 20th up and over the hill to get all the apartments on the far side.

you were right moving purple away from sequoia hills, those people would not allow anything.  but you cannot follow the railroad tracks.  you need to follow Southerland instead.

keep in mind that you cannot put light rail on Heavy rail lines.  so all of the freight lines are off limits, no matter how little used they are.   even not being serious, keep it feasible, that way, you never know, it might become serious. 

when I last lived in Knoxville 7 years ago I made a map myself. but I don't know what hard drive it is saved on. if I can find it I'll share. 

My rationale behind the line on Cherokee Trail is the explosion of student living communities in that area and a potential market for riders during the day and at night. But I agree- even if UT continues to grow, that area can't fit in much more development and thus the demand won't be prominent. Also, the terrain on that road is especially difficult to build ANYTHING on. It's scary enough to drive on Cherokee after dark, much less to attempt to build light rail up those steep inclines. I should ditch the Green, or at least modify it.

My concern about carving a light rail through Ft. Sanders is that it is already so condensed, but I guess it could be done. Forget about 17th, because that is way too steep of an incline. But I agree with you that something could be done on 20th because it is wide enough. I suppose if I want to imagine the Strip being converted almost exclusively into light rail, then it isn't far-fetched to have a line going through the Fort.

Also, thank you for the tip about heavy rail/ light rail lines. I know very little about train infrastructure and would love to learn more.

 

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