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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Proposed Concord Road (SR-332) Project

The Farragut Press Enterprise is reporting that the proposal to widen Concord Rd (west end of SR-332) from Turkey Creek Rd to Northshore Dr is running into opposition. The road would go from two lanes to five, with bike lanes and a sidewalk on one side of the street. A asphalt greenway would line the other side. Opponents of the project have raised objections over the amount of land (and a home) that would have to be taken. In addition, there is the argument that development in the area has come to a standstill, and that the widened road would end at two lane Northshore Dr, which is arguably a busier road.

The west (actually north) end of the proposed project (going beyond Turkey Creek Rd) has previously been widened to include sidewalks on both sides, but no bike lanes, and has a 40 mph speed limit. The stretch in question currently has a 30 mph speed limit, but has no sidewalks, bikelanes, or parallel greenways. Many drivers exceed the 30 mph limit there. Certainly sidewalks would provide a means for people living in the area to more readily walk to the rest of town, including other neighborhoods, Kroger Marketplace, The Little Gym, and beyond. The bike lanes unfortunately would not extend past Turkey Creek Rd, although the road itself is actually quite ride friendly due to the presence of two lanes on each side.

Would going from two lanes to five (with probable higher speeds) be better or worse for cyclists? As previously mentioned, sidewalks would benefit pedestrians. Long term plans call for a greenway paralleling Northshore Dr to improve connectivity throughout the area. In this era of tightened budgets, could improvements short of going to five lanes be made that would not be so expensive and potentially disruptive?

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