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Everett Road improvement discussion held


Everett Road residents and concerned citizens of Farragut came together to voice opinions regarding the Town’s proposed improvements to Everett Road in a public hearing held Thursday, Nov. 1, at Town Hall.

After assuring the audience the plans were not “set in stone,” Town engineer Darryl Smith requested members of the audience use the comment cards provided in their packets to voice their opinion rather than have an open forum debate. Smith then turned the meeting over to Robert Campbell, of Robert G Campbell & Associates, the

design engineers for the project, to detail the

proposal.

“The task that we were given was basically to come up with plans for the widening of Everett Road, two 12-foot lanes, curb and gutter, with some sort of bike/pedestrian access on either side,” he said.

In a memo given to the audience, Smith said. “The typical section for the improvement will consist of two 12-foot lanes, 2-1/2 foot curb and guttered section, a 3-foot grass strip, an 8-foot asphalt trail and another 1-1/2 foot grass strip outside the trail.”

The map included with the memo depicted the asphalt trail on grass strips on both sides of the road.

The main concern of residents seemed to be the width of the road, especially the added footage for bicycle trails.

Kay Turner, an Everett Road property owner, said, “We do not have a problem with widening the road. We do have a problem with putting a bicycle path and sidewalk on both sides of the road, and it is our property you are taking to do this with.

“Everett Road does need to be widened. We need a sidewalk, but I think down one side of the road, which has been done many other places in Farragut, would be excellent. I do have a problem with the bicycle path, because I can tell you, the bicyclists are just going to have a wider road and they are going to ride right down the middle of the road anyway, usually two or three abreast, and it is going to be a big waste of money.”

Clark Gross, a Town resident and bicyclist, agreed with Turner that bicyclists would not use the bike path.

“[Bicyclists] have rights to the road just as cars do,” he said.

“I see the two eight-foot pedestrian and bike trails as overkill. When I cycle, I am on the road because that is what the law allows me and I will never get on a sidewalk. To me, adding three feet to each side of the lane in addition to the expansion is fine and leaving one sidewalk for pedestrians. Common sense tells me that there is no sense in having the pathway on each side,” he said.

Smith said, “I sit on the board of the technical committee for the metropolitan planning organization and one of our initiatives is the promotion of accommodations for bicyclists. I think just about any projects funded through the MPO have accommodations for bicyclists. This is not being funded through the MPO, but w do want to promote that.”

Harry Tucker, an Everett Road resident, said he was concerned with the width in respect to the impact on ecology.

“There has been no talk about environment and green space. Widening [the road] from 16-feet to 54-feet is going to take out a lot of existing evergreens,” he said.

Tucker asked for a concession in decreasing the proposed width of the project so the green space would not be as affected.

“I thought that was what Farragut was all about,” he added.

Smith said, “That is certainly important to us, but we are required to have certain standards in our roadway widths.”

“But you are not required to have two eight-foot walkways,” Turner said.

Maureen Levitt, an affected resident, asked about the possibility of reaching some type of compromise and what the actual decision-making process would entail.

Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III asked Smith if he could address the issues of the decision making process.

Your comments are extremely valuable and your comments will be collected and passed on to the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission. The planning commission has the prerogative to consider it at one meeting, a subsequent meeting, or any number of subsequent meetings. They, in turn, will make a recommendation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Darrell’s job is to submit to the planning commission a design based on the standards that are passed. He also has a responsibility to incorporate you comments in such a way that he might feel that those can be worked into a design of the road that, as an engineer, he feels he can support, or he may decide to stick with the standards as they exist in the town. That is his prerogative as a staff member. It is then the job of the planning commissions to consider all that input and make a recommendation to the Board of mayor and Aldermen. The [FMPC] is open forum, you are all welcome to come and you will have the same information that the planning commission had before it,” the mayor said.

Ford added the final decision on the project rests with the FBMA and secured a commitment from associate town administrator Gary Palmer to have the issue on the agenda for the Thursday, Dec. 20 meeting of FMPC.

Smith again encouraged concerned citizens to use the comment card provided in order to have their opinions on record, and assured them they would get a written response to each comment.

Ron Honken, a member of FMPC as well as an affected resident, told the audience after having worked with Smith on several occasions as an FMPC member, he could assure them Smith would move forward with this project with the utmost integrity and would certainly take their comments into consideration in his final plans.

 

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