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Pedestrian, bicycle plan approved

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission approved a Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan for 2010 at its meeting Thursday, April 15.

The 2010 Plan outlines goals and opportunities for the Town as it goes forward constructing its network of greenways and sidewalks, connecting the Town for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I think this is a very important issue to the Town and hopefully others will see that,” Assistant Community Development Director Mark Shipley said.

“It helps build a sense of community — that’s almost the most important aspect of this,” he added.

According to surveys Shipley cited, 30 to 50 percent of households want to live in highly walkable urban communities, and houses in such areas sell for anywhere between $4,000 and $34,000 more than similar houses with average walkability.

Shipley said the Town has about 63 miles of sidewalks and about 77 miles of greenway trails.

“We have developed a mentality of looking at developments and incorporating the pedestrian and bicycle needs,” Shipley said.

“So you’ve got not just a facility to run errands or go to church or school; you’ve got a sense of community,” he added.

But that doesn’t mean Farragut’s pedestrian and bicyclist network is complete.

The Town still needs to close both small and large gaps in the network, as well as improve commuting opportunities to make them safer.

“If we’re going to develop a really connective community, we have to come up with ways to cross these huge roadways,” Shipley said, citing the massive widths of parts of Kingston Pike or Campbell Station Road.

Kingston Pike, he said, “is a barrier to most people” who walk, run or ride bikes and separates the Town into two pieces. Underpass or overpass crossings of Kingston Pike could be a possibility in the future of the Town, Shipley said.

A more immediate goal is to plan greenways so they encourage connection — from subdivision to subdivision, from subdivision to retail center, from commercial zone to commercial zone and from municipality to municipality.

Shipley also talked about “complete streets,” or streets that are constructed to accommodate all modes of transportation from the get-go.

“You provide for the automobile, you provide for the bicyclists and for the pedestrians,” Shipley said.

Such streets often include bike paths, sidewalks, greenways, crosswalks, raised medians, turn lanes, landscaping and wide buffers separating pedestrians and bicyclists from vehicle traffic.

“This is an active, live street … that invites use. There is no sea of asphalt … you almost make it park-like,” Shipley said.

“These are the streets of the future,” he added, saying such designs are preferred for federal funding.

The Town’s original pedestrian circulation plan was written in 1997; the 2010 plan is an updated and revised version of that plan.

In other business, Commission gave its required annual re-approval to the concept plan of Everett Hills Subdivision, even thought the subdivision, which is only partially constructed, has been foreclosed on.

Community Development Director Ruth Hawk said the bank that owns the property is marketing it as-is, meaning a buyer would come in and finish what’s already planned.

The annual re-approval would streamline the process for any potential buyer.


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