You may have noticed an increase in bicycles and pedestrians in your neighborhood, or on your morning commute. Biking to work or for recreation has nearly doubled nationally over the last decade, according to U.S. census data. That increased bike traffic has created the need for more accommodations for cyclists in and around Knoxville.
That’s where the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization comes in.
When the renovation plans for the recently reopened Henley Street Bridge were first published, there was no plan to install bike lanes.
“The designs did not have bike lanes, so we and the city of Knoxville, and the public actually stood up and said, ‘Hey, you forgot about the accommodation policy.’ So TDOT revised the plans,” says Kelley Segars, principal planner for the KRTPO.
While most of the growth in the popularity of cycling has occurred outside the Southeast, Knoxville has seen modest increases in bike traffic. Despite the higher number riders, the Tennessee Department of Safety reports cycling fatality and injury numbers have remained stable since 2004. The KRTPO credits the spread of bike lanes on city streets, construction of more greenways, and shared use paths for those statistics.