Knoxville hopes to increase pedestrian safety on Cumberland Avenue

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Temporary lane closures will be implemented on Cumberland Avenue this week as crews work on the last phase of the construction project.

Concrete will be poured in the middle of the road to create a raised median between traffic lanes. The purpose of the design is to prevent, fender benders, improve traffic flow and make it safer for pedestrians.

Several Knoxville residents are hoping Cumberland Avenue will be a safer place to walk with so many cars on the road.

Kristen Winton said, “They just kind of zoom past you. I don’t think they mean anything wrong, but it’s kind of threatening.”

Chase Biefeldt adds, “I almost saw a girl get smashed by a car. If it had hit her, she would have died.”

Winton is optimistic after seeing some of the changes already come to the area, like wider sidewalks.

“At first I was a little skeptic about it, then I was like, ‘Okay, they’re doing something major and important for the city,'” said Winton.

This entire week, crews will be adding curbs to the center median. It’s an enhancement to the road that officials say is necessary.

Wes Carpenter with Southern Constructors said, “There’s a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic that comes through and it just makes it safer for everybody.”

The raised median will reduce the risk of getting hit by a car for pedestrians, by creating an island for people trying to cross the street. It also eliminates confusion for drivers trying to make a turn.

Carpenter adds, “It’s only one lane each direction now, but there are dedicated turn lanes and it just makes it much more clear for everyone.”

While some people are pleased to see the changes coming, others feel this project won’t have a significant impact.

Jelisha Parker from Knoxville said, “Honestly I don’t really see that much of a difference, besides the wider sidewalks. But I think it will be about the same.”

The temporary lane closures on Cumberland Avenue will be in effect until Friday, June 16. Crews plan to finish the project on time by August.

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