About this Project
Greenways are places for walking and bicycles. They are also opportunities for preservation of our region’s cultural heritage and water quality. This project envisions five greenway corridors and the places along them that can be created, restored and preserved.
Background and Process
Throughout the three-year PlanET process, we heard from local governments about their interest in promoting greenways. The Community Leadership Team selected one greenway corridor in each of the five counties. A class of Architecture and Landscape Architecture students from UTK divided into teams to study the selected corridors and explore the greenway opportunities. Individual students then designed their own projects along the greenways. Community representatives were invited to review the student work throughout the semester.
The chosen greenways include: Bull Run Greenway in Paulette (Union County), Greenback to Louisville Greenway (Loudon and Blount Counties), Alcoa to Louisville (Blount County), Lake City to Briceville (Anderson County), and Second Creek in Knoxville (Knox County).
Providing options for people who don’t drive
Around 30 percent of the people in any given community don’t drive. Reasons for not driving can include age, disability and the costs associated with using a car. Whatever the reason, people who don’t drive need ways to meet their daily needs and live independent lives. Greenway trails, along with other places for walking and bicycling, and public transportation, are essential links for our friends and neighbors who can’t or don’t drive.
Creating more walking and biking opportunities
If walking and bicycling seem like impractical ways to get around in East Tennessee, consider this: 16 percent of all trips in the region are less than 1 mile, a walkable distance for many people. Fully 44 percent of trips in our region are under 3 miles, a distance that many people can bicycle with ease. But few people are willing to walk and bicycle if there aren’t safe places to do so. Greenway trails are part of the network needed to get more people walking and bicycling.
Encouraging physical activity
Whether for transportation or recreation, walking and bicycling are simple, low-cost ways for people to get active. And the addition of a greenway to a neighborhood can increase physical activity and sense of community.
Strengthening our existing cities and towns
Greenway trails can bring a lot to communities. They can be a draw for visitors and tourists, and they can boost the value of nearby real estate. A quality trail system is a great way for a community to distinguish itself from other places. As our regional greenway network expands and grows increasingly connected, we will draw more people to our region who value the quality of life that greenways foster.
Capitalizing on the unique identity of our communities
Walking or bicycling a trail is a great way to get to know a place, especially if the trails are designed to highlight quaint downtowns, historic places and natural beauty. In this project, a greenway is envisioned to link the historic sites of the Coal Creek Wars with the downtowns of Lake City and Briceville. Another is proposed for an unused railroad right of way between Greenback, Friendsville and Louisville, linking a restored depot, an abandoned quarry, and a waterside park.