Wednesday, April 30, 2008


SmartFIX40: Countdown to I-40 closure begins

Let the 16-month to 3-year media-generated panic begin.

I've read a hundred stories in the news about what's about to come.

And 9/10 of a mile stretch of the interstate in downtown Knoxville is about to be closed for repair and enhancement. Knoxville and Knox County residents react with a frenzy that's equal to 10 impending-snowstorm-grocery runs. Running in the streets, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria...

The media - that includes newspapers, TV stations, radio, etc - has made every effort to make this small change in traffic flow into a major, major traffic disruption. And that's now just what it will become, because people believe it will be.

If all this had been pushed to the back page of the local section, we wouldn't see traffic problems past the first day or so. Out of town travelers passing through would simply be redirected by signs through I-640 around town. Local folks traveling from West Knox to East Knox and vice versa would follow similar routes. People wishing to get downtown are surely passingly familiar enough with downtown topography to get where they need to go with only a slight delay or some extra time planning a route. It's simple - everything eastbound is open up to James White Pkwy, from which all of downtown is completely accessible. And being from the west, that's going to be the majority of the traffic anyway. Westbounders from the east may have a slightly more complicated time of it coming west, but still should know where you can go when you get off at Hall of Fame Dr. or Cherry St.

It's a huge package of a no-brainer, people. Just follow your noses and your instincts, and above all....


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