Transportation Planner Joins MPC

Elizabeth Watkins joined the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission at the end of June. 

She and her husband moved to Knoxville from Washington, D.C. where they moved after graduate school. She worked for more than a year as a Regional Planner for the National Park Service. Before that, Elizabeth spent time with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, focusing on brownfield redevelopment and pesticide regulation.

Meet Elizabeth

Missing Link of Foothills Parkway Grant

The Foothills Parkway in Walland, TN was recently awarded $10 million for the completion of the last section of the Parkway in Blount County.

The funds were made available through the highly competitive 2016 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and will be matched by an additional $10 million from the National Park Service and $15 million from the state of Tennessee.

The $35 million will be used to connect the road in what is referred to as the “missing link” of the parkway in Blount and Sevier counties. Additional safety features, such as guardrails, pull-offs, striping and signage, will also be included in the upcoming work. Officials expect it to be completed and open to the public in 2018.

Read the full article

Better Streets, Better Places: Community Event with Ian Lockwood

It’s no coincidence that we’re kicking off two full days of events with Ian Lockwood on July 27th, Take Your Pants for a Walk Day!

Join us as we learn how to create a more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly community with Ian Lockwood of Toole Design Group. He is a nationally recognized transportation engineer who encourages communities and leaders to think differently about how streets work. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events and join us as we think about how our streets influence our neighborhoods and city!

July 27th

Public event: Ian will speak at the Small Assembly Room in the City County Building directly following the TPO’s Executive Board meeting. The meeting starts at 9 a.m., and Ian is expected to speak at 9:45 a.m.

Public event: Ian will speak in the Auditorium of the Knox County Health Department for this free community event. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. Afterwards, there will be social time and food trucks at Shulz Brau, which is just around the corner at 126 Bernard Ave. Check out the Facebook event here.

July 28th

By invitation only: There will be a small-group walking audit of a portion of Chapman Highway to discuss traffic safety, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and land use issues. There will be breakfast and a short presentation directly before the walk audit begins. The event starts at 7:30 a.m. at Flenniken Landing, 115 Flenniken Ave, and the walk audit will depart at 8 a.m.

By invitation only: Ian will speak at the Mobility Advisory Committee Meeting at 11:30 a.m. at Ijams Nature Center. He will share his thoughts on how to think differently about transportation projects and how to move people around the region. If you are a member of this committee and plan to attend, please RSVP.


Smart Trips Program Offers Options to City Parking Changes

As of July 1, 2016, several changes related to garage and street parking took effect in certain parts of Knoxville.

With a focus on downtown and Fort Sanders, the City and Public Building Authority (PBA) are increasing enforcement, adjusting rates, and installing new meters. With all of this, monthly parking fees for garage parking will see a slight increase, most meters will have slightly higher fees and now include Saturdays, and there will be more officers to police these changes.

Get the skinny

Call for Projects: FTA Transit Funding

The TPO, working on behalf of the City of Knoxville, is seeking projects to be funded through FTA Section 5307 & Section 5339 grant funds.

The use of these funds are for services or projects that provide general public transit within the Knoxville urbanized area.  It is important to note that any agency receiving these funds must have a Direct Recipient status with FTA.  

Addendum and Deadline Extension to Section 5307 and 5339 Applications:
The deadline for submitting applications for Section 5307 & 5339 funding to MPC/TPO has been extended to Friday, July 29, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Submit applications to Doug Burton –

Application Instructions
Section 5307 Application (word document)
Section 5339 Application (word document)

The following link contains additional information that has been requested as a supplement to the applications.  Please review carefully.


Transportation Planning Work Program Being Updated


Draft Update: 2016-2017 Knoxville Regional TPO ̢??‰??Transportation Planning Work Program (TPWP)

The TPWP outlines a two year transportation planning work program for the activities undertaken by the TPO and its federal, state and local partners.  It is updated annually and reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.  The Draft FY 2017 TPWP Update is available for review here:  The public is invited to comment by email at , by phone at 865-215-2500 or at the TPO Technical Committee meeting on July 12, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City/County Building, 400 Main St., Knoxville, TN or at the July 27, 2016 TPO Executive Board meeting, also at 9:00 a.m. in the Small Assembly room.

Review the draft in its entirety.

Safety Upgrades Scheduled for Clinton Highway

Updates are scheduled for a 2.6-mile stretch of Clinton Highway from Edgemoor Road to the Knox County line.

This particular section of road is known for its safety issues, with a significant number of wrecks occurring there. Upgrades include resurfacing, a continuous center lane and wider shoulders, and new lane markings to show dedicated passing areas. This project is scheduled for next year, and similar upgrades for Clinton Highway from Clinton to Edgemoor Road are planned for 2018.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, July 7, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Claxton Community Center, 1150 Edgemoor Road.

Read more about these updates at

Call for projects: Transportation Alternatives funding

The TPO is seeking projects for Transportation Alternatives funding.

This federal funding source typically goes toward projects and programs to improve the safety of people walking and bicycling. The TPO receives about $750,000 in TA funding annually. However, more costly projects may be submitted for TA funding, as the TPO has other funding that can be added to projects that are selected for funding. A minimum 20 percent local match is required. 

The Federal Highway Administration has additional information on the TA program, including what types of projects and programs are eligible for funding, and who may receive funding. 

If a local government has submitted a project in 2016 for the TPO Mobility Plan update, they do not need to submit an application for TA funding. They can simply inform TPO staff that they would like the project considered for TA funding. 

The application is available in two formats:

Applications/notifications are due July 13 at 5 p.m. to

New Report Forecasts 300,000 Population Growth – Long-Range Plan Prepares for Change

Annual Report Highlights Transportation Strategies and Projects to Grow Prosperity in East Tennessee

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) recently published the State of Transportation in East Tennessee 2015 Annual Report. Providing insight into the work of the TPO and who is involved, the report gives an overview of the region’s network of road, transit, biking, and pedestrian options. It also looks at factors that drive the needs for investment in the system – factors like population growth, demand for housing, new employment centers, and shifting trends in travel choices. Here are a few specifics:

  • 300,000 new residents and 240,000 new jobs by 2040
  • Area residents say maintaining and fixing existing roads and bridges is the highest priority for the future
  • Nearly half of the region’s workers commute across county lines, with the average commute being 32.8 miles per day
  • 84.5% of commuters in our region drive alone to work
  • The average household in our region spends 32% of their income on transportation, compared to 18% nationally
  • The Knoxville region was the first to be re-designated an “Attainment Area” by EPA for the 2008 Ozone Standard

TPO staff are currently working on the 2017 update for the Mobility Plan 2040, and the State of Transportation report lends the facts and figures needed to prepare that plan. Updated every four years, the Mobility Plan is the region’s long-range plan calling for stronger connections between regional and local transportation investments, development, and land use. The region is expected to have 300,000 new residents and 240,000 new jobs by 2040; if current development trends continue, only about one in seven households will be within walking distance to transit, and very few new neighborhoods, shopping centers, and workplaces will be walkable.

It’s obvious that changes are coming as the region grows, and how we prepare for those changes is key to maintaining our great quality of life. TPO has been working closely with local communities, receiving input from residents, stakeholders, and elected officials to guide decision-making as the plan progresses. This ensures the plan is one that supports strategies and projects that will bring greater prosperity to East Tennessee for future generations.

Find out more about the 2015 Annual Report and the Mobility Plan 2040 as it continues to develop.

Bike Month Success

May was National Bike Month, and Knoxville’s participation showed how eager the community is to continue growing its bike culture.

There were activities throughout the month with various events, rides, and classes that celebrated all kinds of people who ride bicycles. Several local businesses also contributed to the momentum by offering a discount to anyone displaying their I Bike KNX helmet sticker throughout the month.

Pedal along for more