James White Parkway will remain a dead-end highway, businesses happy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) The Tennessee Department of Transportation will officially stop working on the James White Parkway extension at the urging of the City of Knoxville, and it's making a lot of small business owners along Chapman Highway very happy.

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization decided to end the work of extending the parkway as a result of using the green space just south of the Moody Avenue exit as what is being called Urban Wilderness.

Because of the decision, TDOT has effectively discontinued all work on the extension, which spells good news for local business owners who say traffic will now continue past their front doors.

Ron Emery's business, Emery's 5&10, sits on the corner of Chapman Highway and Moody Avenue. Because of today's decision, Emery plans to expand his business to market to the bikers that he expects will soon show up to ride through the urban wilderness that sits directly behind his building once the new trails are put in.

"We've got mechanics coming in, we're going to sell bikes and all the supplies and parts. And that could be huge for tax dollars for the city," Emery explained.

And Emery isn't alone. Several businesses along the stretch were glad that the extension is no longer. Steve Grossbard owns The Mattress Place on Chapman Highway. He was nervous the extension would take even more traffic away from his storefront than what the closing on the Henley Street bridge has already done.

"I think that will be a really good thing overall for small business owners, like myself, who depend a lot on traffic coming by our store," Grossbard said.

While these businesses expect great things from traffic flow, others were a little less enthused by the news. Sally Greene owns a clothing boutique on the south end of Chapman Highway, where the James White Parkway extension would have ended. She was hoping for the extension to bring more customers to her doorstep.

"As far a people having to bypass all of the traffic lights in that one area closer to town and to just make a straight shot from the interstate, to essentially my backdoor," Greene said.

Mayor Rogero released an email statement about the ending of the extension. In it she said she hopes this south part of town will become an economic and tourism destination once the urban wilderness area is complete.

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