Elect a planner, get a plan

Sandra Clark
Editor

Madeline Rogero’s degree in urban and regional planning is very handy as she starts her sixth year as Knoxville’s mayor. When she spoke at North Knox Rotary the other day, she listed several plans.

Parks and greenways? Plan. Public safety? Plan. South Knoxville? Plan. She’s the perfect extender of former Mayor Bill Haslam’s plans; but, of course, as director of community development for Haslam, she helped write them.

“We started at the core and are moving out,” she says. Credit Haslam with the revitalization of downtown Knoxville. Rogero is re-creating the major corridors to benefit businesses and neighborhoods around them: Chapman Highway, Magnolia Avenue, North Broadway and Cumberland Avenue.

“We leverage public funds to draw private development,” she says. “I have three more years – 1,060 days or so – to maximize accomplishments.

“We’ve got a plan for connecting greenways; we’ve developed the Urban Wilderness and the outstanding Lakeshore Park.” Not mentioned but important, Rogero hired engineers to fix the problems at Fountain City Lake.

She joked that Knoxville has so many breweries that we might be called “the ale trail,” and she was back in Fountain City last week to announce a $6.4 million federal grant to improve traffic flow. She spoke at a windy bus stop.

The plan, she said, is to install smart, interconnected traffic control signals on Broadway, Chapman Highway and Kingston Pike. The system will analyze where cars are backing up and make second-by-second adjustments in the timing of the signals to optimize traffic flow.

“The latest upgrades ($2 million for Broadway alone) represent a combined $8.4 million investment in this corridor, and we’re excited to be installing cutting-edge technology to help resolve decades of frustration with gridlock on Broadway,” Rogero said. “Everyone’s commute will improve, and less time sitting in traffic means reduced emissions of pollutants.”

And that’s a plan we all can applaud.

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