City manager reacts to letter asking for change around ETSU campus

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- East Tennessee State University President, Dr. Brian Noland is asking for change from Johnson City. In a letter addressed to City Manager Pete Peterson, he asked the city to do something about safety and all the billboards popping up around the university’s hub.

“A lot of times with traffic you have a perception of what you think is happening that may or may not be in reality what is actually happening. So, we’re going to do this study and determination into what’s happening,” said Peterson.

The city is preparing to conduct a traffic study around ETSU after conversations and a formal letter was sent from university president Brian Noland.

“Once we get that information back we’ll begin formulating some options to look at to address traffic- traffic volumes, traffic speeds,” said Peterson.

The letter reflected on and praised the last decade of partnership between the university and the city but then asked the city to “…correct the clutter of billboards and oversized advertisements that dominate both University Parkway and W. Market Street.”

The full letter from Dr. Brian Noland.

“We will be looking for opportunities to do some landscaping and to try to address some of the visual clutter up and down that corridor,” said Peterson.

An excerpt from the letter.

It went on to ask that the city slow the pace of traffic on University Parkway and State of Franklin, enhance pedestrian safety, install new traffic lights, and take other required actions to prevent an inevitable catastrophe.

“Dr. Noland and I have talked about for some time now about the number of students that transition from one side of State of Franklin and University Parkway and onto the university campus,” said Peterson.

Some of the issues are expected to be addressed with the redevelopment of W Walnut Street. But, Peterson said the traffic study along University Parkway and State of Franklin could take several months for the Public Works Committee to complete.

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