Developers, commissioners reviewing plans for West Walnut Street corridor

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Developers and the Johnson City Commission are reviewing the multi-year, multi-million dollar design plan for West Walnut Street.

The design was unveiled earlier this month during a Johnson City Commission workshop.

It is all part of an effort to connect downtown Johnson City to ETSU.

The developers and commission will refine the design plans, before reaching out to the community for feedback.

“We’ll have traffic calming efforts in the area, raised medians,” said City of Johnson City Public Works Director Phil Pindzola, “there will be a lot of side friction points that psychologically causes the driver to drive slower.”

According Pindzola, these are just a few improvements.

“There are two different upgrades to do with the project,” he said, “one involving the utilities and the water and sewer lines, then the second is the street-scape, bike lanes parking spaces, new sidewalks.”

The plans call for a complete reconstruction of the roadway.

A proposal is also currently on the table as part of the concept plan to make improvements to the intersection of West Walnut and University Parkway.

“The question is whether or not we could actually integrate the two and eliminate the signal at Walnut and create a better flow of traffic in the intersection of State of Franklin,” said Pindzola.

In addition, commissioners and developers are looking at where to put parking areas.

“I would like to have more parking,” said Joey Booth, owner of Mojo Skateboard Shop on West Walnut, “I don’t know if you have been to Boone, but their parking comes in at an angle, it just goes in and there’s parking all the way down the street.”

Leaders will meet with business owners in the area once the plan is refined.

“The main thing for us is accessibility,” said Ashley Cavender, who works at One Acre Cafe, “we really want to make sure that the people that come to us on a daily basis have access to the bus route, a bike lane would be amazing, better sidewalks, wider sidewalks, just making it easier for them to get right to our door so they can be fed.”

The documents are expected to be finalized, at the earliest, by spring or summer of next year.

Construction would follow the approval of the finalized plan.

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