Paint It Green: City Announces Green Bike Lanes

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Paint It Green: City Announces Green Bike Lanes

Posted: 03/18/2016
Green bike lanesMayor Madeline Rogero, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and City engineers on Thursday announced a green bicycle lane initiative managed through City Engineering to increase safety for bicyclists as a small – yet visible – step in a larger bicycle infrastructure initiative. 

The project incorporates a new federal standard for green bicycle lanes that highlight areas of conflict between bicyclists and vehicles at specific intersections.

The new street markings serve a dual purpose:

• The color alerts drivers that there may be bicyclists in the intersection, and
• The markings guide bicyclists to stay within a specific path that is safest for passing through the intersection.

The green “paint” is actually thermoplastic, which is melted onto the street and is projected to last years beyond the life of typical street paint. It also possesses even more traction than asphalt itself, which will help cyclists as they navigate the intersections.

Today’s press conference was held at the intersection on the south end of the Gay Street Bridge, where the City’s second green bicycle lane was recently installed. The first green lane was a pilot project at the intersection of University Commons Way and Joe Johnson Drive, installed last year.

Located in the heart of the South Knoxville Waterfront redevelopment corridor, the second green bicycle lane is part of a larger $14,000 street improvement project to restripe Sevier Avenue with bicycle lanes from the Gay Street Bridge to the James White Parkway. Part of the City’s Bicycle Facilities Plan that was developed last year, the intent of this project is to provide a safe bicycle commute from downtown to the Urban Wilderness as well as set the tone for all forms of transportation access as business develops along the South Waterfront.

“I love this project, because it quite literally connects several of my initiatives – promoting alternative transportation and sustainability, continuing downtown improvements, redeveloping the South Waterfront and enhancing the Urban Wilderness,” Mayor Rogero said. 

The green bicycle lane at the Gay Street Bridge-Sevier Avenue intersection is a key segment of the South Waterfront redevelopment. The nearby former Baptist Hospital site, once redeveloped, will house a 300-unit luxury apartment complex and the worldwide headquarters of Regal Entertainment Group, with University of Tennessee student housing just west of the former hospital site. A public riverwalk will connect the redevelopment projects.

Streetscape improvements also will be made along Blount Avenue, including wider sidewalks with landscaping and bike racks. Bicycle lanes will connect to Chapman Highway.

At Thursday’s press conference, Mayor Rogero announced five intersections within the City where green bicycle lanes will be installed in the near future:

• Blount Avenue and Chapman Highway;
• Maplewood Drive and Island Home Avenue (at the River’s Edge apartment complex under construction);
• Central Street and Broadway;
• Central Street and Baxter Avenue; and
• Central Street and Bernard Avenue.

The Central Street intersections will be part of the City’s Central Street streetscape improvements, expected to be completed in 2017.

“Though we are only using the green bicycle lane markings in very limited and specific areas, they are very effective for increasing safety as well as advocating awareness for bicycle commuting in Knoxville,” said Jon Livengood, Alternative Transportation Coordinator for the City’s Engineering Department.

For more information about bicycle commuting and street improvements in Knoxville, please visit