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Walkability, Connectivity Improvements at Burlington Intersection 
Burlington Intersection Improvement Ribbon Cutting
Elected officials, business owners, and community members cut the ribbon for the Fern Street/MLK Avenue intersection on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

The Burlington Commercial District, situated between hundreds of homes in the Burlington neighborhood and Magnolia Avenue, now has more viable walkability thanks to improvements made to the intersection at Fern Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

Burlington Intersection Improvements Ribbon Cutting Crowd
Crowd at the Aug. 27, 2018 ribbon cutting. A "For Lease" sign stands in front of a building that is receiving a facade improvement.

The new and improved intersection was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, Aug. 27. City, county and state elected officials along with Burlington residents and business owners stood in the intersection to cut the ribbon as part of the celebration for the streetscape enhancements.

​Stamped asphalt crosswalks, ADA curb cuts, and a resurfaced intersection make it safer (and more pleasant) for pedestrians in the Burlington district to connect to:
  • a large grocery store,
  • restaurants,
  • commercial buildings,
  • a barbershop (a long-time local staple),
  • four churches,
  • and hundreds of homes.

Map of Burlington intersection improvements connectivity

The intersection also has a bus stop for Knoxville Area Transit's Burlington Route 34, which has increased in ridership by 66 percent since the City made an investment to increase the route to service passengers every 30 minutes.

Furthermore, a quick walk around the corner from the intersection takes riders to the recently renovated Kirkwood Super Stop. This stop connects riders to three different KAT routes (Rt. 31 - Magnolia, Rt. 33 - MLK, and Rt. 34 - Burlington) transporting riders to a wide variety of destinations. Visit www.katbus.com to plan your KAT trip today.

The $127,500 project was championed by state Rep. Rick Staples and funded through the Knox County Engineering Department. The City's Engineering Department managed the execution of the project.

"I am always happy to do my part to help bring investment into the Burlington District," said Rep. Staples.

Rogers Group was the contractor and Shelton General Contractors completed the actual stamped crosswalks.

Mayor Madeline Rogero explained how this Burlington project ties into a series of major City redevelopment investments in East Knoxville including:
  • Magnolia Avenue Streetscapes Project
  • Five Points Revitalization Master Plan
  • Chilhowee Park Redevelopment Master Plan
  • Burlington Enhancement Plan

"This Burlington intersection improvement is the latest example of the great momentum and excitement happening along and near the Magnolia Avenue Corridor,” said Mayor Rogero. "I'm delighted by the state, County and City collaboration on this project."

The project had been outlined in the City's plan, but Knox County funding made it possible

"Over the past eight years, I've worked on many different projects with the City and State, and it's an honor to cut the ribbon on one more before leaving office," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "It took a lot of work to get to this point, and I know it's an exciting day for the entire community."

The intersection improvement is one of several recommendations in the Burlington Enhancement Plan produced by the East Tennessee Community Design Center. Click HERE to view the Burlington Enhancement Plan community presentation.

Burlington Prosser Road Entrance Concept
Concept rendering of Prosser Road entrance to Burlington (as outlined in Burlington Enhancement Plan)

At the ceremony Monday, Mayor Rogero also cited recipients of Community Development’s Façade Improvements Program. Currently, a private commercial building located at 3900 MLK Ave. (on the corner of the improved intersection) is undergoing major exterior renovations including a new storefront and windows as a result of the façade grant.

Facade Improvement Before
3900 MLK Ave. - Before Facade grant approval

Burlington Facade During Construction
3900 MLK Ave. under construction after facade grant approval. (Intersection improvements completed in photo.)

In fact, there are 10 façade improvement projects within the Burlington Commercial District and along MLK Avenue that represent $491,000 in City investment and $260,000 in private investment over recent years.

As a result of the neighboring façade improvements, another building at 3906 MLK Ave is being renovated by its owner and will soon open as an event rental space, complete with a stage and a bar.

This one intersection in Burlington along with current improvements along Magnolia Avenue is significant for these East Knoxville communities.

City of Knoxville staff from the Community Development, Redevelopment, and Engineering departments
City staff from three different departments have worked to improve this Burlington intersection (as well as many areas throughout the City). From left to right: Gwen Winfrey (Community Development), Dawn Michelle Foster (Redevelopment Director), Ken McMahon (Community Development), Bryan Berry (Redevelopment), Pete Gerlach (Engineering).

Such public investments eventually spur and attract more private investment into the area. City of Knoxville staff working across many departments aim to build up infrastructure and grant projects to bolster such outcomes.

For information on the Magnolia Streetscape Project, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/magnolia

Rendering of the Magnolia Streetscape improvements
Magnolia Streetscape Project rendering
Posted by On 30 August, 2018 at 4:17 PM