I found the Jan. 6 Metro Pulse optimistic and inspiring about Knoxville's future. Jack Neely's commentary about Henley Street provided some insight on why its problems exist. ["Fix Henley Street," Secret History] It must have been developed by the same city planners who built a beautiful convention center with no underground parking!
Seriously, as a relatively new citizen of Knoxville (moved here from San Diego in 2001), I must admit I'm ignorant of the topography, jurisdictional, and other problems which probably led to that area of town being the way it is. But I do have a great idea for getting rid of the Henley Street problem and connecting the convention center to Market Square and Gay Street.
Why not ignore Henley Street altogether and build at least a two-block-wide terrace-bridge over it? Like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, this terrace-bridge could be solely pedestrian and full of shops and restaurants to lure people out of the convention center and other nearby places to other parts of town. And, so it's used in the cold of winter and heat of summer, most of it could be under glass/acrylic canopies that let people see enough to entice them in.
I'm not an architect or structural engineer, so don't know the practicality of building such a thing. This is just a suggestion of the kind of creative thinking that should replace the old "TDOT wouldn't let us tamper with Henley Street" excuses from the past.