Homeowners in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood have been trying for years to persuade the city to takes steps to slow down traffic on Kingston Pike, between Neyland Drive and Western Plaza. Recent efforts, combined with monitoring by the Knoxville Police Department and a reassessment of that stretch by city engineers appear to have had the desired effect.
“We will recommend to the (City) Council that they approve the purchase of four smart signs,” says Deputy Director of Engineering Brent Johnson.
Smart signs are effectively speed limit signs, with an electrical/illuminated component. If an oncoming car is traveling above 45 mph on that stretch of Kingston Pike, the sign will flash that car’s speed. They’re not uncommon, and if you get around much—to Chattanooga, let’s say—you’ve probably seen them.
“We haven’t sourced them out yet,” says Johnson, “but based on research we’ve already done we expect them to cost about $2,500 each. We’ll install two on Kingston Pike, and we’ll have two in reserve to install elsewhere if they prove to be effective.
“There is a ‘traffic calming’ line item in the budget, and the department decides how that money is spent. We think this is a good use of it.”
Kingston Pike homeowner Allen Tate says he sees the signs as progress, but would prefer to see all four installed on Kingston Pike.
“It’s a two-mile stretch,” says Tate, “and I don’t know how much good just one sign on each side will do. But I do feel that the city has been responsive. (City Councilwoman) Barbara Pelot has done a great job for us on this.”
It’s not clear just when the signs will be installed and powered up.