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I take issue with the statement that Henley Street is a barrier between downtown and UT.
I worked on UT campus for 17 years (until approximately 2 years ago) and often walked downtown for lunch. Yes, Henley is a busy street. But there are plenty of crosswalks and very adequate signaling as well as a pedestrian bridge next to Clinch St, and one does not need to wait very long for the light to change in order to cross. Also, when crossing that part of Henley St., everything is in plain view. It's easy to see that one can cross the street not only without fear of being hit by traffic, but (at least as importantly) without fear of dealing with sketchy characters on the other side of the street.
The barrier to pedestrian traffic between downtown and UT is not Henley Street, but the area of Cumberland Avenue near 11th St. that goes under the railroad underpass. There are several problems with that area. One is that it does not feel safe to many pedestrians because of the limited view, poor lighting (especially at night), and the volume of traffic. The other is that you have to walk down a hill to pass under the railroad bridge and then back up the hill on the other side - which is much more tiring than if the walk were level. Another problem is that in the summer the area along Cumberland Ave. is generally quite hot due to the asphalt and lack of shade.
When I walked downtown from UT I generally walked through Ft. Sanders (now James Agee) and used the Clinch St. bridge, which was a greater distance but less tiring, with less traffic and which offered at least a few shade trees along the way. It might be that making that path more inviting to pedestrians (better sidewalks, better lighting, more shade, and signage marking the path) would do more to encourage traffic to downtown, than any changes to Henely St. could accomplish.
I'm all for making Henley Street more attractive, but that's not going to attract more pedestrian traffic from the other side of World's Fair Park.