Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Construction Update - May 13, 2010

Last week proved to be a challenging one in several respects for the 100 Block of S. Gay Street construction project. The two pictures below represent some of the issues we had to deal with.
Please folks, do not park or drive on the sidewalk. I know it is tempting but the glass block panels are not designed for that and the plywood we currently have covering up the openings are certainly not strong enough to support the weight of a vehicle. Thankfully, our Contractor had a fork lift and some massive steel plates nearby to help out here. And by the way, this was just a few hours before First Friday.

We are preparing this week to pour concrete on another section of roadway from Vine Avenue northward. The plan is to pour concrete back for the roadway as both sidewalks are constructed.

The O.P. Jenkins area parking lot was repaved and striped in time for First Friday and looks really good. This has added another ten parking spaces to the area. It is my understanding that parking meters will be installed here shortly. We have also discussed striping off parking spaces in the 200 Block area even though this area was designed for a KAT bus stop and a commercial loading zone. KAT is still in the process of determining their new routes and parking is allowed after 6:00pm in commercial loading areas so we felt like it would be appropriate to go ahead and stripe off these spots for parking which will potentially add another 8 or so parking spaces to the area.

State Street from Vine Avenue to Summit Hill Drive has been removed and is being graded, with grass and some additional trees to come and we think this will be a very nice green area. Future plans for this small park are still very much in the preplanning stage and no additional funding is currently in place for any improvements. We will make sure we engage the community when we begin that process.

Below is a picture of the base that held the Treble Clef statue. My understanding is that the City Art Committee has looked over this and is in the process of requesting a RFP in the future to replace this statue.

We completed the small section of sidewalk along Summit Hill Drive by First Friday as well. Below is a picture of that construction.

We moved our efforts last week over to the western sidewalk in front of the restaurants which has been challenging. Ollantays Havana Nights has closed temporarily for renovations so that has made our efforts here a little easier as far as providing access. Still, we are working in tight quarters here. We hope to have the structural concrete all poured for this section of sidewalk by next week. Nama remains open and we thank them for their patience.

You may recognize the underground areas in the next two pictures from some very early pictures I provided of the possible 1919 storefronts.

Also next week we will begin the next section of sidewalk generally in the Unarmed Merchants area and we hope to have this section finished by First Friday in June. At that point we will begin the last section of sidewalk in front of Dewhirst Properties around the first of June and hopefully complete that by mid June.

We also plan this week and next, to begin adding the colored concrete to the eastern sidewalk so in a couple of weeks, hopefully, the eastern sidewalk will be completely finished.

On Monday, May 17, 2010, we are currently planning to restore Vine Avenue from Gay Street westbound back to its original one way designation. With the opening of the 200 Block of S. Gay Street to traffic, we no longer have the need to make this stretch two way. We will also, once again, allow for parking on Vine Avenue so we will restore the 16 parking spaces that we have previously bagged for 'No Parking". With the additional spaces created on the O.P. Jenkins area lot and the additional spaces created on the 200 Block, and with these spaces being reopened, we should finally get back to having the much needed additional parking for the area.
We can always revisit the idea of making Vine Avenue two way in the future if the need arises.
Thanks to all of those who attended the Streetscapes meeting on Monday night. We value your input into our process.
Topics discussed included the closures on Jackson Avenue in June to complete some KUB electrical work. This will force us to have a complete closure on Jackson for some period of time as there are several unknown situations we will encounter here. We have pledged, as we always do, to make this closure as brief as possible but it could last at least a week of two. This will not effect pedestrian traffic along Jackson Avenue.
Also discussed was garbage collection on the block in the future, with the discussion centering on a central collection point, possibly in the rear of the buildings, and the creation of a 100 Block Association to give us consensus on how we proceed.
The Grand Opening celebration was discussed briefly and Mickey Mallonee, Director of Special Events for the City, asked that anyone wanting to help, or having ideas, should contact her via email at to discuss further. We have very tentatively discussed having this in mid September. We have placed several special events electrical boxes in the block which will enable us to easily have special events here in the future.
We will be attending demonstrations this week of the various parking kiosks we are considering for metered parking on the 100 Block. We plan to have two kiosks, each one located at the center of the block on each side of the street instead of parking meters. This new technology has never been used on public streets in the City of Knoxville. These kiosks will allow folks to pay by debit or credit cards if they desire. We will be evaluating some units that also have solar capabilities. The technology is there for folks to be able to add time to their meter via smart phone or computer as well.
We plan to use this same system when we convert the Jackson Avenue Parking lot to a paid lot in the fall. The plan is to allow the Contractor to finish his work and remove staging materials before refurbishing the lot. As I understand it, the plan is to allow for possibly the first two hours of parking to be free here. We are also planning to add a security camera which will be monitored by PBA who has the contract to manage the lot for us.
As always, thanks for your interest.

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