Last week, the Cookeville City Council approved Tech’s concept for improving N. Dixie Avenue and N. Mahler Avenue on campus.
This project will increase safety for pedestrians, largely made up of our students who cross these roads daily.
“With safety of our students and other pedestrians as a priority, we plan for the final design to incorporate several features that improve safety and aesthetics, including limiting the number of areas pedestrians can cross,” said President Phil Oldham. “Transforming Dixie Avenue through campus to two lanes will also improve the experience for drivers and lessen the likelihood of speeding.”
The concept that was approved by the city council will change N. Dixie Avenue from 8th Street to 12th Street to a two-lane, tree-lined boulevard with left turn and bike lanes. A tree-lined median would run along the center of the boulevard and contain fencing and landscaping to restrict pedestrian traffic across the road with dedicated crossing points, enhancing pedestrian safety.
These same concepts would be applied to North Mahler Avenue between 6th and 8th streets. A roundabout will be added at the intersection of Dixie, Mahler and 8th Street.
Now that the concept has been approved, the university will now proceed to the design phase for the project. Appropriate city officials will be involved throughout the design stage, reviewing and commenting on the design as it progresses. Once the design is completed, it will go back before the City Council for approval. If approved, the university will put the project out for bid. Construction will not begin until after the bid stage.
The university will fund this project through a bond funded from parking permit and enforcement revenue.
This project is part of the university’s parking and transportation plan. A related transportation project that is also part of this phase of the plan, the modification of William L. Jones Drive, will be designed at the same time as the N. Dixie and Mahler avenues project.
Another upcoming parking and transportation projects is improvements to University Drive west of Willow Avenue, which is about to go out to bid. Projects that have been completed include the new 1,000-space parking lot on the west side of campus and the addition of campus shuttle buses.
The campus master plan is available at https://www.tntech.edu/capital-projects/master.php.