KNOXVILLE, Tenn — If you don't see a speed limit sign posted on a road in Knoxville, then you should assume it's 25 miles per hour when July arrives.
The city of Knoxville approved new speed limits for unmarked roads in 2021 that will go into effect on July 1. The new speed limits were a 5-mph reduction from the current 30-mph rule.
The city has been trying to stop dangerous speeding in residential neighborhoods across the area, creating the "Slow Down in K-Town" program. The program is trying to get neighborhoods involved in addressing these concerns with fellow neighbors, but in some cases the city has taken extra measures on residential streets where "cut-through" drivers have become a problem.
A traffic study in the Colonial Village neighborhood conducted by Knoxville's Office of Neighborhood Empowerment showed hundreds of drivers were breaking the speed limit in that neighborhood daily, consistently exceeding the posted 25 mph speed limit by 20 mph.
Cut-through speeders from Chapman Highway became so common over the past decade that it led to dozens of crashes, and neighbors began fearing for the safety of children playing in their own yard. This prompted neighbors to submit requests to the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program in 2019, and in May 2022 the city announced it would install 36 speed bumps along problem roads there starting in the fall.
The project in Colonial Village is estimated to cost between $120,000 and $150,000. The city said it is looking at similar measures on other noted problem streets after taking public input.
Preliminary traffic data analysis has identified some popular roadways in Knoxville. These streets are highlighted in the survey:
- Bob Gray Road
- Cecil Avenue
- Cedar Lane, Central Street
- Cherokee Trail
- Deane Hill Drive
- Fifth Avenue
- Gleason Drive
- Inskip Road/Bruhin Road
- Lonas Drive
- Lyons View Pike
- Main Street
- Morrell Road
- Pleasant Ridge Road
- Sutherland Avenue
- Texas Avenue
- Washington Pike
- Woodland Avenue
Since the program's inception in 2018, the city has completed traffic-calming projects in 16 neighborhoods, totaling almost 200 speed bumps. These options are not always possible, though, in areas with larger traffic volumes or steep hills.
City engineers estimate roughly 180 bumps will be paved in Knoxville this year.