Like many Americans, I grew up in a suburban setting, and the only way I ever left my neighborhood was in a car. There was nothing but other neighborhoods within walking distance of my house, and I don’t remember sidewalks other than those surrounding my schools. Shopping, eating out and socializing all required a car trip unless we were gossiping with neighbors in the cul-de-sac.
I just returned from a beach vacation that was disappointing because of a lack of walkability. There was only one restaurant within walking distance, and any other expedition required use of a five-lane road that was under construction. For our next trip, my husband and I have scoped out a location that will allow us to park the car and walk everywhere we want to go – the beach, the coffee shop and the restaurants.
Wouldn’t it be great to live in a place where you could walk or bike to your favorite hangouts? The good news is that many Farragut neighborhoods already have pedestrian access to amenities, and when planned greenways and sidewalks are added, even more will.
Farragut has always placed a high priority on walkability. When new neighborhoods are built, developers are required to provide pedestrian connectivity. It comes in the form of sidewalks on the main road in each subdivision and stub-outs to existing or future greenways. That’s why, when you look at a map of Farragut greenways and sidewalks, Farragut already has a high level of pedestrian connectivity.
An upcoming sidewalk project will fill an important missing link in our pedestrian system. In mid-April, work will begin on the Smith Road sidewalk, which will link the end of Grigsby Chapel Greenway and Hickory Woods subdivision with the greenway along Everett Road. The completed greenway/sidewalk will include a marked streetway through Hickory Woods subdivision.
The end goal is to provide pedestrian access to as many Farragut residents as possible. No one’s more excited about this than Farragut Parks & Rec Director Sue Stuhl. She’s already looking forward to another future project – a new greenway along Union Road. A multi-use trail is part of the Union Road improvement plan, a project that is currently in the planning stage.
“When that link is completed, there will be a pedestrian route from the McDonald’s at Lovell Road, which is the on the eastern town limits, all the way to Mayor Bob Leonard Park on the west side of town,” she reports.
While we’re all ready to return to pre-pandemic “normal,” one of many things we learned to appreciate during quarantine is walking, and I don’t see us returning to a completely car-centric lifestyle. It’s not just about fresh air and exercise; it’s about loving your community and interacting with it in a more personal way.
It’s comforting to walk to a local restaurant where you know you’ll see your neighbors, and the view from a greenway is always better than the view from behind the steering wheel. Plus, when you can park your car and walk anywhere you want to go, life’s almost like a vacation.
Town of Farragut marketing and public relations coordinator Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.