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Bicycle, pedestrian safety plan accepted

A master plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in downtown McMinnville is complete, but only time will tell if any of the strategies within it are implemented by the city of McMinnville.

McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously “accepted” a 171-page plan that outlines suggested improvements, short-term projects, mid-term projects, long-term projects, implementation, potential funding sources, and grant opportunities.

Board members expressed concern for the resolution, as written, tying the hands of the city and requiring it to move forward with the suggested projects. 

“I have big reservations about some of this,” said Vice Mayor Everett Brock. “Not all of it, but some of it.”

Several projects were recommended, including providing an east-west connection from Riverfront Park to Rocket Park by reconfiguring the roadway – Colville Street and Beersheba Highway – between the two and improving the intersections at South Chancery and East Main streets.

Part of the reconfiguration would be lane reduction. 

“I have concerns with taking a four-lane road that has 11,000 vehicles a day on it and turning it into a two-lane road,” said Brock. “That one stuck out at me. I can’t see taking this and making it two lanes. I’d rather find a way for bikes to get around other than that.” 

To ease concerns, city attorney Tim Pirtle reviewed the resolution and suggested the term “adopt” be replaced with “accept” and a complete sentence be struck from the resolution. 

The master plan was constructed as a joint project between the Tourism Development Board, city of McMinnville and Tennessee Department of Transportation. Funds for the project came from a $75,000 Community Transportation Planning Grant received in 2020.  

After making the suggested legal changes, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the resolution to accept the master plan aimed at improving bicycle and pedestrian safety.