Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Chattanooga city councilmen for districts 1 and 2 Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell, respectively, recently shared their vision for the North Chattanooga area and sought public feedback through a forum held at a meeting of the North Chattanooga Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
The area the councilmen are focusing on includes the Manufacturers Road exit from Highway 27 to Cherokee Boulevard, and Cherokee Boulevard from the tunnels leading to Red Bank stretching to Frazier Avenue. The area also reaches down North Market Street to where it becomes Dallas Road, and down Frazier Avenue, stretching up to Barton Avenue and the shops at Riverview.
Henderson and Mitchell met with the North Shore Merchants Collective about a month ago and established five main areas of concern: signage, zoning, traffic, trash pickup and safety, said Henderson.
“Our thought process is we’re trying to make sure this part of town remains the best place to live in Chattanooga,” said Mitchell, a North Chattanooga resident for 20-plus years.
He and Henderson are attempting to gather people interested in serving on committees to help facilitate a summit to be held in late September or early October.
Attendees at the recent Chamber meeting brought up issues including the traffic pattern where Dallas Road meets Crestwood Drive, the danger in crossing Frazier Avenue and Market Street and the lack of trash cans in the area.
One North Chattanooga landlord asked how to get the neighborhood near Spears and Bell avenues back to what it once was.
“We need to bring in infrastructure and create an atmosphere where people want to be,” responded Henderson. “That will bring in more desirable people there and flush out some of the undesirables.”
One area worker commented that Manufacturers Road is difficult to cross where it meets Cherokee Boulevard, as people always run the red light.
The councilmen responded that the light may be a good spot to put a traffic camera, or explore options such as lengthening the time of the yellow light at the intersection from five seconds to three seconds. The longer yellow light has been proven to reduce the running of red lights, said Mitchell.
Increasing the Electric Shuttle route to include more of Cherokee Boulevard and adding a sidewalk in the tunnel leading to Red Bank were also discussed.
Northside Neighborhood House Executive Director Rachel Gammon asked about the possibility of adding more affordable housing in the area.
“Coming from a more free-enterprise type background, that’s a tough subject for me,” said Henderson. “When the need is there, the free enterprise will address it.”
Mitchell said part of the problem is people’s view of Section 8 housing, which is seen as bringing more crime to areas where people are given vouchers.