Pedestrian-friendly streets in Chattanooga, TN

Three large, trumpet-shaped reflective sculptures are clustered on a large sidewalk, with a few trees and seating scattered about.

Shared streets reduce or slow traffic by narrowing or redirecting driving space, like in Patten Square.

Photo by NOOGAtoday

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Despite the fact that gas prices are calming down a bit, we’re still kinda over our cars. It’s the Gunbarrel Road traffic for us.

Chattanooga’s recent walkability score was a 29, meaning that it’s undeniably easier to travel by car in the Scenic City. There are, however, certain walkable districts + streets. Let’s explore this type of infrastructure in Chattanooga.

How does a pedestrian-only street work?

Pedestrian-only streets prioritize foot traffic in areas with a high density of walkers by completely restricting vehicular access. These districts are commonly lined with restaurants and shops + are linked to economic benefits for local businesses.

And a shared street?

Shared streets — both commercial + residential — allow outdoor use by converting whole blocks to pedestrian priority areas. That means vehicles are allowed, but traffic will be reduced or slowed by redirecting or narrowing space for driving. Emergency vehicle access, ADA parking, and loading zones are still available.

We’ve talked the talk, now let’s walk the walk in some of the Chattanooga’s pedestrian-friendly areas:

  • Patten Square is an example of a shared street, where the sidewalks are larger + businesses like Lil Mama’s use sidewalk space for seating.
  • Station Street is another shared street example that sometimes shuts down to cars completely for street festivals.
  • The Bend is aiming to be the next — and potentially largest — walkable district in Chattanooga. As a full vehicle-optional neighborhood set to include residential, retail, office, entertainment, and green spaces, the development will be a major pedestrian-friendly area.
  • Back in 2020, River City Co. conducted a few temporary pedestrian-friendly street experiments by shutting down part of Riverfront Parkway to cars. The closures were part of a study for the ONE Riverfront Plan.

Our question for you: If Chattanooga were to introduce pedestrian-only + shared streets, where should they be? Let us know + your ideas could be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

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