Pigeon Forge discusses changes at Teaster parking lot

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 11:38 PM

The city met with an engineering consulting firm to discuss the first phases of striping plans for the city parking lot on Teaster Lane, which will serve the upcoming LeConte Center and Island development.

Representatives from CDM Smith attended the city commission's work session on Tuesday to present what they felt were the first steps toward improving the parking lot before the developments open. Their suggestions were broken into two phases: striping the parking lot and Teaster, and creating an area for bus parking.

"The first thing we think needs to happen is a signing and striping plan for that interior road system," said Jeff Mize of CDM Smith.

Mize stressed that the last thing they want is for Island Drive, which will connect to the parking lot from both the Parkway and Teaster, to become a cut-through street. Mize's solution was to discourage traffic by placing all-way stops inside the parking lot and limiting speed to around 15 mph.

"That way, if you do have trams crossing that intersection, everybody's got to stop," Mize said. "I think if we leave that open without the stop signs, there's too much potential for conflict."

Mize also discussed adding a left turn lane to enter the parking lot from Teaster. The plan is to create the turn lane by cutting into the 16-foot median.

"I don't think we could make this work without doing (the turn lane) because that's a terrible turn right there," Mayor David Wear said. "And you don't want to hold up Teaster."

Public Works Director Mark Miller also noted that the parking lot will need to be re-striped before the opening.

"We're going to need to paint it with our own crews," Miller said.

Mize advised that the above changes be made by the end of the month, when the Island is slated to open.

The next phase, to be completed by LeConte Center's October opening, is to create an area for bus and RV parking. Mize's suggestion is to take the separate northwest area of the parking lot and convert it from roughly 240 car spaces to 150 bus spaces.

"If we could go with 45-degree angle parking around the (perimeter) of lot, and 45-degree angle parking on the inside, we could fit 150 bus spaces" Mize said. "It wipes out all that car parking, so it's a trade-off."

Signage for tram stops was also discussed. The parking lot will likely feature the common A, B, C, etc. signs to designate sections of the parking lot where trams stop.

"Phase three is putting in stations for the trolleys," Mize said.

Wear asked whether any traffic control device would be put in at the Teaster intersection.

"Not yet," Mize said. "We haven't discussed that yet, but it'll get there."

rhargett@themountainpress.com