Ramps Closed. Open for Business.

We love the beautiful historic architecture in Downtown Knoxville. It’s one of the many qualities that give downtown her charm. But maintaining that lovely historic quality requires work, and we’ve got a big project underway.

On Monday, September 16, 2019, the cobblestone ramps at the intersection of Jackson Ave and Gay St will be closed. Honestly, a bit more than closed; the ramps will be completely removed and restored. That means when you get to the intersection of Gay and Jackson, you won’t find cobblestone streets or sidewalks leading east and west. You’ll find fencing. And restaurants, tap rooms, whiskey distilleries, retail, salons, event venues, and all types of businesses open!

The project is estimated to take a year. So here’s a quick list of questions – and answers – to help you navigate this journey.

Are businesses open?

Yes, yes, yes! Businesses on Jackson Ave, businesses in the Old City, and businesses on Gay St are open as usual and ready for business.

Are the streets closed?

No. Streets are open. Gay St, Central St, and State St are all open. Jackson Ave is open too. Only the ramps are closed and a small section of Jackson Ave that runs under Gay St. There’s no through traffic on Jackson Ave under Gay St, so you'll need to access businesses on Jackson west of Gay from Broadway and businesses east of Gay from State or Central.

Where do I park?

Parking lots are all open.

If you’re heading to parking areas on Jackson west of Gay St, you’ll need to access Jackson from Broadway.

You can continue to access the parking lots under James White Parkway or any parking area on Jackson east of Gay St from Central St or State St.

Are the sidewalks closed?

No. Sidewalks on Gay St, Jackson Ave, and throughout the Old City are open. Oh…except the sidewalks along the ramps. They’ll be gone!

If I’m walking from Gay Street or Market Square, how do I get to Jackson Ave?

When you get to the intersection of Gay St and Jackson Ave, the ramps and sidewalks going both east and west will be gone! But look for the staircase with the colorful mural and super-cool lighting at the intersection just north of Gay St. Although there’s no through traffic on Jackson under Gay St, an east-west pedestrian walkway will remain open throughout construction. When you get to the bottom of the steps, turn left or right and you’ll find businesses open in both directions. And there will be directional signage to guide your way.

You can take the staircase at Jackson and Gay to get to all the businesses on Jackson Ave. You can also access businesses west of Jackson via Broadway. There’s no impact to State St or Central St so you can get to the Old City by walking down Summit Hill and turning down State or Central. Sidewalks, roads, and parking are open.

And the free trolleys will still be running. The Green Line will take you between Market Square, Gay St, and the Old City. A Green Line trolley comes around about every 10 minutes. Monday through Thursday, 7am to 8pm; Friday, 7am to 10pm, and Saturday 9am to 10pm. Sundays are for walking.

Why is this happening?

The ramps are 100 years old (built in 1919-1920) and they need some work! Plans are to reuse the cobblestone bricks to maintain the historic feel of the new, much-improved bridge. And it’s a big project. The timeline is estimated to be about a year.

Is there a map that shows parking and how to get around?

Yep, we've got one of those below. You can also download it here.

Still want more information?

You can find details on the project at knoxvilletn.gov/jacksonavenue.

And if you’re inclined to support local, please show the businesses in this area some extra support over the next year!