Chattanooga Earns $4 Million in Federal Grants to Improve Pedestrian Safety, Walkability and Connectivity

$2 Million Reconnecting Communities grant will help planning and engineering for Westside Evolves, $2 Million Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation grant to implement technology for detecting vulnerable road users at mid-block crossings.

Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 14, 2024) — The US Department of Transportation has announced that the City of Chattanooga has earned $4 million in two federal grants that will help the city improve pedestrian safety and connect our communities. 

“We can’t have One Chattanooga when our neighborhoods are literally disconnected and inaccessible to each other, or when people don’t feel safe crossing the street,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “I want to thank the U.S. Department of Transportation for awarding us these grants. They will help us make meaningful progress connecting and protecting our people as we strive to make Chattanooga the best city in America.” 

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded Chattanooga a $2 million planning grant from the Reconnecting Communities & Neighborhoods program  to conduct crucial feasibility and design work on infrastructure components of the Westside Evolves plan. Residents have said that US-27 and Riverfront Parkway together contribute to the neighborhood’s isolation and residents’ feelings of separation from the broader fabric of Chattanooga. The Westside Evolves plan’s recommendations include two crucial new street connections, as well as other street improvements that will reconnect the disadvantaged neighborhood to economic, recreational, and social opportunities in Downtown Chattanooga and the Riverfront district.

USDOT has also awarded Chattanooga a $2 million Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant to implement a solution for improving safety at mid-block crossings for pedestrians, bicyclists, and others not in vehicles. The solution will be based in Cellular Vehicle to Everything technology  (known as C2VX) with a focus in the 3rd Street “Health” Corridor between Siskin Drive and Glenwood Drive. This stretch of road connects underserved communities with transit services, schools, and medical facilities and also provides residents with transportation connections among Erlanger, Parkridge, and Memorial Hospitals. 

The goals of this grant-funded project are to use innovative technologies to make roads safer for all users in this area of Chattanooga and beyond, to make transit and other types of transportation more efficient, and to serve as a model for cities around the world. Initial project work will focus on planning and prototyping the best use of technologies to achieve the project goals. 

The City will lead the project and collaborate with six partners to deliver on the project goals. Those partners are: University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Audi, Leidos, Qualcomm, Harman, and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.