Checking In On A Campaign Pledge – Driving District 4

Back at the beginning of January, I made the pledge to walk, bike, and drive as much of District 4 as possible. In that post, I speculated that I could get the driving part of that pledge done by Primary Election day, March 3, 2020. Yesterday, as a matter of fact. So, how did I do?

I think I completed my pledge, so let me tell you about it.

I started off trying to do the driving by myself, as I documented here. I found it hard to drive and pay attention to the roads and also take notes where necessary. Also, that first drive was before I had started to make my list of roads and streets that I’m going to use for the next phase of the campaign. So I took note of all of the street names there. Rookie mistake. Not productive, not efficient.

Next I took the time to break down the map and look at neighborhoods and streets where I would endeavor to knock on doors and meet and talk to voters in the coming months. Once I had made that list, I was able to take detours off of my usual routes in just normal driving around town and I started to see things that I hadn’t seen before. For instance, one Sunday, I had to take the grandmas to get their hair done, so I took some back roads to get there. Another Sunday, I let the college kiddo drive the van back to campus and I took notes as we went through neighborhoods I had never seen before. Then, this past weekend, I did the driving and had the love of my life in the passenger seat taking down notes for me. We pretty much finished all of the areas of the District I had left to cover, with a little time to walk around Lakeshore Park when we were done.

I found that I couldn’t drive for more than two hours at a time before all of the houses and neighborhoods started to blur together. We also noticed a serious lack of walkable areas, some flooding and some streets and roads that could use some TLC.

I’ve also had a chance to experience some of the traffic challenges we have in the District, like around Northshore Elementary School at certain times and the intersection of Morrell and Westland at rush hour. Not to mention the flooding issues we’ve had in the last two Februarys, which require significant re-routing to be able to get from point A to B.

The rules of the road for my drive were that I was going to focus on residential areas, although I saw plenty of business areas, as well. I didn’t drive into any gated areas or super narrow roads. I didn’t drive down all cul-de-sacs. I tried to observe any unusual features and check them out against Google maps or KGIS maps. I observed the speed limit. In fact, I probably drove too slow for some of the people that were unlucky enough to be following me at times.

Here are the areas I covered:

  • The roads from Northshore down Keller Bend
  • The roads from Northshore down Toole Bend
  • The roads from Northshore down Lyons Bend
  • The streets bounded by Northshore to the south, Hart Road to the west, Bluegrass Road to the north and Ebenezer to the east.
  • The streets between Northshore and Nubbin Ridge, east of Ebenezer, up to Sanford Day
  • The streets between Westland and Northshore, over to Morrell. Also the streets between Gallaher View and Morrell, bounded by Gleason to the north and Westland to the south.
  • All of the streets between Morrell and Lakeshore Park on the east and between Northshore and Westland.
  • Everything between Morrell and Northshore to the east, with I-40 to the north and Westland to the south.
  • Everything in Sequoyah Hills, south of Kingston Pike
  • North of I-40 from about the RecSports Complex up to Middlebrook Pike and over to Gallaher View.
  • Also, a small section north of Middlebrook bounded by Creekhead Drive and Francis Road.

There’s one other thing to note about District 4 that I was able to check out during my drive. I have some questions about how this District was drawn. Specifically, I wonder about why the line was drawn the way it was up in the Westborough area, on Hunterhill Drive, north of Middlebrook Pike. The line between Districts 3 and 4 was drawn to include two houses from Hunterhill Drive in District 4, leaving the rest of Hunterhill Drive in District 3. It looks like it’s going to be up to the Commission to look at the District lines after the 2020 census, so you should expect to hear more from me on this.

Anyway, that pretty much gives you the outline of District 4. And I think I hit about 92-95% of the district in my van. I’ll give myself an A-.

Let me know what you think.

Published by Todd Frommeyer for Knox County Commission

Retired Air Force JAG, former Navy Russian linguist, former consumer financial regulator, political junkie

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