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Whole Foods brings more traffic to Papermill Drive | News

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Whole Foods brings more traffic to Papermill Drive
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ID=70811636(WBIR-Knoxville) The popularity of Whole Foods in West Knoxville is bringing thousands of people and traffic to Papermill Plaza.

The area of Papermill Drive in front of the shopping center is one lane on both sides. Cars turning into Papermill Plaza can cause a long backup, and cars turning out can cause a traffic jam in the parking lot.

"Papermill has been backed up the whole way almost all the time," Kelli Thompson, a Whole Foods shopper, said.

City of Knoxville officials said the area has always been zoned for large retailers, but the property was vacant for a while. With the additions of REI, Whole Foods, and other stores, the shopping center is seeing an uptick in traffic.

"It's been very busy the couple of times we've been over here to go to Whole Foods," Sue Anderson, a Whole Foods shopper, said.

Knoxville leaders said they're going to study the traffic flow, especially once the initial crowd dies down. They said there is not an easy short-term fix.

City officials said light synchronization is not a good option and adding turn lanes to Papermill Drive would be difficult, although it's still a possibility.

"Eventually they'll probably expand Papermill, but they probably should have done that a long time ago," Thompson said.

If traffic problems do occur, the city is urging people to call 311 to report the time and location of the issue so they can add that to their traffic research for the area.

"I'm hoping they do something about it," Kai Brown, a Whole Foods shopper, said. "But even if they don't, it's still nice to have the Whole Foods right here."


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