Oakwood- a Streetcar Neighborhood in North Knoxville, TN

For the evaluation I used the commonly excepted boundaries of Oakwood and extended it west to include Central Avenue and areas west to the train tracks.

Oakwood was developed starting in the early 20th century and started as a quiet streetcar community with easy access to Dwtn. The neighborhood was annexed into the City of Knoxville in 1917. The Community filled out by around WWII but the commercial districts along Central, Woodland, and Broadway were slow to development and unfortunately turned out pretty autocentric.

The district is characterized by pretty 1910s-1930s homes set on mostly sidewalk lined streets with decent bike and public transit access, and a convenient 5 minute drive to Downtown Knoxville. But I wouldn’t characterize Oakwood as necessarily walkable as the density is low, business and cultural amenities are limited, and the commercial districts are not very urban. Oakwood does have a good array of affordable/moderately priced homes, but few rentals. Overall the community is safe and there are a decent number of park amenities. What Oakwood mostly needs is a population boom and creation of mixed-use urban corridors along Central, Woodland, and Broadway. That would good a long way towards creating a quality urban district here.

Click here to view my Oakwood album on Flickr


* Very convenient access to Dwtn. Only a 5 minute drive. Bus ride is 30-40 minutes.
* Decent bike lane infrastructure but no dedicated bike stations in Oakwood.
* Solid connectivity here.
* Excellent economic and generational diversity. Ok racial diversity.
* For sale hsg is pretty moderately priced. Some small 1-beds selling in the 100Ks, 2-bed 150K-300K, 3 & 4 beds btwn 175K-375K.
* Decent park amenities with the medium size Christen berry Ballfields and Fulton Bicentennial Park. A couple other pocket parks.
* Good tree canopy but not as full as most southern neighborhoods.
* Overall a pretty safe community.


* ADA infrastructure and sidewalks are very hit or miss. About 1/2 of the residential streets have sidewalks and ADA curbs are often missing from the arterial roads.
* So  public transit.
* Decent # of schools but mixed ratings.
* Smaller rentals are very hard to come by. 1-beds lease in the low 1Ks, 2-beds in the mid 1Ks. and 3 beds (which seem most common) around 2K.
* Urban form and streetscaping is pretty poor. While there are sidewalks few buildings are up to the street.
* Pedestrian activity is pretty limited.
* Fair cultural amenities including a decent mix of American & Mexican restaurants, a cafe, a couple breweries, and the Knoxville Children’s Theater. Convenient access to the cultural amenities of adjacent urban neighborhoods and certainly Dwtn.
* Slightly more retail amenities although generally set in an autocentric setting… Supermarket, a bakery, a couple drug stores, a couple boutiques/consignment stores, an ice cream store, a  post office, and a couple churches.