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Lower Broadway Pilot Pedestrian Improvements Update

December 14, 2015

Metro Public Works continues to work in partnership with Metro Nashville Police Department, Downtown Merchants, Downtown Partnership, and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau on the Pedestrian Pilot Project on Lower Broadway. The goals of the project are to maximize the safety and experience for all users.

Prior to the Pedestrian Pilot Project, Lower Broadway, which experiences a high amount of pedestrian volume during the daytime and evening hours, had a relatively small and confined pedestrian space. The Pilot Project includes expanding the very busy pedestrian area with the use of temporary barriers. The barriers provide protection from traffic for the pedestrians, while also increasing the pedestrian realm, and reduce the conflict created when pedestrians illegally cross mid-block. At the same time, the loading zone is more efficiently utilized for all types of loading, whether it is for musicians with gear, passenger loading, or the typical freight needs of the Lower Broadway businesses.

The Pedestrian Pilot Project, which began in mid-August, is aimed to improve the pedestrian realm on Lower Broadway through the changes described below:

  • Placing portable inter-linking fencing/railing units to designate a new edge of the expanded pedestrian area from 1st to 5th Avenues. This adds approximately 6' of additional pedestrian zone where on-street parking had been located.
  • Dedicating a 24 hour loading zone for all modes of loading (deliveries, musicians, etc).
  • Relocating carriage stands off of Broadway and onto the side streets.
  • Establishing Taxi stands on 4th Ave S (northbound and southbound)
  • New signal phasing, where pedestrians have been given their own crossing phase at each traffic signal on Lower Broadway. This means that pedestrians can cross all four legs of each intersection while vehicles have a red light.

The Pilot Project began in mid-August, and will continue until evaluation is complete and direction is determined. Since the pilot began, Metro Public Works has made changes based upon feedback and evaluation. This includes modifying loading zone signage, reconfiguring the fencing layout and developing a new striping plan for pedestrian crossing which will be implemented Winter 2016.

Metro Public Works has received mostly positive feedback from the public through meetings and through our customer service center. Metro Public Works has also received many ideas from the public. These include ideas ranging from closing lower Broadway to vehicular traffic to adding street furniture to extending the pilot permanently.

Metro Public Works is evaluating all of these ideas and continues to work with stakeholders to ensure that all modes of transportation are taken into consideration including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and vehicles.

The following evaluation will continue to take place to determine best options for the future of Lower Broadway:

  • Monitor Conditions
  • Receive Public Input & Evaluate
  • Collect Additional Data during Pilot Project
  • Evaluate Long-term Treatments

During the late Fall/Winter months additional evaluation will be taking place regarding the impact of winter weather, snow, ice, etc. as well as the impact during special events on the effectiveness of the program.

To date, the pilot has been successful as evidenced by improved safety and customer feedback. The pilot has provided a mechanism for the Nashville community to adjust to and evaluate new ways of experiencing this vibrant corridor.