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Metro Public Works to install left-sided bikeway on Magnolia Boulevard with goal of increasing the comfort and safety of bicyclists

June 14, 2016

Contacts:
Jenna Smith (615) 880-2439 direct, (615)967-8186 cell
Kennetha Price (615) 862-8763 direct, (615) 210-6004 cell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 14, 2016) –Metro Public Works is making preparations to install a left-side protected bike lane on Magnolia Boulevard along the corridor from 21st Avenue South to Division Street. The bike lane will be installed as part of the re-paving of Magnolia Boulevard this summer.

“The presence of the bike lanes in this area are a great asset to the Nashville community for the connection of cyclists from the Gulch and downtown areas to the Hillsboro/Vanderbilt/Belmont areas,” said Mayor Megan Barry. This project is an example of how we can increase the protection of bicyclists through well-designed roadway infrastructure projects. My goal is to find and implement the best solutions available to achieve more convenient and safe transportation options for people whether they chose to ride a bicycle, drive a car, or walk. This project is an important step toward that goal.”

Mayor Megan Barry signed Executive Order No. 031, Green and Complete Streets on May 24, 2016. The executive order provides a framework for Green and Complete street transportation options through roadway infrastructure improvements in Nashville and Davidson County.

RPM Transportation Consultants, LLC (RPM) conducted a bike feasibility study earlier this June of the Magnolia Blvd corridor. The study analyzed the corridor’s existing bike lanes and conducted traffic analysis to determine the best option for improving biking along this route . The RPM study found that over 7600 vehicles per day travel through Magnolia Boulevard, and while the posted speed limit is 35 mph a high percentage of drivers were speeding 5-10 miles over the posted speed limit. To improve safety through this route, recommended features of the new bikeway include:

  • A left-side bike lane with a 2-foot buffer zone installed between the vehicular travel lane and the left-side bike lane;
  • Traffic delineators installed in the buffer zone to provide added protection for the bicyclists;
  • Improved signage and improved detection for bicycles at signals.

“Magnolia Boulevard is an important artery for bicyclists and I am thrilled that this project is getting underway,” said Councilmember Burkley Allen. “The improved design will make it safer for those traveling through this area whether by car or bicycle.”

Left-side bike lanes are only recommended in unique situations. Generally it is recommended that bicycle lanes be installed on the right-hand side of the street, unless conflicts can be greatly reduced by installing the lane on the left-hand side. Left-side bicycle lanes on one-way streets may also be considered where there are frequent transit stops, high usage of on-street parking, unusually high numbers of right turning motor vehicles, or if there is a significant number of left-turning bicyclists. A number of other cities including New York City, NY, Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA and Naples, FL, are also installing left-side bike lanes where feasible to help increase the comfort and confidence of bicyclists on their streets. This is Nashville’s 2nd use of left-side bike lane. The first is located on South Street between 16th Ave and 18th Ave S.

“The new left-side protected bikeway will increase biking comfort, especially for novice riders and will also reduce potential conflicts between drivers and cyclists; protecting cyclists from collisions that can occur from vehicle doors as occupants step out to exit,” said Mark Macy, Public Works Director. “Improving the experience for cyclists also allows others to see that riding a bike can be a safe and practical way to get around.”

Nashville has 250 miles of bikeways including shared routes and dedicated lanes, and Metro Public Works is in the process of updating the strategic sidewalk and bikeways master plan with the WalknBike project. The goal of this year long process is to connect people to places they need and want to go through a network of the highest quality, comfortable, and safe bikeways and sidewalks. To date, nearly 1,800 Nashville residents have completed the 1st survey providing their opinions and input on the state of walking and biking in Nashville, and 3,600 points, lines, and comments have been recorded on the interactive project map. To view survey results, please visit http://nashvillewalknbike.com/testimonials/. A 2nd survey is being developed which will dig deeper into public views, opinions, and needs with regard to making Nashville more walkable and bikeable.

In addition to a robust public engagement process, the WalknBike project includes evaluation of peer and aspirational cities, updated inventory of Davidson County’s sidewalks and bikeways, modernized project prioritization, a comprehensive funding strategy, and new tools to provide easier access to information about implementation and program progress. To learn more and to get involved with this process, please visit: http://nashvillewalknbike.com/.

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About Nashville WalknBike

Led by Metro Public Works, Metro project team members include Metro Planning Commission, Metro Public Health Department, MTA, MPO, Metro Nashville Police Department, Metro General Services, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Metro Parks and Recreation. The project team is also composed of Alta Planning + Design, Civic Engineering and Information Technology, Hawkins Partners, Inc., MP&F Public Relations, and a steering committee made up of internal and external partners.