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Lower Broadway Pilot Pedestrian Improvements Update

August 5, 2016

In August 2015, Metro Public Works implemented a pilot project aimed at improving the safety and mobility of the growing numbers of pedestrians on Lower Broadway. The streetscape changes, which most visibly included the installation of temporary fencing, were a product of months of pedestrian observations and data collection as well as working with various stakeholders in the downtown area. In addition to fencing to expand the pedestrian zone, the pilot project included a dedicated universal loading zone and adding “pedestrian only” crossing time (including diagonal crossings) at Lower Broadway intersections.
The pilot project resulted in the determination that traffic, parking, loading, and other vehicular aspects of Lower Broad continued to operate well, even with the usable pedestrian area being expanded into one of the street lanes. The pilot project also had the positive results of:

  • Discouraging pedestrians from crossing Broadway mid-block (away from a traffic signal),
  • Reducing the number of crashes along Lower Broadway, and
  • Increased pedestrian capacity with less frequent overcrowding of sidewalks.

Having observed the impacts through the course of one year, a new phase of study will be undertaken to determine the best form of permanent improvements for the Lower Broadway pedestrian streetscape. As part of the planning of new pedestrian facilities, a “Public Space, Public Life” (PSPL) approach will be used to determine what type of infrastructure will most enhance the Lower Broad experience for tourists, shoppers, and business owners, as well as downtown residents and workers. The PSPL gathers stakeholder and public input in order to understand how people move to, through, and use the public realm. Study also includes analysis of the character, quality, and programming of the spaces that make up the public realm system. As part of the process, additional temporary infrastructure may be used to help find the optimal set of improvements for the corridor. The project and design team will continue to work with downtown stakeholders as improvement ideas are developed, tested, and refined.