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Mayor Leads Community Celebration at Opening of 28th Avenue Connector

10/2/2012

Inaugural Bridge Crossing Includes Walkers, Bicyclists, City Bus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean today led the grand opening of the 28th Avenue Connector, which unites parts of West End with North Nashville, during a community celebration. The Connector is a new one-third mile road that connects 28th Avenue in North Nashville to 31st Avenue in West Nashville with a bridge spanning the CSX railroad that runs behind Centennial Park.

“The 28th Avenue Connector is an important new road for our city,” Dean said. “The bridge reconnects two vital parts of Nashville, which will accelerate economic activity around that area. I am proud that the Connector is pedestrian and bike friendly, includes bus stops and incorporates public art into its design. Commuters, college students, visitors and residents will quickly appreciate the convenience of this new road.”

The Connector creates a better line of traffic for several key destinations, including universities and hospitals. It will serve the new University Connector cross-town bus route that connects six universities, including TSU, Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and Lipscomb University, as well as important healthcare centers like HCA, Centennial Medical Center and Vanderbilt.

An inaugural bridge crossing was led by Mayor Dean and the marching band from Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School. The procession included walkers, bicyclists and a city bus to illustrate how the Connector is a “complete street” in that it allows for all forms of transportation with sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops. Six new bus shelters, solar LED lighting, a high efficiency irrigation system and other green, complete street design components are included in the Connector.

Public art projects were funded by Metro’s Percent for Art program. They include:

Thread, by artist David Dahlquist, which is incorporated into the bridge and is made up of more than 150 steel panels symbolizing quilt squares, patterns, threads and knots. The artwork was inspired by quilt squares created during community workshops at Hadley Park Community Center in 2011. A stainless steel “thread” weaves through the artwork and across the bridge symbolically connecting two formerly separated neighborhoods and cultural areas.

Needle, also by Dahlquist, which is featured in the two transit shelters nearest Centennial Park. It complements the bridge artwork by incorporating knot and thread symbols, as well as a large sewing needle.

Magnolia Shelters, by artist Kevin Berry, which are four transit shelters with design inspired by iconic elements found in both Centennial and Hadley parks to symbolize how the Connector unites two unique and diverse communities. The transit shelter canopy symbolizes the massive roof structure covering the performance pavilion at Hadley Park, and the columns are reminiscent of the fluted columns supporting the roof of the Parthenon at Centennial Park. The shelter’s shade screens and cast concrete bench celebrate the beauty of the magnolia trees in the community.

The $18 million project was included in the 2011 fiscal year capital spending plan. Construction by Bell & Associates began in May, 2011. The Connector project team was led by Metro Public Works Engineering Division. Other team members included Metro Water Services, Metro Arts Commission, Metro Parks & Recreation, Metro Transit Authority, Gresham Smith & Partners, Littlejohn Engineering Associates, Hawkins Partners and CDM Smith.