2-way street conversion at 5th Ave. North nearly complete - WKRN News 2

2-way street conversion at 5th Ave. North nearly complete

Posted: Updated: May 9, 2013 05:48 PM

Fifth Avenue North from Broadway to James Robertson Parkway is being converted to a two-way street.

The conversion began Thursday morning and five blocks have already been changed.

According to Metro Public Works Chief Traffic Engineer, Chip Knauf, the conversion is long overdue.  

"Studies about 10 years ago said Fifth Avenue should be two way. Then the [Music City Center] came along and did a new study that also said it should be two-way for accessibility," Knauf explained.

He told Nashville's News 2 that two-way traffic is safer for pedestrians.  

"The two-way streets of course have head-to-head traffic that slows down your speeds but when you have one-ways, higher speeds are not necessarily pedestrian friendly," Knauf continued.

He also said it is hard to make everyone happy and some people resist change, but Autumn Friese, the managers of Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant located at the corner of Fifth and Church, thinks the two-way street will be great for business.

"I think it is going to be good and it is going to get people down here and it is a great gateway to the Music City Center.  I think it will be great," she said.

Knauf said Public Works has already added traffic signals and lots of signage to alert drivers of the changes.

"It is training and this will be training. People will maybe turn the wrong way that is why we will have some police control down there. That is why we have signage. Maybe it looks overboard, but it will eventually get pulled back as people get used to it," he explained.

Metro Public Works is asking drivers to be patient throughout the conversion process, which should be completely finished by May 20.

"We will be fine tuning this as we go, so bear with us and give us some time," Knauf concluded.

The next phase of the conversion project will be Fifth Avenue North from Lafayette Street up to Broadway.

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