NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Inside Downtown Presbyterian Church on Tuesday morning, a 30 minute presentation detailed the changes many residents have been wanting for downtown Nashville.
“I replace a tire (for my wheelchair) about every four to six weeks because of jagged, broken sidewalks,” said Joy Andal.
For Andal, the city’s infrastructure is something she knows needs some work.
“The closer you get into town, the better the mobility is, (and) accessibility for sidewalks, but the further out you go, the more sad a situation accessibility is,” she said.
So after lots of planning, the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) has released a draft of their plan called Connect Downtown.
NDOT has partnered with WeGo Public Transit, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), and the Nashville Downtown Partnership to help make downtown travel more reliable, comfortable, faster, and safer.
“A good downtown is walkable,” said Marty Sewell, NDOT’s transportation director. “It’s safe, (and) it has plenty of modes of transportation to use.”
Sewell and said after delaying things for years, they wanted to finally work to improve mobility for the downtown area.
Over the next 10 years, multiple projects addressing key issues like congestion, safety, and complete networks will be implemented in three phases.
Some of those projects include creating a transit priority corridor for WeGo buses, adding new mobility lanes for cyclists and scooters, and making one way streets for many key areas downtown.
“Everyone won’t necessarily get exactly what they want, but we want to make sure our recommendations aren’t hurting business or making it unsafe or things of that nature,” said Sewell. “We want the businesses to continue to work.”
The draft study recommendations will focus on five high level “big moves,” which include:
- Manage Congestion — Upgrade signals, convert select streets to one-way or two-way travel, improve traffic operations, and better manage special events to keep people moving and improve system resiliency
- Improve Safety — Advance Vision Zero projects and programs to make Downtown’s streets safer for people, especially the most vulnerable travelers
- Move More People — Prioritize buses on key corridors and increase the amount of service to provide faster and more reliable trips throughout the entire regional transit network
- Create Complete Networks — Develop safe, separated, and connected walking, biking, rolling, and scooting facilities for people to get into, around, and through Downtown
- Maximize the Curb — Flex the uses of the curb throughout the day for deliveries, service vehicles, and passenger pick-up and drop-off to support local businesses, venues, and residents
So far, Andal likes the many ideas presented.
“I saw lots of wheelchairs in the presentation,” she said. “I feel like they’ve been hearing people that are saying, ‘We want mobility.'”
Now NDOT officials will work to collect resident feedback in hopes their final plan will help improve the downtown area no matter how you get there.
“We’re a car-centric society, and lets get back to the mobility of walking and rolling, or cycling,” said Andal.
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NDOT will hold its next open house Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nashville Farmer’s Market located at 900 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard.
Those who are unable to attend can still provide input and comments through NDOT’s survey, which can be found here.
You can find more information about the project here.