NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville now has a new kind of crosswalks to improve the safety and experience of everyone who walks around downtown.
The first “pedestrian scramble” crosswalk was installed on Broadway between Second and Fifth avenues this week.
The intersection is one of the county’s busiest with high pedestrian volumes and 15,000 vehicles traveling through the area each day.
The pedestrian scramble, also known as the “Barnes dance,” gives walk signal to all pedestrians in all directions at the same time while drivers are stopped in all directions.
The primary advantage is that pedestrians can cross the intersection without any conflicting motor vehicle movements
Pedestrians can cross the intersection straight or diagonally, thereby completing two crossings at once.
Cyclists must dismount and walk their bicycles if they want to cross on the pedestrian scramble signal. Cyclists who do not dismount their bicycles are legally considered vehicles and must obey vehicular traffic signals.
Mayor Megan Barry said the change is intended to increase safety while balancing the needs of all modes of transportation downtown.
“My goal is to improve mobility throughout the county and to make our streets and public spaces safer and more livable,” she said.
According to city officials, the “Barnes dance” takes its name from traffic engineer Henry Barnes, who served as street commissioner for a number of major American cities in the 20th century, including Denver, Baltimore, and New York.
“Barnes didn’t invent the pedestrian scramble, but he did popularize it during his time in office. The Barnes dance got its name when a reporter wrote that the crossings made the people so happy they were dancing in the streets,” officials explained in a release.
While visitors and locals alike get used to the new crosswalks, Metro Public Works and police plan to monitor their use.