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VOL. 35 | NO. 18 | Friday, May 6, 2011

Design sessions offer ideas for stops along transit route

By Judy Sarles

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A recent design charette at Nashville Civic Design Center sought input from members of the community on the connection between land use and transit along the Broadway/West End Corridor.

At the invitation of Transit Now, the charette, the first of three, was conducted by Metropolitan Transit Authority and planning and engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff and design firm Hawkins Partners, which are working on a Broadway/West End Corridor study.

Charette participants were asked for their ideas on how to enhance the livability of the Broadway/West End Corridor through land use and transit station placement. The charette was led by Laura Aldrete, senior supervising planner in the PlaceMaking group at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Aldrete suggested participants think about how transit and land use in the corridor would connect and how they could build off one another in order to create a sense of community.

“It should be a community vision,” Aldrete says, “not just about the stations and the transit.”

The firms are taking a look at the proposals made at the charette and will use them to come up with three land-use alternatives that will be examined further at the next charette, which will be scheduled for the early part of midsummer.

The following are some of the ideas offered by the charette participants who divided up into groups focusing on individual sections along the Broadway/West End Corridor:

Harding Road and White Bridge Road Intersection: The traffic-congested area might need four mass transit stops that are closely spaced. High-density, multi-storied, mixed-use development with structured parking would be appropriate for the location. Residential development needs to be beefed up quite a bit. Flood plain development should not only focus on greenways and recreation but flood control as well.

Section of West End Crossing 440 Parkway: The 440 right of way at the interchange might serve as a development opportunity. Plantings, trees, and green space would enhance the area, which could contain buildings or a park and ride facility. Heading toward downtown, West End should retain its progression from mainly residential on the west side of 440 to commercial development as it heads downtown, with commercial development up to 12 stories high. West End itself could be transformed into the city’s premier boulevard through landscaping, a median, planters, well-lit areas, and wide sidewalks. West End is also suitable for bike lanes, and bike lockers could be installed at mass-transit stations. Mass transit would make more frequent stops along West End as it approaches downtown, but stops would be less frequent beyond 440 going west.

West End and Broadway Split: The section should create a neighborhood connection, with entertainment opportunities. The distinctive country music billboard should not be removed. Church Street and West End would form borders for an even larger corridor. Station suggestions include Elliston Place and the hospitals area.

Downtown: Instead of extending the mass transit line across the Cumberland River from Broadway, the line would go up Second Avenue, which could become a pedestrian-only street. The line might head up Woodland Street and Main Street as well, which could spur redevelopment along Main Street. There would be more stops on one of the corridors in order to serve restaurants and other commercial development. The other corridor would be a faster line, used mostly by commuters. There would be lots of transit stops downtown. Second Avenue and Broadway could be the locale for a major station. A station might also be located at Courthouse Square.

East Nashville: Mass transit should focus more on Woodland Street than on Main Street, because a transit line on Main Street may cause problems for vehicle traffic. Install sidewalks to make the area more pedestrian friendly. Fifth and Main and Five Points are among the transit stops suggested.

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