NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville has become such a popular destination for visitors that Lower Broadway has become very congested. Sidewalks are overcrowded, causing safety issues.
Tuesday a pilot program began aimed at creating more space and making the sidewalks safer for pedestrians.
Public Works closed the parking lane on the five block stretch between 1st Avenue to 5th Avenue and put up temporary fencing. the fencing gives pedestrians six more feet of safe walking space.
The lane next to the fencing is now a dedicated loading zone, doing away with a through-lane that often results in many double parked vehicles that impede traffic.
Taxi driver Jonathan Formica said it is badly needed.
"There are no cab spots. That's the whole point, in my opinion we have one area down here by the Hard Rock, and one spot right up here, " said Formica.
Now, Metro public works says new taxi stands are going up on Broadway on 2nd Avenue and 4th Avenue.
Metro's chief traffic engineer says he knows all the changes meant for pedestrian safety will reduce traffic flow.
"Moving traffic is down the list a little bit, we were watching that too. We don't want to create a problem by fixing a problem, so yes, we're reducing the travel by a lane, 3 lanes down to 2 lanes," said Chip Knauf.
During rush hour, public works says all three lanes will be used for traffic, and they say they'll be looking to see how everything runs with the new changes trying to keep everyone safe.
The metal fencing now in place will stay there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The pilot program is expected to last up to three months.
If Public Works makes this a permanent program, the metal fencing will be replaced with a more decorative type of barricade.
Along with the changes, the new pedestrian signals at each intersection will continue to allow people to cross in all directions at once.
Project comments may be submitted to Metro Public Works Customer Service Center either by calling (615) 862-8750 or by completing an online customer service form and entering the words, “Lower Broadway Pilot” in the description field.
For more information on this project, please click here.