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Downtown Nashville Pedestrian Improvement Project Draws Mixed Reviews

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Aug 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 16:39:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A pilot program designed to increase pedestrian safety along Lower Broadway hasn't been getting positive reviews from everyone.

Metro Public Works’ Pilot Pedestrian Improvement Project began Tuesday. Already, some cab drivers and horse carriage operators have been frustrated.

“We’re causing traffic problems, and sometimes police ticket us and we are just trying to make a living,” said Jonathan Formica, a cab driver. “That’s all we’re doing.”

“I’m frustrated because I don’t know what our future holds as far as my income,” said Sara Williams, with Cumberland Carriage Tours. “They need to think about what they are doing. This will impact a lot of businesses, not just us.”

Metro Public Works said the project is designed to increase pedestrian safety in the heavily-traveled area on Broadway between 1st and 5th Avenues. The project will expand sidewalks to allow an extra 6 feet of walking space for pedestrians. It will also add a loading zone at 1st Avenue South and Broadway, and designate two taxi stands on 2nd Avenue South and 4th Avenue South.

Carriage operators said the loading zone on 1st Avenue South has less foot traffic and that has been impacting business. Cab drivers said they end up sharing the loading zone with the carriages which causes traffic backups.

“They need to take into consideration that patrons and visitors here need transportation of some form,” said Formica.

Metro Public Works officials stressed this is just a pilot program to try to determine the best ways to make downtown safe for pedestrians. There have been accidents in the past, and they want to prevent future problems.

“Us and the police department, visitors bureau, downtown partnership and businesses were involved in coming up with what we hope is a good solution,” said Chip Knauf, Metro Chief Traffic Engineer. “We’re watching it closely. We do not want to create a problem by attempting to fix a problem.”

The pilot program was set to continue for three months, and then Public Works will assess the changes and make any necessary adjustments.

Officials have encouraged people to offer feedback. People were asked to call (615) 862-8750 or complete an online customer service form by clicking here. Be sure to type "Lower Broadway Pilot" in the description field.

For more information on the project click here.