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NDOT unveils 'complete street' design for 12th Avenue South

It will incorporate bikeways, greenery and pedestrian infrastructure
12 south redesign rendering
Posted at 9:31 AM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 11:24:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A long-delayed street upgrade will transform 12th Avenue S. into the first complete and green street of its kind in Metro Nashville.

The Nashville Department of Transportation unveiled the design Monday afternoon, five years after residents ranked the 1.5-mile stretch of 12th Avenue S. as the top priority bikeway project in town.

The stretch connects the Gulch to the 12 South neighborhood through Edgehill and past Belmont University. It passes houses, apartments, churches, a school and a library along the way.

The design calls for driving lanes to slim from four to two to make way for bike lanes protected by bioswales (islands filled with greenery which also help manage stormwater), along with better pedestrian crossings, enhanced bus stops and even parking in some areas.

In an email, NDOT spokesperson Cortnye Stone called it a "truly multimodal approach to transportation planning."

It was funded years ago, and after several delays, Council Member Colby Sledge, who represents the area, said he's glad the city will finally deliver.

"The important thing to me, more than anything, is that everyone is able to feel safe and feel like they can get from one place to another in their community," Sledge said. "This street is going to move from a hazard to a real asset in our neighborhoods."

The project will build out what's currently five lanes of asphalt (two in each direction with a constant turn lane) based on ideas from numerous community meetings dating back to 2017.

Currently, the road slims to two lanes, but not until the start of the highly pedestrian 12 South neighborhood.

"There are major portions of 12th that are five lanes across the road, and we have a lot of people trying to cross and they don’t have a safe way to do it," Sledge said.

The design also calls for flashing lights at pedestrian crossings to help.

Sledge credits community members and public pressure for finally getting the project off the ground, citing turnover, lack of departmental organization and cost-saving plans as contributing to the long process.

"I hope that we can make those processes a little quicker and, quite frankly, a little less painful in the future," Sledge said. "People participated and eventually their government listened, and they’ll see the results from that."

NDOT's Stone says the department is "grateful to
council members and residents for their insights and engagement as we worked to develop the appropriate design for the corridor."

Sledge hopes the "complete and green street" design will be a model for other Nashville neighborhoods, prioritizing modes of transportation like walking and biking.

Stone said NDOT is on board.

"We look forward to delivering other high-quality complete and green street projects across Metro as we implement our WalknBike plan and 2022 – 2024 sidewalk and bikeway work plans," she said.

NDOT plans to begin construction for the project at the end of May and hopes to finish it by the end of the year.

The department says it's planning future community meetings to present the plan and answer questions from residents.