The bike lanes on 16th and 17th Aves South, aka Music Row, are some of the oldest bike lanes in Nashville. Bike Riders have been using them for years to ride from the Belmont/Hillsboro neighborhoods all the way to Demonbreun and on into downtown. And while they were a big step forward when first installed, today they are fairly old fashioned and have some flaws. Most importantly they lack any form of physical protection and they place the bike rider in the "door-zone", vulnerable to parked cars moving or suddenly opening doors.
For that reason we are excited to learn about the proposed reconfiguration, which would call for Nashville's first Left-Side Protected Bike Lanes.
The proposed project will extend from Hillsboro Pike, along Magnolia Boulevard and then across Wedgewood on 16th and 17th all the way to the Music Circle Roundabout. The project will be paired with a repaving of Magnolia and a small stretch of 16th Ave. We are hoping to see the changes come sometime over the summer.
What is a Left-Side Protected Lane?
- Left-Side: The lanes are located on the left-side of the road. This only really works on one-way streets or streets with the median, so that the bike rider is up against the left-side curb. These lanes make the bike rider more visible and reduce risk of collision with parked or turning cars. Read more about left-side lanes in NACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide.
- Protected Lane: A protected bike lane is on the street, but has some form of physical separation between cars and bicycles--in this case plastic bollards. These lanes significantly increase the safety of bicyclists and create infrastructure comfortable for riders of all abilities. Read more about protected bike lanes at the Green Lane Project.
What about the intersections?
- A key concern when designing left-side bike lanes is the treatment of the intersections. Planners must carefully consider how the bike rider enters and exits the bike lanes, and how they can safely maneuver through intersections and turn off the street. Luckily Walk Bike Nashville was able to help design the Music Row bike lanes and advised adding bike boxes at the key intersections and having clear signage about where the bikes are supposed to go.
We are really excited to see the city trying out innovative and cutting edge bikeway designs and are eager to see how the designs in-person. While we are sure there will be a learning curve--both for bikes and drivers-- we hope this project will be a positive step forward for our city and serve as an example for other new bike-lane projects.