A new traffic signal on Eastland Ave at Chapel Avenue and The Walden development has been installed with Complete Streets elements.
Following community meetings and input from residents, Walk Bike Nashville, and Nashville Civic Design Center, the new traffic signal design was changed to improve safety and usability for pedestrians and cyclists.
During 2016, resurfacing on Eastland Avenue resulted in the "Yield to Pedestrian" sign in the roadway, as well as the bike lanes, being removed at Chapel Ave. Crossing the street was always hazardous, and students walking to Lockeland Elementary school had particular difficulties.
Local residents found out that Metro Public Works was planning installation of a traffic signal at the intersection, and began to gather community opinion about preferred improvements.
A presentation of possible Complete Streets elements, such as curb bulb-outs and bike lanes, was created by a 4th grade student at Lockeland Elementary, with technical assistance provided by the Nashville Civic Design Center. This was presented at Lockeland Springs and Eastwood Neighbors association meetings. Support was provided by Council member Brett Withers and the owner of the mixed use Walden development adjacent.
A meeting was arranged with the Public Works Traffic Engineering department in June 2016, at which they presented the proposed design of the intersection. Residents raised their concerns about pedestrian and cyclist priority, including the width of the roadways to be crossed, the interruption of the bike lanes through the intersection, and the likely speed and volumes of traffic turning into Chapel Ave.
Public Works promised to reconsider the design, given resident's priorities.
The new signals became operational in February 2018. The road layout now incorporates sharper corners and curb bulb-outs to reduce the speed of turning traffic, and the distance pedestrians must be in the roadway while crossing. A proposed turn lane was removed, enabling restoration of the through bike lanes on Eastland Ave, and reducing the volume of traffic turning onto Chapel Ave. The signal timing provides more pedestrian crossing phases, so that pedestrians do not have to wait a long time, encouraging greater compliance with the pedestrian signal.
This safer intersection provides a better environment for students walking to Lockeland Elementary and cycling to East Middle School, residents cycling to work on Eastland Ave, shoppers walking to The Walden, residents living on Chapel Ave and provides a more complete street as this neighborhood center continues to develop.
A big thank you to everyone involved!