In spring 2018 TDOT will be repaving 8th Ave, from the roundabout downtown all the way to the I-440 bridge. This is a fantastic opportunity to rethink one of our iconic corridors and make it significantly safer for people who live, work and travel along this street. 8th Ave runs through the heart of South Nashville, but it is a high-speed road with only partial sidewalk coverage and infrequent and unsafe crossings. It's time to live up to all the plans. It's time to fix 8th Ave.
Sign the petition for a safer 8th Ave here: http://www.walkbikenashville.org/make8thsafe
In 2016 the city of Berry Hill asked TDOT to delay the repaving a year so that they could look at ways to improve the corridor for all who travel along it: whether by car, foot, bike or bus. Their study, entitled the Franklin Pike Multimodal study, recommended a roadway reconfiguration from 4 car lanes to 3-- with 2 through lanes and a center turn lane. Why did they arrive at this recommendation? And why is this recommendation equally relevant for the entire corridor, from Korean Veterans Boulevard to I-440?
Here are the key points:
- Currently 8th Ave is extremely unsafe for those on foot and in cars. There been 174 injuries in the Berry Hill section, and 325 along the full corridor in just 5 years. 4 people have loss their life on this corridor in 5 years. And most people won't even bother walking along the street unless they have no other option. Studies show that moving from 4 to 3 car lanes reduces crashes for all users between 19-47%.
- Moving to 3 lanes of traffic would make 8th Ave far safer to cross. A majority of pedestrian injuries occur mid-block. Currently it's over half a mile between crosswalks in some sections 8th Ave, leaving most people with no option but to play real-life frogger to cross the street. A 3-lane configuration would allow for pedestrian refuge islands which reduce pedestrian crashes up to 46%.
- It's time for 8th Ave to be a place, not just a street. This corridor is rapidly becoming a dense mixed-use neighborhood. With a 10% growth in households over the last 5 years, and 1,000+ more units under construction or opening soon, 8th Ave is rapidly becoming more dense and needs to have walkable infrastructure to match it's newly urban surroundings. This means slowing car speeds down, improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and making the street easier to cross.
Word cloud of what community wanted to see in future of 8th Ave during Phase 1 of Study
4. 8th Ave is a priority bikeway in the WalkNBike plan. The community indicated 8th Ave was a top need for bike facilities in Nashville. Currently there are few safe and convenient ways to bike from downtown to Berry Hill. With the 440 Greenway coming soon to this area, there is more need than ever for additional ways to get safely through this corridor.
5. A roadway reconfiguration will have minimal impact on the roads car-capacity. By adding a center turn lane, studies have shown that road diets reduce weaving at intersections and actually improve traffic flow. Here's a great report on impacts of a roadway reconfiguration from 4 to 3 lanes from the AARP. Additionally, studies of similar changes across the country have shown no reduction in vehicle capacity.